22 ways to cut the cost of an automation program – Part 3 of 4

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22 ways to cut the cost of an automation program – Part 3 of 4

It is as critical to look after the bottom line as it is to look after the top line. There are multiple ways to cut the cost of an intelligent automation program including;

11. Use process mapping tool to identify processed to automate and develop process documentation: Organisation can save a large amount of effort if the right processes for automation are identified early on. Completing an appropriate amount of analysis and documentation before any development begins can save firms a great deal of time and cost over the long term. Process mapping tools can help identify and map a forms processes more quickly than a team of business analysts. For example;

Note: The above tools are mentioned for illustration only. This is not a recommendation of either tool. Other tools are available and maybe more suitable for your organisations unique circumstances.

Source: Everest Process Mining Peak Matrix 2020

There are lots of products that will help which, when accompanied by an experienced Business Analysts, can greatly reduce the cost, time and risk finding suitable processes to automate. 

Mark Barrett, Director Automation

“Don’t build bots but automate carefully selected and sufficiently discovered business processes. Digital transformation is not in the business of bot building. It is in the business of bringing your business to a desired future. Make sure to build bots which conform to a well documented and well managed business process. The bots enable a process to reach a future with automated and intelligent functions.”

Roger Berkely, Automation Company Founder

12: Use Agile Scrum | DevOps to deliver automation programs in waves of value: Organisations must compete in a technology driven age that has never been faster yet will never be slower. Digital demands that firms go fast, break things and develop at pace. Therefore, firms must adopt methods that support ‘digital’ ways of working. DevOps and Agile are two such methods.

DevOps is a practice of bringing development and operations teams together. Whereas Agile is an iterative approach that focuses on collaboration, customer feedback and small rapid releases. DevOps promotes a fully automated continuous integration and deployment pipeline to enable frequent releases, while Agile Scrum provides the method to rapidly adapt to the changing requirements and better collaboration between different teams.

Agile and DevOps in Tandem

Digital demands that firms start simple, go fast, break things, learn and iterate at pace to succeed and therefore they need to use methods that support this ‘digital’ way of working.

“Assuming you’ve identified the right candidate for automation, start by automating the happy path. Initially, high exceptions will raise eyebrows, but these exceptions more often than not lead to process re-engineering. “Starting small” always works.”

Rajesh Nair, Serial Process Thinker, Design Thinker and Automator

Jose Lara Source Medium.com

13. Seek advice and direction from LinkedIn Automation | Analytics | Digital Transformation Community: There is broad range of free materials and expertise online. Got stuck, go search or ask an expert in the LinkedIn automation community for help. But do remember to give back and not simply take, take, take.

“The amount of knowledge you can get for free is growing everyday. If you’re not sure how businesses are Digital Transforming to streamline their operations, make sure you read articles or case studies or watch YouTube videos explaining it. Do your due diligence of the expert you’re watching. And please, please, please, always give back. Share the information you find along with the great, good, bad, and awful experiences you have had as it’s likely something someone else will want to know that as well.”

Thomas Allen, Digital Marketing Yoda

14. Don’t rush to use expensive consultancies simply for the name badge: Specialist digital and automation skill are honed over many successful (and unsuccessful) projects. These skills are available in both larger and small companies. In fact, there are a great number of large and smaller digital and automation consultancies that offer exceptional value for money.

“Developers can always be found within an organisation (e.g. macro, app, python etc.). They know the business well and are already highly experienced. They will quickly master RPA. Make use of your organisation’s ‘cheaper resource’ and vendors expertise/recommendation. Grow and hire in-house. Yet, don’t be afraid to use offshore immediately, as long as coding ability and communication isn’t an issue. This is especially true in this covid-19 world where an office is not longer essential.”

Adam Bilson, Group RPA Lead

But do your research and find the partner that will work best with your organisation. Don’t just rush to hire a ‘name’ as they may not be the most suitable option for your organisation. 

