How to Identify the Right Processes to Automate and Get Started with Process Automation
Even if you’re not a super tech-savvy person, it’s completely possible to learn how to identify the right processes to automate in your organization and get started with RPA in general. Let’s show you how. Many people understand the value of automation but are still stuck on how to get started. For someone not doing it on a daily basis, starting process discovery for automation can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be…
What does an ideal process to automate look like?
Identifying the right process to automate can be challenging, as the process itself has to meet certain requirements before being automated. However, it is worth checking that it’s the right one – this ensures a good ROI.
An ideal process to automate has to have certain characteristics:
it needs to be tedious work (so you can free up capacity to do more value-added activities);
it involves a lot of application screens and mouse clicks;
it happens regularly and affects more than one employee;
it uses digitally available data.
Always go for processes which are stable, recurring, and contain very little “fat”: excessive process steps which no-one has any real reason for doing.
Identify the right processes to automate step by step
Here are some steps to get started with process automation:
Step 1: Talk to department leaders and process owners about the possibilities of RPA.
Only if they know about it, can they give you input and valuable feedback.
Brainstorm together possible process automation solutions. In our projects, we’re always surprised by how many ideas come up in these ‘brainstorm sessions’.
In the rare case that you have problems coming up with ideas, ask questions like “Do you have a process which could be improved if you had real-time reports?”, “Which administrative tasks are always late because no-one wants to work on them?”, “What processes do your colleagues find demotivating because they are repetitive?”.
Don’t focus just on business process automation, also think about the process in general and how your colleagues’ daily work could be improved if some tasks were magically completed.
Step 2: Compile a long list with all ideas based on your brainstorming sessions and talks
In this step, you should list every idea you have.
Categorize your ideas by the different “processes” they are connected to.
Step 3: Value – capture what outcome to expect from each
In this step, you want to capture what value your ‘process idea’ could bring to your team/company.
For example, if your saving time and data accuracy increases because of avoiding human data entry errors, what value does this bring to your team/company?
Don’t just think of ROI as a monetary measure – freeing up your team from boring, repetitive tasks gives more time for creative, value-added work and additionally, can increase job satisfaction.
Step 4: Prioritize your ideas – not just on the outcome
Now that you have captured your ideas and what they can deliver for your company, the next step is to figure out what to automate first.
We recommend looking at more than just the expected returns (time saved, errors reduced, processing time reduced, the importance of real-time data).
Ease of implementation must also be considered. We recommend going for a quick win, e.g. fewer systems affected, fewer policies affected, fewer departments involved.
The point of this exercise is to get an actionable list of the right processes to automate and get your results as soon as possible.
What if my process is not RPA-ready?
If the process you wish to automate has a lot of unnecessary steps, feel free to choose another process to automate and fix before going with RPA, as it would only preserve the broken one for a long time.
Make sure you automate the revised process only after a couple of months so that the initial problems are already sorted.
Are you ready for process automation?
Now that we’ve gone through the process step by step, identifying the right processes to automate and explaining what they should look like, hopefully, you feel ready to talk to your leaders about business process automation.
If you need any help, CloudStorm is organizing workshops on process discovery. A professional coach will explain everything in detail and walk you through the process, as well as evaluate technical implementations. You can request your free Process Automation call here.