Erhan OK/ March 4, 2019/ BPA, IRPA, RPA/ 0 comments

How to select the right process for automation?

Business Process Automation always starts with selecting the process and continue with designing and deployment. In most of the organizations, you might face certain blockers in the selection stage of the process. As an example; “first standardize, after automate“. In such cases, it usually slows down the automation implementation. As the result, we can’t realize productivity gains out of automation as early as expected.

Think of, standardization of a process may take between two to eight months depending on process complexity and length. if you push it for automation, for such processes you can estimate about two to six months of development time cost. It is such a long time as we have to respond to the increasing volume of the demand.

If the demand will rise higher in this period of time, if you would like to respond to it, you should grow your team. If it’s not an option, you should accept the fact of having team backlog.

How can we avoid such circumstances?

Here is the thing: First, you should define how to select the feasible and high value bringing processes at a glance. It does not necessarily to be a very long process. You can start with a shorter process, which has a high value-gain and a potential for the replication.

How should we find such processes?

Look at it from three different angles with a digital lens;

  1. Triggering action
  2. Logic
  3. Expected results
  • > Input
  • > Rule-based Process
  • > Output

Approach to an operational user by asking the three questions below.

  • Is your process input a set of structured data?
  • Can you describe my process using a rule-based logic? (example; if/else)
  • Can you define the expected output/outcome clearly?

If the answer to each question is YES, means this process is feasible for automation. If you get an overview of operations, no matter how mature it is, 60% of probability you will find such processes existing. That’s a big quantity to start doing automation, right?

Sample Triggering Actions:

  • An email sent to the common mailbox.
  • A ticket created on service management platform.
  • A SharePoint list item/ folder/ file created.
  • An Excel file placed on shared-drive/ SharePoint.
  • A certain time in a certain frequency. (example: Monday, at 8 AM).
  • A change in ticket/ invoice status.
  • A new line item created on ERP (SAP).
  • Upon PC startup/ user logon.
  • Input is taken from the client via Chatbot.
  • A specified window opens/ closes at PC.
  • A button pressed on the keyboard.
  • A voice call to “Hello, HR Bot Aaron”.

Sample Logic:

If aNewEmailReceived == True (
	is email from country = TR?
	//Action-1: Go to TR SAP
	//Action-2: Perform the Sub-process-1
	//Action-3: Create an Excel report and sent to the Analyst
	//Action-4: Notify requester that work is done
) else ('do nothing')

Sample Expected Results:

  • An email to the requester with request status.
  • A report to the requester with expected details.
  • An update on the ERP system. (e.g material status)
  • A notification/escalation to the action’s owner.
  • A file placed on shared-drive.
  • An update on a common file used by the team.
  • A log to a database.
  • An input to Chatbot presenting results to the client.
  • A status change of respective ticket, triggering for the next action.
  • A queue item deferred making a follow-up action after a defined time interval.

As a summary, start automating the low hanging and shining fruits. Always consider the potential “Replication Opportunities“. It will help to standardize the Bot process, in parallel to iterative development. What matters are only standard input and output for a sub-process, country, entity or region.

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