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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

FROM HYPE TO VALUE: ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION MATURING

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The authors of the recent , article, What does automation mean for general and administrative (G&A) and the back office?state that when it comes to Robotic Process Automation (RPA), “Getting started is the easy part … But scaling is hard.” 1

Many customers are jumping into automation with both feet. While RPA may enable you to very quickly record a process and automate a software robot to execute it—let’s say in five days—this timeframe is not realistic to address proper error handling, validation and acceptance testing.

This illustration describes a fairly common haste to implement without doing the proper due diligence that is the root cause of many challenges that organizations are experiencing with RPA.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some fairly simple use cases for RPA that can offer organizations immediate results, such as automating cutting and pasting data from one system to another. However, when organizations look beyond such simple tasks to how RPA could help improve entire, enterprise-wide processes, we suggest including RPA as part of a broader process optimization program. This can potentially include strategic business consulting services and process discovery and measurement solutions.

Baselining. Using Verint Desktop and Process Analytics, you can baseline current processes with near real-time process mapping. Creating these process maps helps quickly identify opportunities for automation—baselining can also highlight process bottlenecks, helping you avoid automating poorly designed process steps. Even if you already know the processes you want to automate, doing an analysis and baselining how the processes are done today can help you build the business case and priority for automation, before getting started.

Measurement. Organizations should establish success metrics for each application of automation and determine the means for capturing the source data and a reporting framework for measuring these metrics. One of the largest benefits of RPA is saving employee time spent on redundant tasks. Performance management scorecards that capture employee activity—with goals for how time is spent—can be used to measure the impact of RPA with dashboards that illustrate before-and-after trending.

Automation. Configure the robots to perform the tasks identified for automation by mirroring the steps a user would take—and then combine these with rules and business logic based on the parameters of individual tasks to be performed by the robots. Continue to monitor the processes with real-time process mapping to help ensure the processes are flowing as anticipated and the employee-robot handoffs are working smoothly.

One IT services outsourcer is using Verint Process Discovery to create real-time visual process maps to help identify opportunities for automation as well as Lean and Six Sigma improvements. To understand the magnitude of a process change and its potential impact, they first asked:

  • What type of work is performed?
  • How many employees/teams perform the process work?
  • Is there a huge variation between top performers and bottom performers?
  • Are all employees following the same path to complete a task?

This IT services provider is using Process Discovery to capture the data needed to answer these questions, help build their business case for a change, and establish success metrics for the improvement and/or automation of a process step.

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