Don’t leave your RPA Business Case until its too late.
We’ve all been there…
It’s so easy to get carried away with a new toy, tearing open the box and emptying the contents all over the floor. Start sticking the lego blocks together before you’ve even unwrapped the instructions. Plugging in the new TV without opening the manual.
Disruptive new business technologies like Robotic Process Automation are just as exciting. Unlike the old Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems of the past, with RPA tools you can start implementing from day one.
However unlike the TV in your living room, RPA could have a profound effect on your business….. Or, it could not……
If it’s not positioned correctly, if it doesn’t align with the organisation’s objectives, if it disrupts in a negative way or if it simply doesn’t deliver the expected benefits… It will be packed away in the cupboard to collect dust like all the broken toys and missing parts.
With RPA it’s essential you start thinking about the wider business case right from the get go. With the hype around the technology it won’t be long before you’re having to answer board level questions about that business case. You must be ready with the right answers as early as possible.
Starting to build the business case isn’t difficult
You don’t need to get hung up on a detailed business case at this point but putting a simple framework together now will provide a solid foundation. Skore recommends starting to build the foundation with the 4 Ps of Robotic Process Automation.
P is for Process
Which processes are most likely to benefit from RPA? There’s a lot to choose from and the challenge will be selecting those that make a significant difference.
Are you simply pushing process inefficiencies downstream? Processes need to be considered end-to-end. If you apply RPA at one point in a process, what’s the impact on other areas?
Are there areas of the process that need to be improved before applying the technology? Automating a bad process means you’re just speeding up a bad process.
Take the time to make an inventory of possible candidate processes. Performing a high level review of those processes will quickly identify what can and should be automated. Document the volumes and costs of those processes today so you can start thinking about the benefits of automation immediately. With Skore’s Digital Discovery Platform you can rapidly capture and analyse key business processes and start building a business case straight away.
P is for Performance
What sort of performance improvement can you expect from implementing RPA? If you’ve followed the previous step you’ll already have a list of candidates and their current performance. Start to evaluate them to understand the scale of the improvement.
What improvements are you measuring? Improvements are not just about time savings you should also be considering speed, quality, volume, cost and customer or employee experience.
It needn’t be detailed but understanding the magnitude of the improvement will help when discussing the potential benefits of the technology.
P is for Prioritisation
Where do you start when you get the go ahead for the investment? Once you have catalogued the processes most suitable for RPA and understood the potential performance improvements this should be fairly straight forward.
Which strategic priorities will give you the largest gain for the smallest investment of time and money? Consider the organisation today and which performance improvements best align with those priorities. Priorities can change but having a good argument for why you have selected them with supporting evidence is essential.
P is for Plan
What is the impact on the existing human workforce? Applying RPA isn’t just about implementing robots and moving on to the next thing. Robotic Process Automation can have a significant impact on the way work happens in the organisation. RPA is an extension of your workforce so must be considered as such.
Are they ready for the change? How is work going to be reassigned? What new opportunities does this generate and how is that going to be exploited?
A lot of these questions can lead to unexpected benefits above and beyond simple cost and time saving. These will help strengthen the investment case and help with communications.
Finally, consider what happens 6 or 12 months from now? How do the robots you implement today stay relevant tomorrow? How are the processes maintained and improved over time?
RPA is an exciting technology with the potential to have a huge impact on modern organisations. However, it’s easy to get caught up in the technology and not consider the bigger picture. RPA is a strategic investment and needs to be considered as such as early as possible.
The Skore Robotic Assess module on the Skore Digital Discovery platform quickly identifies and documents end-to-end processes, assesses them for RPA suitability, calculates potential benefits and prioritise candidates. The platform has a user friendly interface with simple dashboards and clear analysis that can be presented as part of your business case.
Craig Willis is the Customer Success Director and one of the founders at Skore.