1. Define what success looks like
Every business is unique and each stakeholder will have their own ideas about what success will look like. It is critical to get an early understanding of what success looks like when deploying automation.
Typical success criteria include:
- Effective Task & Process Replication
- Time given back to the organization
- Increased process and data accuracy
- Staff effectively redeployed within the business
- Improved customer satisfaction stats
- Decreased time to complete process
- Build and Release timescale ‘xx-xx-xx’ to ‘xx-xx-xx’
- Exception and unknown conditions accounted for
For a detailed breakdown of success metrics, have a read of our How to Implement Intelligent Automation white paper.
2.Identifying Intelligent Automation Candidates
When considering a candidate for automation, some organizations may simply pick one specific process or activity, but for anyone that sees the true value of intelligent automation — and particularly any senior management that can see potential across departments and functions — it is essential to create a roadmap of activities which would benefit most from automation in the shortest space of time. And remember, before you start picking candidates for automation, that different technologies excel in different ways — so you should consider the capacity and capabilities of your chosen product or platform:
- Structured Process — A process which can be completed by following set instructions
- Clear Decision Logic — Can the decisions for a process be clearly defined?
- Defined workflow — Is there a defined workflow or documented decision points?
- Mutliple Applications/Tools — Processes using humans as connectors between systems are ideal candidates
- Emotional or Subjective — Does the process involve emotion or subjectivity?
- Error-Prone Process — Is it an error-prone process?
- Mundane Repetitive Task - Is the work monotonous and repetitive?
- High Volume/Low Complexity — These are ideal for calculating ROI and understanding business value
- Low Volume/High Complexity — These are ideal for calculating ROI and support return on investment for business
- 24 Hour/7 days a week activity — Are there processes that need to be running non-stop, or you would like to be running 24/7?
- Legacy Applications — Systems or applications that aren’t intuitive which could work more effectively with automation
- Part Process Automation — Speed up customer service responses or other tasks by automating part of a process, or part of a process which requires human subjectivity to complete
- Data Extraction — Extraction of data from form or applications in a consistent format
- Scalability — Does the process have peaks and troughs in use? Summer time, Christmas etc.
3. Start Small and Scale Fast
Intelligent Automation, in this case AI-enabled RPA, is different from other digital transformation solutions. Usually, digital transformation projects are vast projects which at least require reconfigurations, and often, require huge business disturbances through rip and replacements. Intelligent Automation is a non-invasive technology deployment, which helps you to evaluate it in action without the lengthy product evaluations and the potential months it takes to make a decision. It is frictionless and non-disruptive. Plonk the person back in their seat, nothing’s changed with your applications or systems. However, many organizations will still want to run a proof of concept — putting intelligent automation through the usual product paces. Instead, a far better approach is running a proof of value — taking one or two processes/tasks and demonstrate the value to the business. This will provide tangible results and demonstrate whether it is of use (or not) to the organization. Furthermore, this sets the automation project off on a positive note and with the knowledge that the success can stay in production after it is proven.
4. Executive Sponsorship and Stakeholder Buy-In
Whether it is being viewed as a business initiative, or an essential strategic asset, Intelligent Automation requires support and buy-in from all levels — from board executives to system administrators. Engage all stakeholders and employees who need to support the journey with attention, time and a key focus on each aspect of the project. When seeking this buy-in, especially from board executives, it is essential to be clear and concise about what is expected of them and stressing their importance to the success of the deployment.
Here’s some handy tips for you to propose to your executive team:
- Provide leadership and clear direction on how the project is key to business strategy
- Keep the project on time, on budget and on scope
- Secure business resources for the success of the project
- Provide adequate feedback on status reports
- Obtain stakeholders are involved at key parts of the project
- Be the project champion to ensure whole board buys-in
5. Choose the right operating model for your business
When deploying Intelligent Automation there are two ways that you can deploy the solution that organizations will be familiar with; Federated Model, based upon each business unit, or function being responsible for designing and implementing its own automation project; Centralized model, where the automation project is designed, delivered and managed by a central resource in collaboration with business teams.
For a breakdown of the benefits and challenges of each model, download our How to Implement Intelligent Automation white paper.
Whether you choose the Federated or Centralized model, it is key to build a model of sharing between departments — even if it is in part, it will help deliver consistency and allow for re-use of common components. Some automation platforms have started building out central repositories to address this, which can encourage sharing and collaborative learning.
6. Build the right team
Developing an effective automation strategy requires that you build out an effective automation team. In any automation team, there are a number of critical roles, some that will be key early on and others who will grow to become teams all of their own later on. The typical roles that we recommend for an intelligent automation project are below. Each member will require either a formal education, or certification from the vendor.
An operator is an administrator of the system and ensures that resources are available from the platform — prioritizing and managing the capacity of the automation solution.
As the name states, Automation testers manage the test and release of automations. Maintaining best practice and reviewing automations to ensure that development is correct.
Automation Designers create and update automations to make sure the best possible outcomes.
Responsible for identifying, scoping and prioritizing processes which are suitable for automations.
7. Communication is the key to success
Automation is fundamentally changing the work place for the better, with staff being reassigned to more engaging and fulfilling roles. However, it hasn’t stopped the media stoking fear amongst the population, so to ease the uncertainty and fear that these changes are bringing — communication is key. It is incredibly important to ensure you are dispelling concerns and gaining staff support at all levels with clear and consistent communication.
A good starting point would be to share why the company is investing in this initiative and how it will benefit the business, its customers and its staff. As you continue with the project, work out some key milestones from the beginning to end and keep your staff informed about what is happening now, and where the project is heading, to keep them on the journey with you. As you may see an almost instant result with intelligent automation, it provides you with a clear moment to get backing from your staff, stakeholders and sponsors alike.
8. Create a Center of Excellence (CoE)
Once you’ve got your stakeholders, sponsors and staff on-board, the other key factor to success is having a central point to drive success. In this case, by creating a center of excellence (CoE). An automation CoE is a central function for organizations to deliver on automation goals set out by the business. Bringing together the automation goals of each section, or department, of a business and uniting the automation strategy to align with the overall business objectives.
For a more information, Download our How to Implement Intelligent Automation white paper.