OK, you know what RPA is and what benefits it can bring you, but not really sure how this applies to your business?
You’re in luck, we’ve got you covered with this short description on what makes a business process suitable for automation!
The general steps you should take when considering a process to automate are the following:
- Process nomination/ideation
- Process assessment
1 Process nomination
What you first need to do is ideate different processes within your organisation that could be interesting to automate. In short, any high-volume, business-rules-driven, repeatable process qualifies for automation. To come up with this list of candidate processes, it’s best to do business analysis and talk to domain experts within your organisation.
To help you with that, here are some useful examples of various use cases and their suitability for RPA:
2 Process Assessment
After you’ve come up with a few ideas, you can evaluate each process by scoring it according to the point system explained in this section.
Don’t worry—instead of doing this manually, you can download our assessment Excel file and do this in a few minutes!
To assess a process, you should look into 3 areas:
- Feasibility: Is it feasible i.e. possible to do?
- Complexity: How costly will it be to implement?
- Potential savings: How much will we save by implementing it?
Let’s look into those areas in more detail.
Some processes should just be handled by humans (until we have general AI at least 🙃). So consider how stable and standardised your process is before starting development:
Rule or judgement based?
Is the process
- completely rule-based (5 points)
- some judgement is involved (3 points)
- it’s mostly judgement involved? (1 point)
Is the input to the process
- structured (e.g. table that is always of the same structure) (5 points)
- a mix of structured and unstructured (3 points)
- totally unstructured (e.g. customer enquiry in the text) (1 point)
How often do you expect the process to change? Is it
- stable - almost no changes (5 points)
- relatively stable - sporadic changes (3 points)
- unstable - changes are expected to happen frequently (1 point)
= Suitability result
Sum your points for the section to get your total feasibility score. Then compare the number to these guidelines to see if it’s suitable to automate:
- >=12: suitable for RPA
- between 6 and 12: suitable with modifications
- <6: not suitable for RPA
Sometimes process development can get out of hand, so consider the potential complexity before trying to implement it. Consider first low effort, high gains processes when prioritising development!
Number of steps
How many steps does your process take:
- 1-3 (5 points)
- 4-6 (3 points)
- 7+ (1 point)
Number of applications
How many different software applications does the process involve:
- 1-2 (5 points)
- 3-4 (3 points)
- 5+ (1 point)
Level of standardisation
Are there a lot of edge cases in the process to consider?
- standardised, not too many exceptions (5 points)
- somewhat standardised (3 points)
- not standardised, many exceptions (1 point)
Is desktop virtualisation involved (VDI, Citrix, RDP)?
- No (0 points)
- Yes (-10 points)
= Cost result
Sum your points for the section to get your total complexity score. Then compare the number to these guidelines to see how costly it would be to automate:
- >=13: low cost
- between 8 and 13: moderate cost
- <8: the relatively high cost
2.3 Potential Savings
The minimum requirement to automate a process should be the time you can save! So even if you don’t have time to consider the feasibility and complexity, do spend some time thinking about the potential savings.
The volume of transactions (annual)
Here just estimate the number of items the process goes through each year.
E.g. each day the process goes through 20 client requests that are denied or approved. That’s 100 requests per week and 5200 per year.
Average minute wage
Estimate the average wage per minute for the person doing this process manually at the moment.
E.g. Let’s say the employee's wage is 7500 HRK per month. They work for 160h/week*60min=9600 minutes per month. So their wage by the minute is 7500/9600=0.78HRK/min.
Average duration (mins)
Estimate what the average time spent per request is.
In our example, let’s say each request takes 1 minute to process.
= Potential Savings
Multiply volumewageduration to get the overall cost of the process on an annual basis.
In our example that would be 5200*0.78*1 = 4056 HRK/year.
Tying it all together
Now that you have your scores and the cost, consider them all to make your choice. Some processes will be so obvious based on the cost savings that they will be a no-brainer even though they might be a bit harder to implement. Some processes will have lower savings but will be really suitable for automation based on feasibility and complexity. Consider your organisations needs to prioritise what should be automated.
Keep calm and carry on automating business processes
You’ve got all the basics to start assessing your own processes. 😊
In case you need a little boost - download our assessment file to do this on your own!