8 Questions to Ask about Processes before Implementing Robotic Process Automation
By now, most people in business have heard about robotic process automation and its ability to use software robots to either fully or partially take over the task of completing processes within the office.
The key to automation is to assist an organisation to improve and/or remain competitive across our fast and changing business environment. For these reasons and the many benefits RPA has been shown to bring, it is slowly but surely becoming a “must” for businesses of all sizes. Because, as UiPath rightfully puts it, “robots are here to stay”.
At this point, you might rightly wonder about the criteria you should have in mind when picking the processes most suitable for robotic process automation.
What should you consider when making a choice?
We discussed in a previous article the five factors that ought to be examined when designing an automation plan. Now we focus on the actual questions that you should be asking yourself in order to make the most out of implementing robotic process automation.
Are your processes ready for robotic process automation?
First of all, it is advisable that you start from a very concrete problem and have a clear objective to be attained. Let us say that you are an open-minded business manager, open to innovation as long as it brings you profit and promises sustained long-term development.
To this end, after having been brought up to date with respect to the latest available technologies, you make a sound business case that automation is the way to go. But, where exactly should you start from?
1. Is the process rules based?
Processes with clear processing instructions (template driven), with decision making based on standardised and predictive rules make automating easier.. Should it have many exceptions, it is likely to be overly complex, therefore increasing cost and time to implement. Software robots are largely designed to handle tasks that allow a clear formulation in conditional format. For example, “If address X is encountered in database Y, update database Z at position zn”.
2. Are there measurable savings?
The CiGen team recommends to commence automation with processes that can be evaluated against a known cost and/or time basis. The cost savings or benefit gained can typically be expressed in terms of greater accuracy, faster response times, reduced labour costs and higher productivity from re-allocating staff.
3. Does the process have readable inputs?
Processes require readable input types, including text based data, user interface (UI) activities (keyboard strokes, mouse clicks, etc), Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and green screen. Processes can operate within almost any application or environment, such as desktop, Citrix, web, server, etc. Ensure your process has readable inputs — if they do not, then investigate what steps are required to obtain them.