In part two of this series, we focus on feasibility and priority when choosing the right process for RPA, including what a scoring card should have on it and how to determine ROI and prioritization.
In the first part of our four-part Robotic Process Automation series, we discussed Analysis and Ideation and the first areas to address: choosing a department for testing and establishing a process intake methodology.
In today’s overview, we will examine the Feasibility and Priority of potential processes for automation.
Once you have established where you will begin testing your automation journey and set up a process to allow users to submit ideas, you then need a way to evaluate and assess an idea submission.
In the first part of our series, we referenced that not every process is viable for automation, and those organizations that go into an RPA journey with that mindset tend to fail. That is why this second phase of the process is so important.
Without a good way to assess and vet processes, you could:
- End up with an overly complex process that takes more time and money to develop
- Automate a manual process that gives poor results because you need to improve it before determining viability for automation
In the rest of this blog, you’ll learn the importance of a scoring template, return on investment (ROI) and prioritization when looking for processes to automate.
An effective way to evaluate a process for automation is to use a scoring template. A scoring template will help you assess the viability of a process for automation based on a minimal amount of information. The initial score helps to eliminate those processes that you should not — or cannot — automate, thus reducing non-value added work on the back-end when a scoring mechanism is not in place early in the assessment.
Scoring templates will most likely vary from organization to organization based on the needs of the particular team involved and what data you need to collect as part of the input process.
At a minimum, however, include the following information to assist you during this phase.
- Process Frequency
- Transaction Volume
- Time per Transaction
- Organizational Impact – How many users will you impact if the process is automated?
- Number of Systems and Screens
- Input Data (Structured or Unstructured)
- Complexity of Business Rules – Rules-based and, if so, level of complexity.
- Process, System and Data Reliability – Is the process prone to errors? Is there unreliable data? Are there many variations to achieve the same outcome?
- Service Level Agreements – Is the process held to specific SLAs?
- Process Continuity – Does the process (or dependent systems) experience frequent changes, or is it relatively stable?
The information you capture in your template should tie back to the data you want as part of your input form (discussed during the first phase of our series).
ROI and RPA Prioritization
Now that you have reviewed and assessed the current processes in the queue for viability, you can further assess for ROI and prioritize accordingly.
Keep in mind that the prioritization process will take place each time new processes come into the queue or at pre-defined frequencies. This step is necessary for the prioritization process, as you move automations with a greater ROI or other critical operational impacts to the top of the development queue.
To ensure the prioritization process is effective, you must have a list or backlog of processes that have not only passed the assessment phase, but also provide adequate ROI to support the need to automate it. Information you gathered from the initial input form, coupled with commentary and additional data developed during the assessment, will assist those in making decisions on where to place a process in the priority list.
A Bonus for This Phase
Although you may not initially choose a process as viable for automation, that doesn’t mean you cannot or should not address it later.
One of the bonuses that can come out of the assessment is gaining ideas on how to improve the manual process to make it more effective and efficient. In some cases, you will find there is no longer a need to automate that particular process. On the other hand, once you have made the process better, its ROI and other factors now make it more viable for automation — so, you can add it back into the queue for assessment.
Do not let all the data gathered through investigation and discussion go to waste. Use it to your advantage to continue to improve your department and your organization.
After you’ve effectively created your scoring template and determined ROI and prioritization, your team will avoid taking on use cases lacking value or with too much complexity. This rigorous assessment of feasibility opens your team up to more efficiency and greater success with an RPA use case process intake so you can be well on your way to adopting RPA permanently.
Join us on the next step in our use case journey as we discuss the details of the Discover and Document phase, including key deliverables that will help drive the final phase of the overall process.
During this stage, we will begin to take a deeper dive into the processes you deemed viable during the Feasibility and Priority phase to gather as much detail about how your Subject Matter Experts execute a process. The greater the detail, the more effective and efficient your development process will become.