The first stage of the Process Discovery framework is focused on identification of opportunities that could be automated with RPA.
As part of this phase it is critical to include a robust approach to educating the organization about RPA and its key benefits. This is essential as it will not only remove the fear of the unknown, but it will also provide employees with an understanding of the art of the possible which will make identifying opportunities easier. For more information on driving business integration click here.
Techniques or sources to identify automation opportunities can include:
What is it?
The goal of Top-down (or Functional) Analysis is to determine the automation potential across an entire organization or business area. The expected output of this analysis is a list of areas having significant potential for automation. The benefit of this approach is that it allows the person operating as a Process Analyst to cast a wide net to identify potential automation areas. This should ultimately yield a bigger pipeline. On the flipside, this approach also needs more time to conclude given the volume of work one needs to do. While the Process Analyst(s) (who may be the Head of RPA or even a developer in smaller teams) will be doing most of the heavy lifting, it is recommended that the Head of RPA and Lead Developer are also part of this exercise to mitigate roadblocks and speed up the decision making.
How can I do it?
To perform a Functional Analysis, it is advised to follow these steps:
Identify Business Metrics:
- Define the benefit metrics that are applicable to your organization.
- Document the metrics, their calculation and if available their priority to the business too.
Build a Data Collection Template:
- Build a data collection template (e.g. using MS Excel, Sharepoint, Web-form etc.) to record business, department and high level process information
- Ensure that the attributes and qualification criteria being used in the tracker are consistently applied for all processes being evaluated.
Create Process Inventory:
- Collect any bespoke data* specific to the benefit metric e.g. measuring productivity may require volume of data-entry errors, re-key volume, cost of re-key etc.
* Examples might be the collection of HR data to create an inventory containing BU, Department, Process Name (if available), Headcount and Location details, collection of Risk/Compliance information around Risk Events incurred within a department or collection of IT Applications data containing App name, User count, Modules/Screens being accessed, and frequency of usage.
To create a process inventory, it is advised to establish a process hierarchy or taxonomy when building the Process Inventory. This ensures a consistent interpretation of ‘process’ across the organization and drives parity in the analysis.
A sample process hierarchy may look like this:
Prioritize processes for further assessment:
- Prioritize the business areas/departments/processes for further assessment, using the data captured
- Prioritize the processes for analysis via a Process Prioritization Matrix which is driven by benefit metrics and impact on planned or in-flight initiatives
- Create a list of Processes and a Go/No-go/Maybe decision for each business area/department/process.
What is it?
The goal of Bottom-up Analysis is to determine the automation potential across a specific team or business area. The expected output of this analysis is a list of process with significant potential for automation. This approach enables the person performing the role of Process Analyst to get a front-line view of the potential opportunities. While the Process Analyst(s) will be doing most of the heavy lifting, it is again recommended that the Head of RPA and Lead Developer are also part of this exercise to mitigate roadblocks and speed up the decision making.
How do I do it?
It is advised that the Centre of Excellence encourages bottom-up ideation by creating a framework that allows anyone in the organization to submit automation requests. These requests should subsequently be prioritized, analyzed and scheduled.
A few examples of bottom-up ideation are:
- Business Automation Requests: these are submitted directly by SMEs, Process Owners, Business Heads, IT representatives, Risk Managers etc.
- Enterprise Change/Transformation Opportunities: these are strategic automation opportunities with significant value, usually identified by transformation program teams
- Continuous Improvement: these are incremental automation opportunities; usually submitted by Process Excellence champions
- Workshops: these are run at department level with process owners to identify current pain points and identify automation opportunities.
The Process Discovery Tool enables your RPA team to discover the processes most suitable for automation, with the greatest potential benefit, applying a proven methodology. It provides a means of scaling up process discovery, managing process inventory, tracking realized benefits, and maximizing return-on-effort.