Can’t see the robots for the trees?

Make sure you are identifying the right RPA processes straightaway.

As soon as you get into RPA you can’t help but see opportunities for applying the technology everywhere. Although not every opportunity turns out to be suitable, it’s important to keep feeding the pipeline. 

The concept of using robots to automate manual activities is very simple. Logically it should be fairly simple to spot opportunities for using them. However, this whole area, despite the phenomenal growth in the RPA market, is still massively under exploited in most organisations.

Why is it so hard?

There are numerous reasons for this. Firstly RPA capability is still young and developing in most organisations and there is limited capacity to move quickly. Secondly, for many the value is yet to meet the promise, although when it undoubtedly does it will rapidly hit a tipping point. Finally, the workforce in general do not have the necessary skills, knowledge and information to spot relevant opportunities. It is vital that your organisation can identify the right RPA processes from the start.

Skore’s Experience.

Skore recently was contacted by a client working on compliance processes in Skore. It involved checking hundreds of PDF files to ensure the right data had been entered into the right fields. They could only check a sample each month which was about 1% of the total.

The client was aware of RPA, having seen it in action in their organisation, yet hadn’t spotted the opportunity to automate in their own department. It was only when they captured the reporting process and it came to life in Skore, that the light bulb moment arrived.


Identify RPA processes
Image taken from Skore’s Digital Discovery Platform

As they summarised –  “the problem is that we spend so much time down in the weeds. We’re focused on getting all this work finished everyday we don’t see the bigger picture.”

When the wider process was laid out visually, with highly manual and repeatable steps clearly highlighted, it was obvious that significant improvements could be made. When the time and cost data was added to Skore there was a clear business case too. Then they were able to identify the right RPA process.

A revolutionary change…

Although it was the significant time saving that was exciting the client, the benefits went way beyond. Suddenly their 1% sampling could become 100% of documents with the team free to follow up on those that failed the compliance check. This significantly reduced the risk of poor customer experience, regulatory fines and the resulting effect that would have on the business brand.

Despite the fact that the client was well aware of the capabilities of RPA they had found it difficult to spot opportunities for applying the technology. They were so focused on the day to day activities that they couldn’t see the difference between those that were highly standardised and repeatable and those that weren’t. It was by taking the time to capture these processes that the RPA need and benefits became clear.

Conclusion

To identify RPA opportunities we need to take a step back and look at our processes objectively. We must devote time to understand what the company needs, what our staff need and what our customers need. It is very easy to get lost in the detail and lose the bigger picture. RPA promises great benefits but only if we can commit to taking the time to identify the right processes to automate.

Skore’s cloud based Digital Discovery platform rapidly captures business processes and produces instant insights. The Robotic Assess module enables organisations to highlight process to automate and creates the business case to support them. 

Where should I start with RPA?

Those of us who have been working in the RPA space for a while are used to spotting good opportunities for applying robots. However this comes through experience and it’s not as easy as it looks.

Working with a couple of organisations recently on Digital Discovery projects, we’ve identified potential opportunities for RPA. The client’s response?… “oh we’ve tried that before but it didn’t really deliver the return we’d hoped for.”

On closer investigation it turned out that the process in question was complicated. It was selected for a number of reasons; a lot of back and forth between multiple systems, numerous copy and paste activities, repetition and high levels of human interaction. Most importantly it was considered low risk in case anything went wrong.

Whilst low risk it was clearly considered of low importance too. Only a vague scope was agreed and the team went to work building a robot.

Initially the team were pleased that the amount of copy and paste they had previously done had been greatly reduced. The volume of items they could handle had increased. However, the number of exceptions increased too, at a higher rate than the volume increase. In addition, there was an increase in rework… items that hadn’t made it successfully to the end of the process and needed to be redone, often manually.

In other words they’d fixed one problem but created new ones. On balance there was only a small return on investment and the whole RPA initiative had run out of steam before it had even begun.

Understanding which processes are right for automation is essential for success. There is much to consider and every organisation will have a different view of what’s important. Time and cost savings are obvious benefits but consider the impact on customer and employee experience. You may be reducing risk through reduction in errors or by securing data.

Therefore the first thing you should do is start to capture and analyse your end-to-end business processes. You need to get people aligned and identify everything that needs to be improved before applying automation. This drives out the requirements and other improvement opportunities.

Remember capturing business processes doesn’t have to be time consuming, using Digital Discovery it can be achieved rapidly, with high levels of engagement and immediately outputs a report of what to automate and when. Skore’s Robotic Assess module sits on top of the Digital Discovery platform and will also produce a robust business case for each process. This helps you prioritise them into a pipeline of work.

If you want to get the most out of RPA you need to pick processes that are easy to automate and return high value benefits in the shortest time. At least until you’ve established your RPA capability and are able to scale it. Using Digital Discovery will help you identify those processes rapidly and prioritise them efficiently.

