RPA or Robotic Process Automation is definitely a hot topic. The reason is obvious: process automation done correctly can dramatically reduce cost, while increasing both the speed and accuracy of process execution.
As demand and expectations skyrocket, RPA vendors and adopters alike are finding their initiatives unintentionally and often unnecessarily gated by two major factors:
- The time and effort required by the pre-RPA process discovery and benchmarking of the as-is state. How do we know what to automate next and why?
- The post-RPA requirement to quantify savings, monitor performance, control compliance, and an ability to advertise success and further scale automation throughout the enterprise.
Why are these two factors acting as the proverbial “ball and chain” of our automation efforts — because both are still typically run as highly manual efforts– and therefore are time consuming, costly, and open to error.
If you’ve been following my blogs, you know where I’m going with this. There simply is no reason for either of those activities to remain in the Medieval Times. Raising your Process IQ is critical for your organisation across the board!
BOLD STATEMENT ALERT: Before I go on — Don’t tell me you don’t have the data — it is there — go and find it, and if you really don’t have it — start creating it!! If you have serious ambitions of transforming your enterprise operations through RPA, Machine Learning and AI, utilizing Process Intelligence to understand your business process data will be absolutely critical in your organisation’s success.
How does a Process Intelligence Platform support RPA?
Firstly, Process Intelligence should be used during the pre-implementation analysis of existing processes to highlight the ideal candidates for an RPA both in terms of process efficiency goals and to define realistic Return on Investment expectations.
This increased Process IQ delivers 100% end to end process visibility through the creation of an interactive digital process twin, created in a fraction of the time of the historically manual process assessments. Once a process twin has been created — Process Intelligence will easily allow your organisation to quickly identify the bottlenecks in business processes — so you can see the areas where manual steps are causing compliance and audit challenges, rework and repeated steps. These resource intensive, error-prone manual steps are prime candidates for an RPA implementation.
Essentially a Process Intelligence Platform should act as your RPA roadmap, identifying, prioritizing and justifying the right processes to attack — or as one of our customers calls it — “Evidence Based RPA Planning”
We all need to remember that whilst the discovery and analysis components of a Process Intelligence deployment can provide great value in a process assessment, it is hardly the final destination! The ultimate goal is to improve them, whether this be achieved through staff training, process re-engineering or through automation. This is the area where a “True” Process Intelligence Platform can deliver unmatched functionality.
When you have chosen the right processes to automate using your desired RPA tool, Process Intelligence Platforms will continuously monitor the execution in near real time and immediately alert you when any of the violations or exceptions occur.
To be fair, some monitoring capabilities may already exist in BPM or RPA platforms; however, they will only work for the fragments of the business processes managed by those platforms and only for simple issues like time delay. A Process Intelligence Platform watches over the entire process, from start to finish, as it crosses multiple systems and identifies even the most complex issues based on multiple types of prebuilt analysis. Also, while general Business Intelligence tools can provide point in time metrics about the robot’s performance — this falls woefully short of truly understanding the change that the robots are having on the entire process. Process Intelligence can both monitor the performance of the Robots — but also the pre and post patterns that dictate overall compliance and effectiveness of the project. Throw in both pre and post implementation cost-based analytics — and a proven ROI can immediately be constructed, tracked and internally advertised.
A further piece of the puzzle and potentially one of the most important ones is that Process Intelligence Platforms can not only alert people of process deviations, but they can also trigger Process Management or Robotic Process Automation platforms to remedy the identified issues automatically. Just think about that — you may even achieve the Holy Grail of operational excellence — the closed loop integration where your process intelligence tool monitors your operational platforms, notifies it when a special condition occurs, triggers the remedy, then verifies the problem is actually solved. And if you throw in predictive capabilities for a future process state — creating an opportunity for interventional automation — now I am getting really excited (Someone cool me down)!!
If you still don’t yet have a blue print for intelligent automation or your operational transformation in 2019 you still have time to plan. If your organization is prioritizing digital transformation and truly wants to accelerate their success — a Process Intelligence Platform is an absolutely critical piece of the puzzle.
Don’t get left fighting with swords!
About the author
Joseph Rayfield is an accomplished business professional with a proven domestic and international track record of delivery in aggressive growth environments. Joe has an extensive background in technology – ranging from Data & Hosting networks through to Enterprise SaaS Software Solutions, most recently spending time focusing on Business Process and Business Intelligence solutions, providing value for Enterprise customers and partners. Joe has worked in senior management positions in EMEA, Asia Pacific and the US – currently focusing on Global Business Development for TimelinePI.