Measure and Scale: What Does Effective Robotic Process Automation Look Like?

 

  • Robotic process automation (RPA) — a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) — is a low-code, no-code solution for industries ranging from healthcare to manufacturing and supply chain. 
  • Businesses can scale effectively with SaaS from providers such as BP3 and Automation Anywhere with measurable results for a host of departments and teams including HR and finance.
  • RPA has already paved the way for the future with the concept of the self-service digital worker who creates exciting opportunities and transforms business across the globe. 

Robotic process automation (RPA) represents the next phase in the evolution of the workplace from manual to digital. By combining artificial intelligence (AI) with machine learning (ML), RPA is taking a number of industries by storm, team by team — while business functions like HR and finance are seeing some seriously impressive results.

The idea of the self-service digital worker pays dividends for businesses undergoing this transformation. Traditional automation essentially shied away from empowering workers. But they’re the experts in their respective fields — so why not leverage that knowledge to create better business outcomes all around?

Frank Kelly, VP of Transformation with Automation Anywhere and Scott Francis, Founder and CEO of BP3, provide insight into how businesses can effectively scale and measure RPA.

How to scale and create maximum value

For the largest enterprises in technology, increasing value has always been an absolute priority. So how is a company like Dell — with a 60% compound annual growth rate, a thousand processes to automate and around 1500 global stakeholders — typically going to achieve this? By scaling.

A business unit may already have implemented RPA. APIs might also play a role. But they all must be measured to ensure they create effective business outcomes. And that’s where the second part of the equation comes into play.

Self-service is a popular trend in business, but it’s evolving to include digital workers as well. So instead of generating a spec, finding funding, getting IT on board and creating a roadmap, professionals can basically do it themselves. There’s less fatigue, and the solutions practically drive themselves. 

RPA doesn’t have a steep learning curve. And once learned, creating a solution is just as easy — if not easier. This leaves more time for scaling and measuring, offering better results in the process.

The keys to scaling 

There are two keys to scaling:

  • Executive sponsorship

When looking at the level and value building out a new program creates, an executive sponsor is crucial. Scaling encourages increased investment which drives  the process forward further.

  • Citizen developer program

Whether you democratize the tool to shadow IT personnel or pull someone in from the business unit and train them to use it, the key here is the democratization itself. It solves problems that once brought growth to a halt. Grading your own automations by starting small, familiarizing yourself with the tech and then seeing its potential leads to some very big opportunities.

Sometimes there’s a struggle with the inflection point: When are you ready to get citizen developers engaged?

The answer is as fast and as early as possible. Start small. Put some initial governance in place. The objective is simple: fail fast and learn fast. Working with HR and finance functions early on, for example, means word of success travels to other parts of the business. The departments that are successful become key advocates for adoption of the technology across the whole organization.

You’re the experts now

Whether you need guidance on how to set up a center of excellence (CoE) or scaling your program, both Automation Anywhere and BP3 can help — the expertise is here. But one of the “undesigned consequences” of democratizing a program is that business units become the driving force behind automation creation. Why?

 

Let’s look at an example from the finance department — host to a lot of processes with compliance and auditing requirements, like SOX. After RPA implementation, any handover must take that into account. But if you can get the department on board, the technology will spread because it’s proved to be effective and reliable.

Anyone from the finance department who wants to automate already knows the SOX or auditing requirements. So it’s easy for them to build this into the solution as they’re designing it — BP3 and Automation Anywhere simply enable the creation process via the RPA CoE. It’s an approach with a light touch and strong governance.

It’s also very flexible. RPA matches your organization’s cadence in how swiftly you want to transform. A typical turnaround time for the medium complexity portion of an automated process is six to eight weeks. It can be retooled or designed out with ease. Code can be updated in three days.

From a strategic standpoint, it's about managers taking ownership of two workforces: robotic and human. There’s still a natural segregation of duties, but from a compliance standpoint it’s the same as managing a regular employee — leaving more time for change management and automation creation. 

What you want to automate is less important than getting comfortable with RPA in general, then scaling and transforming your organization.

Measuring impact and value

How do we measure value and the impact of RPA? There are innumerable SLAs and metrics, so moving toward a dollar measurement — automation-driven impact dollars — seems to make the most sense. Even if 80% of value is in the bottom line of the PnL, there’s still a significant percentage to account for.

There are three main ways to measure this, using actual cases for examples:

  • Headcount productivity savings

Putting people at ease with tools is an important aspect of this as there’s a natural fear that automation equates to job losses. But RPA allows people in a business to be — often happily — transferred where they need to be. As such, the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) will rise. This is exactly what happened in a HR team that implemented RPA.

  • Reduced outsource spending

If a company is paying $2 million a year to outsource a process to a BPO, it can cut costs significantly by insourcing instead with BP3 or Automation Anywhere’s tools. When one business unit implemented RPA, its savings added $2 million to its bottom line.

  • Value creation and risk management

This is where the possibilities are endless and results are truly impressive. One email marketing campaign for small medium business (SMB) purchasers saw 40% click-through rates and 20% conversion rates. Applied to risk management — where calculations might be incorrect and cost companies a lot of money — automation is a no-brainer.

 

If you consider compound annual growth rate, these and other metrics will provide you with an accurate picture of progress. During the scaling process of any automation program, you should clearly see monthly or annual growth. That's incredibly powerful.

Transforming human capital management

 A demand for work in the past meant hiring a full-time employee, engaging a contractor or outsourcing the labor. For about two decades, outsourcing was the name of the game. Now, the aim is to change this mindset and ask: How do I automate first? 

 

Thinking “digital worker first” can be transformative. 

If a large enterprise needs to onboard 1000 employees in a two-week period, it's quite simply impossible without automation. Streamlining onboarding as well as offboarding is a huge opportunity within the automation space.

RPA implementation results in huge labor savings — 40% in one case — improving SLAs immeasurably. In that case, cost savings could reach a conservative estimate of $100 million. It’s hard to capture the potential in purely financial terms. 

RPA creates the opportunity to create more value for people — be they suppliers, customers, or anyone else — in your ecosystem. It leaves you with the space to think long term in order to transform your organization. 

 


Learn more about implementing an efficient RPA strategy in your organization — within your budget and tailored to your needs.

Robotic process automation (RPA) represents the next phase in the evolution of the workplace from manual to digital. By combining artificial intelligence (AI) with machine learning (ML), RPA is taking a number of industries by storm, team by team — while business functions like HR and finance are seeing some seriously impressive results.

The idea of the self-service digital worker pays dividends for businesses undergoing this transformation. Traditional automation essentially shied away from empowering workers. But they’re the experts in their respective fields — so why not leverage that knowledge to create better business outcomes all around?

How to scale and create maximum value

For the largest enterprises, increasing value has always been an absolute priority. So how is a company with a 60% compound annual growth rate, a thousand processes to automate, and around 1500 global stakeholders going to achieve this? By scaling.

A business unit may already have implemented RPA. But they all must be measured to ensure they create effective business outcomes. And that’s where the second part of the equation comes into play.

Self-service is a popular trend in business, but it’s evolving to include digital workers as well. So instead of generating a spec, finding funding, getting IT on board, and creating a roadmap, professionals can basically do it themselves. There’s less fatigue, and the solutions practically drive themselves.

Some of BP3’s most successful RPA clients have created template bots using BP3’s best practices to allow groups within the organization to create their own bots. Common bots, like a bot that reads a spreadsheet and inputs the data into a system, are used all over the organization in a multitude of ways.

Creating template bots saves time and money across the organization and allows for employee self-service.

If you want to learn more about how to scale your RPA implementation or best practices in RPA, contact us today.