Building the business case for robotic process automation
Are you ready for hyper-automation? asks Harry Nicholson, Senior Product Manager at Blue Turtle Technologies.
As organisations drive their digital transformation strategies and lay the foundation for hyper-automation, it has become more prevalent that robotic process automation (RPA) is at the forefront of moving into the digital era. Many organisations are therefore turning to RPA to help achieve their automation objectives, but has RPA been given the credit it really deserves?
Many organisations embark on RPA initiatives either impulsively or with trepidation due to mandated automation strategies and KPIs that have been handed down, only to see RPA fail within the first six to 10 weeks of implementation. The reason behind these failures is the lack of due diligence that is required in planning, implementing and deploying a successful RPA initiative.
Here, we look at how an effective business case can be built to lead your organisation down the correct path to implementing a solid RPA solution that yields the best possible returns.
Identifying the process best suited for automation is an important factor when building out your RPA strategy. In addition, it is key to remember that processes do not exist in a vacuum, but are rather part of larger value streams. In order to achieve success with an RPA initiative, you need to first understand your organisation and the areas where transformation or optimisation will bring value. This is the link between people and processes, the deeper insight into what the business is trying to achieve and ensuring solid business structures are in place to accomplish your objectives.
The next step in accelerating your RPA journey is through process discovery. This technique allows analysts to view processes at a granular level. A prominent process discovery technique is that of process mining. Here, businesses can concentrate on discovering process inefficiencies, deviations and bottlenecks that decelerate business processes or introduce error or risk. Applying some form of process mining can help reduce your operational costs by up to 30%.
So, what is the benefit of RPA and process mining, some may ask? Organisations have a fundamental requirement to digitise processes and drive down costs expeditiously in order to accelerate the transition to a more digital presence with a digital workforce. The process discovery phase establishes a foundation where your processes are assessed to determine which are best fit for automation and building out the business case prior to automation. It can accelerate your automation implementation by as much as an additional 50%.
Implementing an RPA strategy requires businesses to research not only the efficiency aspect that RPA will deliver in terms of value, but also the total cost of ownership (TCO) of an RPA implementation. The cost of development (can be a one-time development or a scaled approach), the infrastructure and licensing costs associated with the RPA solution, and thirdly, the operational costs need to be considered.
As is the case with most implementations of digital initiatives, some key financial elements surrounding the decision-making of using RPA, namely:
- Return on investment (ROI);
- Payback period; and
- Net present value.
All these elements consider the TCO as mentioned earlier. RPA provides further benefits to your business through service delivery improvements, customer experience and satisfaction. These have positive effects on the financial results of the organisation, but are more indirect and difficult to quantify when building the business case.
According to research giant the Forrester Group, while typical offshore shared service centres have achieved 10% to 40% net cost savings through RPA, they typically consider a minimum of 15% net cost savings while developing a business case. Gartner predicted that by 2020, autonomous bots will participate in 5% of all economic transactions.
Process measurement and insights
An important factor when building out an RPA solution is taking into account the value being driven from the bots executing the identified business processes. The continuous monitoring of automated processes is critical in determining whether your RPA solution is beneficial and adding value to your business.
Businesses need to focus on quantifying real-time impact in order to make quick decisions around exactly when to relook current automation deployment through process improvements, or when to scale up automation efforts. Derived insights will allow business to quickly adapt to process change through accelerated decision-making techniques, driven by eliminating the risk of decreasing efficiency through regular reviews steered through your current data. Letting you proactively adapt to required changes and move towards an autonomous decision-making model.
Monitoring these RPA processes plays another crucial role in ensuring there is a comprehensive view of your digital workforce's performance and its impact. Businesses do not want their bots duplicating mistakes at an accelerated pace as you scale. Improvements and efficiency needs to be monitored closely to provide business with a clear view of the status of the digital workforce in order to speed up the decision-making process for further enhancement or process modification.
Having the right strategy and solutions in place will drive your efficiency and value to business to new heights. RPA is a journey that can quickly be scaled at an accelerated pace, but ensuring you have the right discovery tools and measurements in place, will further enable businesses to see the exponential value from implementing a successful RPA strategy.
With our key strategic partnerships and cutting-edge hyper-automation technologies, Blue Turtle Technologies is able to offer a customised automation solution that will enable organisations to reduce cost, fraud and error rates while increasing scale, efficiency and profitability. This helps accelerate competitive advantage in highly competitive markets all while increasing both customer and employee satisfaction.
Contact us now for more information.