RPA’s Tempting Benefits Necessitate Careful Assessment

As Robotic Process Automation (RPA) continues to grow and expand in businesses across the globe, so do the questions as to personalizing its benefits. Knowing about RPA’s benefits is only half the battle, yet many companies scratch their heads as to how to implement robotic processes into current operations. But one of the ways that businesses can begin their journey into a successful roll-out of robotic processes involves building a process/RPA diagnostic checklist. The checklist helps decision-makers by showing an accurate look at current processes and performance and then weighting each process by the highest return on investment.

Before an RPA diagnostic checklist can be formulated for analysis, your company must have a clear set of goals to measure the profits of robotic automation. These profits are not always monetarily measured. In fact, most automated processes net greater returns aside from its quantifiable financial benefit. Having a clear goal in mind is the first step in any journey into automating processes, while the second step continues the journey by choosing the right processes to automate.

Choosing which processes to automate can almost seem comparable to sorting laundry. Thus, building a process diagnostic checklist classifies processes into a “yes or no” system that results in a list of likely candidates. But, a list of likely candidates only gives half the picture. Taking the next step to choosing which processes to automate likens to a game of dodge ball where the biggest problem areas get picked out first.

RPA Diagnostic Checklist #1

Anyone who has ever played a successful game of dodge ball understands that the clunkiest targets are the easiest to tackle. Truth be told, it’s often the smaller targets that become the biggest pain points. A full diagnostic check may reveal that some of the smaller, more overlooked processes can reap higher benefits. Choosing which processes to automate should not involve aiming at the loudest department vying for RPA or tackling a large process undertaking. Instead, the diagnostic shows users which processes will likely net the best ROI—keeping your aim on point and hitting the right target every time.

To determine which processes are a candidate for process automation, consider the following points in your diagnostic:

Is the task…

  • repetitive and follow a specific order of steps, requiring human interaction with a computer?
  • mundane and positions involving it seeing a high turnover rate or a high job dissatisfaction?
  • time-sensitive and are current operations not meeting deadlines?

Does the task….

  • require a nonexistent API or involves frequent copy and paste steps?
  • require an expensive or non-existing upgrade from a current vendor system?
  • involve the use of or collection of sensitive data?
  • inevitably involve human error that can be costly over time?
  • take away from an employee’s skill capital?

Keeping these points in mind, go through each of your company’s processes using the above diagnostic. It may be helpful to assign one point to each question answered “yes” and total score tallied for each task. Therefore, the higher the score, the better the higher the priority.

RPA Diagnostic Checklist #2

The first sorting of processes produces a list of potential candidates for RPA. By taking a closer look and asking a few more questions, companies can really assess the ROI of automation. From each of the tasks on your short list from step #1, compare the diagnostic to the outlined goals for process automation. So consider all the benefits through process automation, such as the following:

  • How much work time–in a quantifiable way–will RPA save?
  • Will automating this process provide immediate potential costing-savings?
  • How much impact will it have on compliance, added security, or reduced human errors?
  • How quickly can we reap the benefits of automation for this task?
  • When can we expect a full financial return on investment based on this preliminary diagnostic?
  • Will this element be critical in helping us scale our business?

Finally, comparing both sets of diagnostics gives you a finer scope. From this, determine which processes make excellent candidates for automation and further define which ones require immediate attention. Take the time to do the RPA diagnostic in your business and see what benefits are available to you. The highest ROI processes may surprise you. Bonus: the ball is in your court. Which target will you hit?