How to identify RPA Opportunities

In the beginning RPA can be a little difficult to implement if you haven’t identified what process qualifies for RPA. So, how can you best identify and evaluate processes where RPA can deliver tangible results? As a starting point, you need to fully understand the process you’re considering automating. If this sounds easy to do, it is, and yet many organizations jump into RPA with significant blind spots in their existing processes causing a long frustrating drawn out delay.

RPA automates a clear, defined process. Most people don’t have clearly defined processes, so they start automating, and either automate the wrong thing or get lost in trying to reverse engineer the process. For example, you try to develop RPA for invoice processing, but didn’t realize that your company had over 400 vendors have different invoices. To build the logic from these invoices can take up to 3 hours each. 400 invoices times 3 hours each equals 7 and a half months. This is not a good process to start with. This is a process you would want to do in blocks. Whatever vendors do the bulk of your business are the invoices you want to start with first. This will help eliminate most of the heavily lifting that your staff is currently doing. What you want to do is be able to start with the low hanging fruit so your RPA knowledge can improve before moving to bigger projects.

With that foundation in mind, what are good fits for RPA.? Before you consider this question, make sure you fully understand the process, and make sure that the process has clearly defined inputs and outputs. To understand that, there are four key things to look for as an RPA opportunity.

  1. Repetitive
  2. High-volume
  3. Rule-based
  4. Prone to human error

If a task checks all these boxes, it’s a great fit for RPA.

Now that you know what to look for, finding a process to start with can be another hurdle. If you answer yes to any of the questions below, you’ve now have identified a good place to start your RPA journey...

  1. Can the task be completed manually by a human sitting at a PC working with applications?
  2. Does the business system lack an API or is the database behind the application inaccessible?
  3. Does the core vendor charge extra for updating information in the business application?
  4. Does a human worker perform the task more than once per week?
  5. Does the task involve sensitive data? (RPA bots are better suited for working with sensitive information and it can reduce the probability of that data being mishandled as a result of human error.)
  6. Does the task need to be completed quickly with limited staffing resources?
  7. Are there repetitive tasks that employees dislike?

Those last two questions help RPA improve human job satisfaction and creativity. No more overtime or weekend work now that the bots took over.

What process should you start with? How do you evaluate a good process for RPA? Here is a list of questions that will narrow the gap…

  1. Which areas are underperforming?
  2. Where are rigid applications or information silos creating bottlenecks?
  3. Do you have processes that can’t be scaled unless you hire more people?
  4. Are employees performing manual repetitive tasks?
  5. Do you have highly paid knowledge workers dedicated to time-consuming administrative tasks?
  6. Are human data-entry errors creating frequent rework or exception handling?
  7. Is your company considering outsourcing processes that you would prefer to keep in-house?

Ok, now you know what it takes to identify an RPA opportunity within your organization. Now all you have to do is have that processed designed out for you, along with an ROI (Return On Investment) calculation. Fill out our questionnaire below and set up a 30 minute design call so we can share what you have created for you. We look forward to helping you start your RPA journey.