Identifying processes for RPA

‘What makes an office process an ideal candidate for RPA’ is a question which gets asked a lot by potential customers. And it is one which takes a combination of gut feel and rational assessment to answer as you will see.

Bugging Tasks?

Sometimes start with the task which ‘bugs’ you or your team. The obvious process candidates for RPA can sometime make the best, especially if your team or yourself do not like doing them. So, office processes which are boring, mundane, repetitive, and frustrating are worth putting on the list. All candidate processes will be rationally assessed later for their feasibility, benefits, and costs, so it is worth adding these to the list.

Human interface with a Software applications?

Consider tasks which involve employee interaction with a software application. A CRM system for instance, where a human is continually entering or looking stuff up might be ideal for automation, particularly if it also involves opening other applications to complete the tasks, say a spreadsheet or another software application to find information.

Are there tasks which are difficult to recruit into?

Clearly if you cannot find suitable candidates for repetitive and boring tasks, then it makes sense to explore automating them.

Furthermore, if the company is struggling to recruit into skilled positions elsewhere in the business, automating mundane activities can release these workers to be trained for these positions. In fact, this might be a win-win, with both employers filling vacant positions and employees working in more fulfilling positions with increased job satisfaction, and possibly a better rate of pay.

Admin activities stopping your Trained Staff?

Add office tasks that are taking trained staff away from front line activities. In other words, those actitivie which are taking up the most ‘Human Valuable Time’. For instance in our RPA in a Garage Case Study, a large Garage had trained mechanics who were entering the parts used on a vehicle repair into a software application. If your business has recruited skilled employees to do a specific job, the less time they do admin work the better, and it might be worth exploring if these office processes are candidates for automation. This is particularly relevant if those skills are hard to recruit.

Tasks with repeated errors?

Are there tasks where repeated errors are occurring? One of the problems with repetitive and mundane processes is that, understandably, humans can lose concentration and make mistakes.

If there is an area where there are a lot of mistakes which cost time and energy to correct, or worse still customer dissatisfaction, then these processes would also make ideal candidates for automation (particularly if they also fall into the categories above).

Myth = It’s only worth automating ‘Full-Time’ processes

A combination of Robot processing speed and low initial development costs from RAAS (Robots-As-A-Service), means automating only a fraction of a human’s work can still cost less then a human employee. It is a myth that a process is only worth automating if it is a fulltime job for a human. At Autane, we have seen processes that only account for 15-25% of a humans role automated and provide a quick return. So do not discount adding tasks to the RPA candidate list that only take your employees’ a proportion of their time.

Visit our website’s ‘RPA Project: Cost and Payback Estimator’ and enter the details of one of your processes if you’re not sure it’ll make financial sense to automate the process.

Resistance to change?

An RPA project that might experience a high degree of resistance is not going to make a good candidate for a pilot project. Even if it is a quick payback, the success of any automation project to large extent relies on the backing of the workforce. These types of projects are probably left for later, when other RPA projects have been implemented and the workforce feel less insecure with their introduction.

Accordingly, these types of RPA opportunities fall into the ‘Consultation’ bracket. They need consultation with the workforce before introduction.

It’s better to choose a process to automate a project where the workforce are onboard with it’s automation, perhaps for some of the reasons above.