According to CiGen, an Australian RPA & Intelligent Automation solutions company, the first step you need to do to effectively implement IA in your business is choosing the right processes. But what are the things you should consider when it comes to selecting business processes to automate? Here are some questions to guide you:
- Is the process rules-based?
Processes with clear processing instructions (template-driven) and those that require decision-making based on standardized and predictive rules make automating them easier. In Intelligent Automation, software robots are largely designed to handle tasks that follow a clear formulation in a conditional format. For example, “If address X is encountered in database Y, update database Z at position ZN.”
So, if a certain process comes with many and varying exceptions, it’s most likely to be overly complex. Automating it will result in increased costs and time for your business.
- Are there measurable savings?
CiGen recommends starting the implementation of IA with processes that can be evaluated against a known cost and/or time basis. The cost savings or business benefits gained can typically be expressed in terms of greater accuracy, faster response times, reduced labor costs and higher productivity from re-allocating staff.
- Does the process have readable inputs?
The processes that are optimal to automate have readable input types, including text-based data, User Interface (UI) activities (keyboard strokes, mouse clicks, etc.), Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and green screen. So, if your processes do not have readable inputs, you must first investigate what steps are required to obtain them.
In addition, you must also check if processes can operate within almost any application or environment, such as desktop, Citrix, web, server, etc.
- Is the process manual and repetitive?
Make sure that the processes you’re planning to automate involve:
- A high degree of manual input;
- Structured and repetitive input;
- Activities that are susceptible to human errors.
If they don’t fit these characteristics, then perhaps it’s better to leave them in the capable hands of your creative, bright-minded employees.
- What type of data does the process work with – structured or unstructured?
RPA calls for structured data, like that made available in an ERP application, an Excel file, etc. Unstructured data, such as the free-form content within the body of an email, must often be pre-processed and turned into a structured format for robots to successfully automate processes based on this. Fortunately, you can rely on IA to deal with both structured and unstructured data.
- Are they high-volume and/or high-frequency processes?
Consider if they are high transaction volume processes (including batch processes), such as those that run end of day and end of month, or high-frequency processes, such as those that run intraday, daily and weekly. These kinds of processes offer excellent payback, so we recommend that you start automating them once you have built some valuable experience with your IA development tool – that is, midway through your pilot program and not at the start.
- Is the process mature and stable?
The more stable the process, the smoother and more effective its automated version will be. And since its operational costs are consistent and well-defined, these stable processes are also predictable, making them cost-efficient to automate.
- What process automation should you avoid?
Seek to avoid automating processes that are either marked for re-work, continually changing over the short to medium-term, or those that will be eliminated in the near term.