Craig Willis is one of the founders of Skore, the Digital Discovery Software platform that enables you to align your processes, people and tools with ease. Skore have launched Robotic Assess, a module that allows you to easily assess and understand which of your processes are ready for automation. Click here to find out more.

Missed our recent RPA webinar? If you still need to learn about process discovery, sustainable RPA implementation, how to scale and building a robust RPA business case click here to request a free copy.

New RPA Partnership Announcement

Skore Digital Discovery Platform announces partnership with leading RPA Solution & Services experts Lawrence & Wedlock.

The new collaboration will ensure an end to end solution for companies looking to achieve agility in implementing RPA technologies. Skore’s Robotic Assess module brings disruption to the discovery phase of any automation project. It considerably reduces the time to discover, engages stakeholders and produces a robust analysis of the current situation.

Lawrence & Wedlock, an experienced intelligent automation services provider, delivers end-to-end solutions from process discovery and product selection through to implementation and ongoing maintenance.

In the rush to automate it’s not always clear what to automate now and what to improve before automating. Daniel Lawrence, Managing Director at L&W said: ‘Our clients rely on Lawrence & Wedlock to deliver agile, creative and efficient solutions. The Skore platform is becoming an integral part of our delivery toolkit in facilitating this, enabling us to move away from static templates and spreadsheets in favour of a robust, scalable platform to work collaboratively with our clients to deliver their RPA programme and provide our developers with everything they need to deliver automations.’

The Skore Digital Discovery tool is an excellent match for any organisation looking to become more agile through the use of disruptive technologies such as RPA. Chris Green, Partner Director at Skore said: “Skore is the answer for organisations looking to rapidly implement automation based on an in-depth analysis of their current situation and provide a solid foundation for ongoing adoption of that technology. Lawrence & Wedlock provide a comprehensive and effective solution for their customers using RPA which makes perfect sense for this partnership.

Notes to Editors

Skore is a leading software company whose unique solution helps organizations reduce the cost and risk of digital transformation, systems implementation and automation.

Lawrence & Wedlock are a certified RPA services partner, providing automation Services and Solutions. Their objective is to make automation enablement truly accessible for businesses through our simple, flexible and effective services.

For further press information, please contact:                                                          

Anna Roebuck anna.roebuck@getskore.com

Marketing and Communications Manager 023 92 658 268

Is RPA Just A Band Aid?

My early interactions, with the technology now widely known as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), were not totally positive.

When applying RPA to a manual interface, between an old legacy system and a company’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, my instinct was to rip out the legacy system. To replace it with something more modern and efficient with the ability to integrate directly. With RPA it felt we were just postponing the inevitable, storing up problems for the future. We were putting a sticking plaster over a serious wound that was likely to fester.

In fact, we shouldn’t use human analogy where business is concerned. Business issues do not always follow a linear trajectory and the issue is not always a wound that needs to be treated and healed over time.

What is an issue today may be an advantage or opportunity tomorrow and vice versa. In other words, businesses need to be more agile so they can understand the nature of problems they face today and adapt and change for the problems they face tomorrow.

But making businesses agile is where RPA, and tools such as Skore’s Digital Discovery platform, really come into their own. With Digital Discovery tools, an organisation can rapidly understand the current situation, align teams and get everyone onboard. It’s a completely different approach to traditional methods of discovery.

Image taken from Skore’s Robotic Assess Software Platform

Undertaking a major systems implementation may seem like the right solution today, for example, replacing a legacy system. However if it takes 12 – 18 months how can we be sure that it will be the right solution?

This is where Digital Discovery and RPA are so effective. Process capture workshops are fast, engaging and result in an agreed set of processes in a digital and shareable format.

Furthermore, Digital Discovery is more than just processes. While process acts as a framework for understanding how the organisation works, a Digital Discovery tool should allow you to augment the process with other information such as; roles, systems, data, duration and costs etc.

 It allows you to create a more complete picture of how the organisation works. Enabling you to focus on what’s important right now.

This is why Digital Discovery fits so neatly with RPA. Robotic Process Automation allows you to quickly implement changes to, and vastly improve the performance of, how work gets done. There’s no need to run an 18 month implementation programme before you start seeing benefits. Benefits identified during Digital Discovery can be implemented and realised with RPA within weeks or even days.

We recognise that many organisations are still using traditional methods of discovery to feed their RPA initiatives. But don’t be surprised when there’s a collective groan from your colleagues. If you really want to become truly agile you’ll need to abandon the old ways and marry your RPA programme with Digital Discovery.

Skore has developed Robotic Assess, a Saas software solution that enables you and your organisation to rapidly discover and agree business processes, identify RPA opportunities and create a robust business case with clear ROI analysis. Find out more about what our Digital Discovery tool can do for you.