Target India - RPA and strategic technology investment
The finance team within Target India's Global Capability Centre operation had been involved in automation efforts to optimise processes and drive value over the last several years.
As part of this journey, they looked at RPA as one of the tools and are currently in year two of its RPA implementation journey where they have implemented robotics across many processes in both the Accounts Payable and Accounts receivable areas. An integrated approach was adopted where automation opportunities were explored in conjunction with process re-engineering to ensure that 'bots' were not built over inefficient or broken processes; rather the first step was to optimise the work flows within the process and then automate.
"... a key area of consideration for future RPA implementation is the wider technology transformation ambition of the business and finance team..."
Through the RPA journey, one of the key benefits has been to eliminate non-value added activities and free up staff resource to more interesting work. In the Accounts Receivable function, redeployed staff have had new opportunities to up-skill and change roles, for example, to the audit team focused on revenue leakage. Similarly in the Accounts Payable function, the implementation of RPA has helped headcount optimisation and reduced the reliance on external contractors to better manage invoice processing around busy peak areas during the retail year reducing processing costs. This integrated approach of process re-engineering and robotics automation is now being socialised and implemented across the organisation.
For the finance team at Target India, a key area of consideration for future RPA implementation is the wider technology transformation ambition of the business and finance team, and one of the key RPA challenges cited is that of timing of implementation. In environments which are stable from a technology perspective, and where there are no planned significant changes to underlying legacy systems, RPA can be seen as a strategic tool - potentially quick to implement, optimal automation solution for sequential, non-cognitive tasks and processes. Yet where organisations are investing heavily in new technology and systems as part of a wider strategic transformation of the business, care should be taken to avoid building 'bots' on older platforms as they may soon become redundant. Instead it is recommended to view RPA as a complementary tool to further optimise processes and drive value, during and post the technology transformation.