Who minds the bots?


With robotic process automation (RPA) becoming a prominent topic of discussion, firms are thinking of ways to integrate digital labour into operations.

While swift results can be enticing, firms should identify relevant risks and ask the right questions before diving into implementation. By doing the initial legwork, firms can position themselves for success. Streamlined processes and effective controls can help pinpoint issues early and ensure a positive return on investment.

Don’t wait for it to break

Implementing new technology is often a long and tedious process. This is why it’s so important to get all the steps right. RPA requires a structured controls approach to effectively address new issues that a firm may not have encountered before. Honing your focus on relevant risks and asking the right questions will ensure a successful RPA investment.

Risks to keep on the radar

The following five areas of risks are important to address:

  1. Executive: Have the right people bought in?
  2. Technical: How will testing work?
  3. Change management: Who manages communication?
  4. Operational: What controls exist to monitor performance?
  5. Functional: Who designs controls?

Questions to consider

Doing the initial legwork can save additional effort later. As you implement your RPA control framework, we encourage you to ask the following questions:

  1. How will you choose your projects?
  2. How will robots share?
  3. How do you configure robots?
  4. Who’s in charge?
  5. Are you in compliance?
  6. What about cybersecurity and data privacy?
  7. What’s the backup plan?
  8. Are you ready for change?

While controls may come as an afterthought in new process implementations, firms can greatly benefit from effective control structures. Starting early ensures that implementation goes smoothly, and your business gets the most out of RPA.

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“Bots for the sake of bots is a very blunt instrument. . . . without investing the time in risk and controls assessments up front, you simply run the risk of making a big problem happen much faster.”

"Who minds the bots? PwC August 2017

How PwC can help you

As Robotic Process Automation gains momentum, firms need to implement a strong control framework to address potential risks.

We design and deliver a sustainable control environment through 'best practice' processes and controls coupled with supporting technology and benchmarking.

We do this by:

  • Risk and Controls optimisation - efficiency recommendations and assessment of changes to operational risk in order to enable effective automation
  • Impact assessment of RPA - to understand and assess the effect of RPA on operational risk and the existing control environment
  • Control Design & Readiness Assessment - to provide transparency over the effectiveness of the control environment and readiness for automation
  • RPA Risk Assessment - assessing the risk controls, governance and coding standards surrounding an automated workforce
  • Applying PwC's risk and controls framework to understand and identify inherent automation risk using PwC's Automation risk framework
  • Leveraging global experience and lessons learned to help firms effectively implement and maintain RPA.

Contact us

Sascha Chandler

Partner, Sydney, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 400 899 131

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