How to Measure Automation Success for the Enterprise

Automation is widely known for saving employees time and effort by performing large, repetitive, and typically error-prone tasks. By using Robotic Process Automation (RPA), companies can more easily manage their manual, time-consuming tasks while increasing accuracy, timeliness, and compliance.

RPA has also been used to avoid costs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, companies across multiple industries turned to automation to ensure business continuity and optimize costs. For example, airlines have developed automated processes to refund customers and reschedule flights. Similarly, government organizations have been able to issue COVID-19 business grants using RPA. In these cases, the organization in question would have needed to hire more full-time employees to handle the additional workload caused by the pandemic, making it relatively easy to calculate savings from cost avoidance.

As a result, companies have focused on the time and cost saving benefits of automation. When working with pure RPA programs, organizations can track hours back to the store and report the time savings saved by automating a previously manually performed task, or calculate the savings of full-time employees as a result of the automation. However, by focusing solely on RPA, business leaders are missing out on the full benefits of automation.

A changing market

We have lived through turbulent times. Inflation is rising and companies are struggling to retain their key talent as the Great Retirement continues. The automation industry is witnessing its own changes with reports of the RPA market in transition. In truth, the true value of automation has always lay beyond RPA. Its greatest opportunities come when automation is applied to unstructured data in complex workflows across the enterprise, integrating technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing (NLP) and human-in-the-loop, and RPA. At our company, we’ve seen some of the ways that automating core business programs can positively impact a company’s bottom line, whether it’s through an improved customer experience or increased customer retention.

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Measuring the effectiveness of automation

However, when automation is applied to multiple processes or broad end-to-end processes, success becomes more difficult to define and measure compared to simple cost-related calculations. It can take a lot of tools to provide this type of complex automation, as multiple processes need to be running simultaneously to ensure everything runs smoothly. If the entire automation process is not fully visible, it can be almost impossible to quantify its costs and benefits.

Banish silos

This leads to the need for true cross-departmental collaboration. When automation is deployed across multiple features, issues can arise such as: B. when teams work separately without the end-to-end process being fully visible. While organizational automation programs are typically led by IT departments, measuring their impact can often be left to other parts of the organization. This creates a gap between project implementation and the work to measure its effectiveness. We are entering a new era of automation and it is no longer just a domain of IT.

Define target values

By developing clear target values ​​for Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for automation, you can identify how these contribute to the bigger picture, which allows a company to gain the necessary support from stakeholders across the organization. Some companies have state-of-the-art reporting systems and dashboards that display automation KPIs. However, if they don’t have predefined goals and easily accessible strategic insight into that work, these metrics become more of a “nice-to-have” than a real leadership tool. Automation results should also feed into the ongoing development of an automation program. It’s not “set and forget”. By seeing what works (and what doesn’t), you can make informed decisions about how your automation workflows could be improved.

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Why automation measurement matters

As with any business tool, the success of automation programs should be driven by an organization’s overall strategy. If customer retention is a critical KPI, then the organization should prioritize processes for automation that support that goal, and work across departments to effectively measure its contribution to that goal. In the past, organizations started their automation work with cherry-picking processes that were inherently easy to automate with RPA. Today we are moving towards a more holistic approach to applying automation to the entire enterprise and strategic end-to-end processes. Organizations choose programs to automate based on their importance to the business rather than their ease of automation. For companies that get this right, automation could offer a solution to some of today’s most pressing challenges, as well as a longer-term driver for revenue growth and competitive advantage.

Finally, automating entire business programs can be complex, which is why analysts are predicting a higher growth rate on the services side of automation. RPA-related services are expected to reach $16 billion by 2025, nearly triple the software they provide.

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