Getting started with RPA shouldn’t include every process in your company. Instead, begin with analysis and ideation for an RPA use case process intake so that you can drive it forward.
As business leaders turn toward Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to free up their teams’ time to focus on value-adding activities, it’s also becoming more common for them to toss RPA aside because it doesn’t seem like a successful activity for them.
In reality, it only seems that way because they haven’t taken time to determine the best processes for testing RPA. They wind up attempting to automate every process, rather than choosing one that will get them the best return on investment (ROI) right off the bat.
In this first blog of our “Choosing the Right Process for RPA” series, we’ll help you determine just that. Here, we’ll cover the “analysis and ideation” phase, covering how to both choose a department for testing and establish a process intake methodology. Once you’ve done both of these, you’ll be ready to move on to part two in this four-part series.
Choose a Department for RPA Testing
To get the ball rolling on choosing the “right” processes for automation, we recommend that you start small. Choose one department in your organization and look for opportunities for automation.
Taking a deliberate yet calculated approach allows for greater focus, leading to potential quick wins to help evangelize the use of RPA across a larger breadth of the organization.
Once you have chosen a department, or maybe even a team within that department, you will want to engage with subject matter experts (SMEs). This group should represent people who can provide more information on the processes they execute on and the pain points they encounter each day as they execute the processes.
Establish a Process Intake Methodology
You will need to establish a way for users to submit ideas for evaluation. In the early stages, this may be as simple as an email submitted to an inbox (with a minimal amount of information required as input). But, as you begin to make traction in the RPA space, you will want a more user-friendly interface, such as a SharePoint site, an internal web page, or another medium.
Whatever form of entry mechanism you choose to use, there is information users will need to submit to provide an effective evaluation and assessment of the proposed process. At a minimum, your input should include:
- Submitter Name
- Process Name
- High-level Overview of the Process
- Process Frequency – How often does your team need the process completed?
- Transaction Volume (Annual) – Number of transactions processed
- Transaction Time (Minutes) – Average time to process each transaction
- Organizational Impact – Will automating the process have a large organizational impact?
- Business Rules – Does the process rely mostly on business rules?
- Number of Screens or Systems – How many applications does the process interact with?
- Process, System and Data Reliability – Is the process prone to errors, or does the process experience poor quality, consistency of inputs, or both?
- Input Data – If you need digital inputs, do these exist, and is the data structured or unstructured?
- Overall Complexity – How many screens or fields are within each application? How complex or subjective are business rules? How varied are processing paths or outcomes?
- Process Continuity – Does the process (or its dependent systems) experience frequent changes, or is it relatively stable?
- Process Service-Level Agreement (SLA) – Is the process subject to an internal or external SLA?
- Criticality and Audit – Is the process high- or low-risk as far as the overall reviews you require?
Based on the needs of your business, there may be additional information that end-users would like to include in this initial request phase to help drive a more effective decision. It is more efficient to gather data upfront with your users versus on the back-end, where time may be taken away from development, or — worse — the process never makes it to this point, indicating this process never needed automation to begin with.
As you continue to work with individual departments and gather feedback, you’ll watch as business users and process SMEs become more engaged. As they do, they’ll also drive new use cases forward and create a healthy backlog of processes ripe for automation.
Your use case journey isn’t over yet. Join us as we take the next step and discuss the details of the Feasibility and Priority phase, including key deliverables that will help drive phases three and four of the overall process.