Robotic Process Automation
Resources are scarce, and this is a grim reality organizational leadership has to face. Yet, the need for these resources keeps increasing as the work is relentless. Customer satisfaction is no longer adequate. Customer delight is the mantra. Scaling operations becomes a necessity as the ration between new employees and company growth is skewed.
Growth brings along with it innovative ways of accomplishing objectives or providing better user experiences.
This eventually leads to employees performing similar rules-based work in different ways over several business units or regions. At times, in a single BU, there are multiple ways to tackle a process.
Simultaneously, you want to optimize and max out your team’s potential. To that end, you have to outsource monotonous tasks to automated software robots. This poses a million dollar question: will you be standardizing these processes and then be automating them, or will you be automating them right away?
Particular leaders are searching for the one “winning” process. The concept here is to scour through your organization till you identify the process flow which has consensus as being the best. Certain experts opine that if there are passable variations that take into account demographic or departmental conditions, then there is no necessity to change them.
The path you take is dependent on whether it is acceptable to automate certain variants of a process within your organization.
A few considerations include:
Are the process variations the cause of poor performance or compliance issues?
What is the effort expenditure needed for automation as opposed to reaching a consensus on a singular process flow.
Will standardization influence the people that come up with the variations in a positive or negative way?
Standardizing through automation
Process standardization is always a positive thing as it implies that there is an established and confirmed set of procedures to achieve a business objective.
The shocking benefits of automation are momentum and consensus. The intent to automate had total cost of operations (TCO) benefits notwithstanding the presence of slightly nuanced processes by geography.
The response to automation was tremendous even if there wasn’t consensus on how to carry out a process. Robotization provided further pathways to standardize and improve total cost of operations (TCO) benefits.
People are eager to provided contributions to automation projects than those of process standardization. They are aware that they are outsourcing tasks to software robots.
People want to play far greater roles, and anything that prevents people from obtaining extra time for higher value tasks is detrimental.
If you want to keep talent, don’t put off automation to develop perfect processes. Automation is expected to replace the monotonous rules-based work of today. This facilitates employee productivity, freeing them up for higher value work.
The caveat with concentrating on standardizing, is that you may obtain only process consistency, not free time for the employees to be involved in the process. You’d be better served skipping standardization to focus on obtaining business outcomes, such as the following.
Minimizing customer wait times.
Onboarding fresh suppliers.
Finding a solution to an employee payroll dispute.
Detecting fraudulent transactions.
A simple formula can be applied:
Spend time in learning which path you want to automate.
Process mining and AI can greatly facilitate step 1. Regardless of what criteria underlies your selection, concentrate on what causes the process to start and the end result you wish to accomplish through the process.
It is less important to concentrate on consolidating the individual variants of the process paths if they are helping you reach the business outcome. Robots can easily automate these.
Spend time in automating one method of carrying out the process and begin funneling the volume through that path. Any discrepancies can be addressed through a mere change to the automation.
Leadership ought to focus on how employees upskill and pivot into higher value work. Leaders feel people are being increasingly influenced by automation. The labor force wants to ditch monotonous activities and concentrate on higher value activities.
The time has come to effect standardization via automation. Develop the automation to accomplish the business outcomes as opposed to standardizing all the intermediate phases. Let’s put people first.