Business Process Automation is no longer just a luxury for large businesses. It has rapidly emerged as an imperative for businesses of all sizes to stay afloat in the constantly changing and aggressively competing business environment.
More and more organisations are utilising automation in their processes to benefit from the positive impact on cost, time and production. However, not all succeed in getting the objectives they set out to achieve. Many notice a gap between expectation and reality.
We look at the top 5 reasons your automation project may be falling short of the expectations and how you can address that:
1. Picking a process that is not suited for automation
Not all processes are equal and will deliver the same impact with automation. Furthermore, not all tasks are suited for automation. If you have chosen the wrong process to automate, you will not get the desired output despite everything going smoothly.
A classic example of choosing the wrong process is automating the customer help desk. While the process does become efficient, will it be as effective as a human answering the calls? Automating this process will negatively impact customer service and satisfaction.
One key criterion for selecting the process is balancing both automation effectiveness and efficiency. A process that becomes both effective and efficient with automation is a strong candidate for process automation.
Some other processes that are not fit for automation are processes that are too simple with very few steps and can be completed in a very short span manually or are infrequent so will not deliver great results in terms of time saving.
To identify the right-fit process, start by building a process library and identifying processes that are high frequency and high volume and require a great amount of manual effort to execute. These processes once automated show significant results in terms of the reduction in man hours and errors and improvement in efficiency and productivity.
2. Not clearly defining the project objective
When starting on the process automation journey, it is important to draw out the goals and expectations from the project. A lack of prioritisation or objective may lead to disappointing results. You need to lay out the expectations—ensuring compliance, increasing capacity, improving efficiency or improving customer service.
Ensure your priorities are reflected in the project plan and communicated to the key stakeholders. It is also crucial to clarify how the progress will be measured periodically. Adhering to these goals and consistently describing the project in those terms ensures that the automation project delivers desired benefits.
3. Automating a broken process
If you automate a broken process, all you get is a broken process that is just faster than your current manual process. As Bill Gates says, “Automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” To derive maximum output from your automation initiative, you need to first map and improve your current processes.
Process maps help you identify the bottlenecks and inefficiencies in your current processes. These include non-value-adding tasks, such as rework, unnecessary approvals and double entries. Once these inefficiencies are eliminated and automation is applied to an improved and streamlined process, you achieve the best possible outcome.
4. Insufficient team skills and experience
Since a process automation project requires going to the lowest level of detail, not having the required competencies and experts in the team will impact your project’s progress. A balanced team with diverse roles needs to be put together. From a business process analyst, automation expert to subject matter expert and security infrastructure technology analyst, ensure that the team should have all the required skills to drive end-to-end automation.
Overlooking any of these capabilities will likely result in automated processes that don’t deliver as per the expectations. For instance, without dedicated involvement from the SME, you won’t be able to verify if outputs from a process are correct or not.
5. Overlooking security and infrastructure requirements
Not evaluating or underestimating security requirements at the initial project stage is a key factor that hampers the progress of an automation project. Similarly, realising mid-way that the automation technology chosen doesn’t integrate with the current technology stack causes significant delays.
Thus, it’s important to address all these security and infrastructure-related complexities by involving the IT team right at the project initiation stage. Clarity on the process security requirements and whether it involves sensitive and customer data helps you plan your automation project and prevent your efforts from backfiring at the integration stage.
A solid automation strategy and a structured approach is a must to ensure your process automation project success. To get step-by-step instructions, expert tips and best practices to maximise the benefits of your process automation project, read the free eBook: “10 Effective Steps to Process Automation Success”.