Keeping your bots under control

in Technology, 12.06.2018

Intelligent automation promises speed, scale, quality, and precision. It promises new peaks of operational efficiency. It promises to complement and augment human skills.

However, big promises can feel suspicious. In talking to several market leaders in Luxembourg, we found common strains of concern: “Can an organisation lose control over an entire army of bots?” “Is it possible to fully safeguard against potential damage?”

Though bot benefits are real and proven, these fears are also valid. Without proper risk management and governance, intelligent automation could go very badly indeed. In this article I will outline some risks to be aware of, and how to approach planning for them.

The main risks

Bots can fail if there is no stable environment for checking and maintaining them. A good environment is formed by:

  • adequate developer skills
  • consistent, thorough developer training
  • effective change management
  • sufficient, effective controls

Security is also a big risk for many reasons—breaches make headlines, and compromised information can topple a company. Prior to the implementation process, all of the following questions should be carefully answered:

  • How are bots identified, authenticated, and provisioned with access?
  • How do you assign, change, monitor, and remove bot access?
  • Which systems can bots access?
  • Can bots access any information, even indirectly, in an unsecured or unauthorised way?
  • How are controls, duty segregations, traceability, and accountability incorporated?

Many bots stop bringing in efficiency and revenue simply due to poor planning. The possible applications of bots are huge, so yours need to be very well-defined and, if relevant externally, properly communicated to customers. In the planning stage, consider:

  • defining the target users of the bots
  • making sure each bot’s purpose can be described in clear, simple terms
  • setting key performance indicators
  • sourcing benchmarks, if possible
  • designing a thorough, effective marketing plan

Being ready

As a final checklist for preparation, the following set of questions is designed as a self-test for an organisation’s readiness:

Are you considering using intelligent automation, or have you already undertaken such a project? My team is specialised in this area—contact me or visit our website for more information.

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