Choose from 50 Automation Metrics That Will Survive the Night Before – Introduction

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Choose from 50 Automation Metrics That Will Survive the Night Before – Introduction


50 First Dates is based on a real-life love story. Playboy veterinarian Henry sets his heart on romancing Lucy, but she has short-term memory loss; she can’t remember anything that happened the day before. So every morning, Henry has to woo her again. Lucy’s friends and family are very protective, and Henry must convince them that he’s in it for love. 

This is often the case in Automation programs. Sometimes the memory of why firms embarked on an automation program, to what is the true value of automation, gets blurred. Quite often programs need to start again.

What’s changed since analysts and vendors alike extolled the virtues of FTE headcount reduction?

Building, and then scaling, an RPA | IA programs takes more than vendor promises and good luck. Often even more amorphous and abstract than luck, is how to measure automation value.

FTE impact, once the darling of RPA vendors and analysts alike, has taken a back seat as firms look to justify their automation programs that did not deliver the FTE savings they themselves or their vendor promised. The analyst community has followed suit in declaring that FTE reduction is not the be all metric for RPA. 

“Starting with the most (in)famous ones – FTE impact…robo capacity delivered in hours, employee engagement score, reduction in process lead time and/or throughout time, change in error rate, risk reduction % while implementing solutions for regulatory processes, etc. are all now in vogue”


Following ‘FTE savings’ we now see the rise of what Shail Khiyara calls derivative metrics (i.e. metrics that derive value from various non-sequential perceived events that somehow tie back to automation).

For example, we increased revenue by X, because it was tied to customer satisfaction, which was tied to more empathy delivered on a call, which was tied to free time for the customer service person, which was tied to a few bots that fetched information for the CS individual – hence X bot deployment equals revenue increase of X.

The problem, however, is these metrics aren’t always effective in measuring the success of a RPA program. There are great many ways to measure an automation program. For example, customer satisfaction (CX), employee engagement (EX), cost avoidance, ROI, hours saved and given back to business, E&O risk reduction percentage and a whole lot of other metrics have risen to the fore.

Yet such metrics can be hard to quantify and therefore are hard to track. But whilst hard to quantify this does not make them less worthwhile in their ambition to aid the workforce of tomorrow. For some organizations, there are intangible metrics that are equally, if not more, important to them than financial and operational parameters.

“New career paths and cost avoidance to name a few (measurable) ones. A few benefits that are harder to measure but equally important are reduced stress, access to better data and reduced risk.”

Anna Lagerhed, RPA Lead, Digital Business Development

Whilst organizations can leverage automation to deliver a range of benefits they must remember to build a business case that stands up to scrutiny.

Figure 2: Template to select the right process to automation (Ron Lozinsky)

Quite often, more than one benefit can be derived from an automation program at one time (e.g. reduced cycle time can simultaneously improve both customer (CX) and employee (EX) experience). 

Figure 1: A balance score card of automation success metrics.

But one thing is certain. Regardless of what metric is used, whatever gets measured gets managed.

This series looks at 50 plus metrics used by real work automation practitioners including: financial; business, process and digital worker; control room, operation and management metric; as well as workforce, IT and productivity metrics before concluding with the top metrics all organizations should use to drive a successful automation program.


There are a great many measures that organizations might use but they can usually be bucked under a range of titles including; financial, business, operational, control room, customer, people and process.

Whether the purpose of an automation program is reducing costs or enhancing customer experience or something else the roots of a firms automation program must lay in the strategic direction of the firm.

We must remember that different organisations have different objectives. Therefore, firms need to measure KPIs that deliver against the business outcomes they want to achieve. 

About the authors:

Kieran Gilmurray

Kieran is recognised as an digital transformation, intelligent automation, data analytics and robotic process automation industry leader.

He writes and talks extensively about better ways for businesses to use digital and intelligent automation technologies to drive business performance. Follow Kieran on LinkedIn, join him monthly on LinkedIn Live or connect with him on Twitter.

Shail is recognized as a thought leader, advisor and investor in RPA & Intelligent Automation. He writes extensively about digital transformation & automation and has served as a CMO & Chief Customer Officer of three leading automation firms, helping shape this industry. Shail founded & runs VOCAL (Voice of the Customer in the Automation Landscape) an independent, global automation customers only council, comprised of over 50 global brands. Follow Shail on LinkedIn or connect on Twitter.

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

  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. If your RPA program is not making money then it has failed.
  4. 40 Essential Selection Criteria to Choose an RPA Platform – 5 part series
  5. The A-Z of Robotic Process Automation, Intelligent Automation and Digital Transformation

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Free to reuse: We are a community of RPA, digital analytics, digital transformation 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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