Knowing where to start an automation journey with RPA Discovery
Getting the most out of implementing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) or an RPA Competence Center (COE) can be a daunting task. The first hurdle companies have to overcome is knowing which processes need to be automated – where to start? The use of high-quality RPA detection can help companies answer the most important questions: “Which business areas are good candidates?”, “What does an automatable process look like?”. and “What do I automate next?”
According to experts at First Consulting, a consulting firm specializing in business and technology, RPA Discovery can not only aid planning and design, but also help avoid common pitfalls like applying RPA to problems that are better solved otherwise. For Discovery to be truly effective, the consultants deny that two requirements should be met:
1) a solid methodology for assessing the suitability of each process and creating a general business model;
2) a process selection approach tailored to the needs and specific goals of the company.
An effective detection method must consider not only the automation potential of each process, but also the cost and effort of implementation, the financial and non-financial benefits that will result, and the challenges that development is likely to face. A rigorous and far-reaching approach is critical to creating an accurate business case.
Due to time and resource restrictions, not every process can be individually assessed for its automation potential. Therefore, the consultants at First Consulting recommend that companies create a shortlist on which their business model is based. There are three general approaches to creating such a shortlist:
- Advantages of the targeting approach: The shortlist consists of the highest FTE or most urgent automation case processes.
- Representative sampling approach: The shortlist is created as a representative sample of a larger group of processes with a “long list”. After individual process evaluations, a business case is created that gives an overview of the selection list and the entire scope.
- Hybrid approach: The shortlist concentrates partly on cases with a high FTE and urgent automation cases and partly on a representative sample of a larger “longlist”. As with the representative sample approach, multiple views are created in the final business case.
Choose the best approach
Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. Companies that are new to RPA and consider the initial COE costs may choose the benefits targeting approach because they want the best possible business case. Large organizations that need a broader perspective may choose the representative sample approach. Companies with special or smaller requirements may choose the hybrid approach. Whichever approach is chosen, it must be tailored to the available data and the specifics of an organization and its processes.
First Consulting builds on years of experience in the automation of robotic processes and offers support in all aspects of a discovery phase, including support in the selection and adaptation of the approach. “Drawing on industry and RPA expertise, our consultants work with clients to select processes, evaluate shortlists using our RPA Discovery tool, create business cases, and COE teams doing their own RPA Discovery work to qualify, ”said Jon Nelmes, Head of First Consulting in the UK.