Businesses are increasingly researching technology solutions to disrupt current business practices and move into information-driven approaches. As digital transformation becomes ubiquitous, companies looking to stay ahead of the competition and fully integrate technology with their business strategy often find themselves dealing with vast quantities of data.
Having this data suddenly available is enormously useful to businesses, but extracting the most relevant and actionable intelligence from it is what can be time consuming. Businesses spend vast amounts of time and resources to pull that data from different data sources to be analyzed and used effectively to make business decisions.
Gathering inventory, billing, sales, business contracts, and receivables data can often be tedious and complicated, especially if it has to be done on a weekly or monthly basis. This is where robotic process automation (RPA) comes into play.
RPA allows you to automate these processes, saving hundreds of hours of employee time and freeing them up to, concentrate on other tasks that increase productivity. It can also improve accuracy and compliance, and quality.
The following are the fundamentals for Robotic Process Automation for early adopters:
Repeated and unnecessary processes generate a huge amount of business unproductivity, particularly if these processes haven’t been streamlined to ensure a smooth workflow that can bring high value back to your business. The goal of standardizing is essentially a way to create the most simple and direct process flow possible, removing every duplicated effort and potential bottleneck along the way.
Start by selecting a time-consuming process that is always the same and repeatable (E.g. Cash reconciliations). This means it is a good candidate for standardization and automation. Then log every action that resources take within the process activities, which will help you identify the inefficiencies.
This is your starting point for analyzing the data, looking at what steps can be eliminated to streamline the process, and how it can be standardized. Once you standardize the process, you can apply automation and identify whether you need an unattended or attended automation.
In our experience, there is another key advantage to this standardization exercise – you can identify where cross-functional teams end up overlapping processes and don’t drive value to the business. This is why drilling down to the activity level, and identifying ownership of who is doing what, allows your business to operate more effectively, ensuring business-wide improvements.
While you are focusing on standardization efforts, you can also begin to understand the implementation costs and potential benefits as you get started on this journey.
As you develop your business case, there are few a questions that you should ask, such as, How many people are involved in the process? How many areas of the business does it touch? Analyze how many hours it takes to prepare and complete the process and how frequently it needs to be done. Documenting these hours will allow you to say how many potential hours will be saved with automation gains.
Say, for instance, it is a case of eliminating 50 hours of data entry. You can convert this number into a dollar value based on your payroll information, helping to accurately estimate how much value the new solution will add to your business. The implementation cost subtracted from the potential time/cost savings gives a team or business the bottom line and a strong guide as to whether to implement RPA or not on a project-to-project basis, as well as longer term for future projects and teams. The business case will then have data and information related to the technology cost, time-savings on a yearly basis to identify what would be your pay-back period, and the investment that you have to make.
Whether you are looking at one or various processes at a time, it is a useful way to see how quickly the process can be implemented, the business resources needed, and costs involved. This will help you drive the right conversations that need to happen with different teams, like collaborating with the IT department, to gain access to the different systems needed.
Do not just look at the financial impacts, but the overall benefits to the business, such as assessing how it makes your business more efficient. Can RPA eliminate hours spent on data entry by employees or streamline a once long and complicated process?
This type of analysis does not just have value before starting a project, where it can be used to check duration and budget constraints before getting underway and setting the right expectations from the get-go, it can also be used as a roadmap during the project – checking to make sure it is advancing as planned. Finally, the business case also has a role to play at the end of the project, helping you assess how well planned and implemented it was and allowing you to recalibrate for other opportunities.
RPA has the potential to transform costly, time-consuming, and repeated activities into simple, automated processes, handling vast reams of data with ease and accuracy. However, it is important that you analyze the impacts and benefits in a strategic way, before getting started.
By standardizing processes and creating a strong business case, you can lead your business organization towards increased productivity and efficiency in an orderly and effective way.
At Citrin Cooperman, we provide Robotic Process Automation services and we look at your entire business taxonomy for manual, time-consuming processes, as well as how you would optimally gain more value back to your business resources. By utilizing our accelerators and toolkits, Citrin Cooperman is the optimal partner in your business’ digital transformation journey, enabling you to spend more time with clients, understand their needs that will positively affect how you improve the way you do business on a day-to-day basis.
Please visit our Robotic Process Automation Service Line website by clicking this link.