Impactful Automation – How to measure and verify your RPA benefits?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has been a hot buzz for some time – many companies and organizations have been implementing RPA already for 4–5 years with great success.
RPA is a powerful method to improve operational efficiency and profitability and to seek for enterprise level benefits. Many organizations fail to show the automation results or have an extremely narrow scope on measuring the automation benefits.
“What you measure is what you get” and “What you can’t measure – you can’t manage” – these are some old quotes I still believe in. Majority of the automation programs measure only technical robot health and automated FTEs. But is it enough? In my experience, no. Thus, in this post I will shed some light on a few better ways for measuring.
Measure business benefits – Not just technical stuff or bots!
Measuring bot health (number of transactions, runtime, automation level, average handling time, errors, etc.) is a good and essential base from the technological and automation CoE perspective. Usually, it is quite easy to fetch this technical data directly from the robot orchestrator or control tower. And yes – this is exactly the reason why RPA CoEs or service providers measure and mainly report robot health/technical stuff. It is easy to gather.
Don’t fall into this basic pitfall and measure only easy stuff. Work harder and think twice: why are you actually implementing robotic process automation? What are you trying to achieve? What are the main drivers for automation? You can get right answers from your internal clients, process or business owners, during the biz case preparation.
If you follow your original RPA mandate and provide technical metrics to your automation steering committee, you will probably get the following comments: “So…? You need more funding to scale up robots? Show me the evidence – What are we really gaining from RPA?”
As a Head of Automation CoE, you should deep dive into your internal customers’ thoughts and goals. Keep your mind on end-to-end and customer perspectives. What’s important for them? How do they follow business performance? Their goals and metrics are already there, you just need to build up causal relationships with them. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
Sometimes you are able to build up a connection to NPS surveys and sometimes you just need to interview your clients before and after launching the new automated process. Same thing goes with EX. It is essential to first understand the reasoning and desired impact of automation, before a single line of code is written.
Scale up automation benefits instead of use cases
Many studies represent that a big chunk of the early RPA adopters struggle to scale up bots and build up proper automation pipeline and business cases. The problem statement in this case is incorrect. RPA adopters shouldn’t try to scale up automation use cases as their main goal, but they should be scaling up RPA benefits instead. Without a clear understanding of the business goals, desired benefits, and the right set of KPIs, you aren’t able to focus on the right use cases and show what you really have achieved through automating processes. You might drop off a real powerful use case just because the FTE impact is small.
Be bold and aim high!
Specify your automation goals and align them with strategy, communicate them, look for cross-functional processes, define your automation metrics, and enable KPI monitoring. If you measure small things and automate individual tasks, you get small results. But if you measure outcomes, end-to-end processes, business results, and impact, you get powerful automation results and fact-based evidence on benefits.
For example, think about your purchase to deliver process with the following mindset: How could you enable 20 % faster throughput time compared to anyone in the market? What are the process phases that could secure these bold results? Do you need process mining to analyze bottle necks and sort them out? And the same challenge in sourcing: How could you reduce your inventory by 5–10 % without negative impact on your deliveries? You have to let go of old task orientation and instead evaluate whole processes with robot to human interaction and embedded cognitive components.
This is why we at Skaler automation team are here. We are here to help you deliver impactful results. We have advanced automation program framework, discover & development methodology and KPI models, in addition with a right set of automation and AI tools, RPA dashboards, and a full range of RaaS services to help you on your automation journey. Stay tuned and ping me if you want to hear more!