“Real expertise comes from years of experience, mainly on the front line, i.e. through doing the role you are doing yourself in another organisation. Understand what specific expertise you are paying for, there is often a differing level of experience even with similar resource in the same implementation partner. 

Know that the easy part of being successful is building your automations, and that your overall success will come from everything that surrounds your build being fine tuned. If you think this is an IT project, be prepaid to have an expensive failure on your hands.”

Wayne Butterfield, Automation Expert

15: If a firms engages a 3rd party then ensure the 3rd party is contracted to knowledge transfer and walk away.

Often firms outsource their automation program to a 3rd party. Many have found this to be a very expensive operating model over the longer term. Automation is a long term game, not a short term play. Organisations should look to build their own centres of expertise in whatever way works best for their organisation (e.g. centralised, federated, or hybrid) with their own affordable talent very much at the core. Hiring expert consultancies, or contracted talent, can be a wonderful way to accelerate automation learning and development. But before a contract ends, firms should insist expert knowledge is documented and transferred to a COE before the experts leave the business.

Automation Centre or Expertise Operating Model

“You should never outsource your Automation CoE. A developer role can be outsourced so long as they build the code in the right way and clearly document what they build, as per standards dictated. That said I recommend a competent in-house Architect and a controlled CoE oversees and manages this.”

Adam Bilson, Group RPA Lead

16. Offshore to India | South Africa | Bulgaria | etc. Firms should look to offshoring to access amazing talent at low cost to build their automation delivery teams. Firms now operate in a global market place. Talent is available across the world at very reasonable cost. Technology has killed distance. Don’t just look in your local area to hire the best of the best.

“If you are considering to offshore the work from other locations or countries then first you should have your own well qualified COE team which can evaluate the work of offshore. ( I have seen project failing due to lack of an internal COE team and monopoly of offshore team members.”

Praven Kumar, Senior RPA and Machine Learning Consultant

“Off shoring is an excellent opportunity for an organisation share workloads to another country and to be more diversified and inclusive. It comes with a greater responsibility to understand the culture differences and integrate these differences within its workforces. To ensure that quality and customer service levels are maintained to its highest standards. Offshore should be implemented with following strategy.”

May Prajapati – Actuarial Analyst

“The key to utilising off shore/ near shore developers is to make sure your infrastructure is robust enough to be accessible by multiple users. If your organisation uses Citrix, make sure your organisations automation software works with it. Citrix can present many challenges.

“Information security, risk, compliance, IT, and audit teams should be engaged as early on in the process as possible. Even with those teams involved access can take weeks if not months, to obtain. “

Graham Lee, Automation Yoda

What other ways are there to cut the cost of an automation program?

#intelligentautomation #bots #rpaworks #digitaltransformation#roboticprocessautomation #rpa #cognitiveautomation #digitaldisruption#digitalworkforce #processautomation #digitalfuture #digitalstrategy

Other articles: If you like this article then you may find these articles of use too.

1.    How to build a business case for Intelligent Automation and Robotic Process Automation

2.    30 ways to build a pipeline of processes suitable for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Automation (IA)

3.    8 questions to ask to ensure you select the ‘right’ processes to automate using RPA | IA.

4.    14 rules for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Automation (AI) success

5.    The A-Z of Robotic Process Automation, Intelligent Automation and Digital Transformation

6.    The biggest lie told to RPA customers – 50 robots equals success

7.    40 essential selection criteria to choose an RPA platform

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Free to reuse: We are a community of RPA and Intelligent Automation experts with years of real world experience. We have stories to tell and the scars to show for it. We share our collective wisdom for free to simply provide as much value as we can to you. Therefore, if you want to post this article on your LinkedIn page then please feel free to do so. The more information we share within the RPA community the more likely businesses are to succeed with this excellent technology.

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Note: The views expressed above are our views and not those of my employer or the employers of the contributing experts.

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