Business Process Automation is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle during a large digital transformation exercise in an organization. Not only does it provide a cost advantage by reducing operational costs, it also improves the execution capability of the organization. In this context, execution can mean executing a purchase order without errors, executing a customer contract on time, executing the end-to-end hiring program for the Human Resources team and so on.
Automating the most important executions gives the organization the crucial capability to focus on strategic decisions rather than stressing about day-to-day work procedures.
An example to illustrate the above:
Multiple automation projects have gone haywire just because the understanding of the underlying process was missing.
There are two main approaches to model a process in the right way:
Do not think of the process as static. Instead, think of them as more dynamic living beings with multiple avatars of it running simultaneously
Your model should be meaningful and answer the critical question: What are we trying to achieve with this process?
There is a high probability some business unit has already started their automation journey and can yield some of the most important reusable artefacts and learnings, such as process mapping artefacts, process architecture methodology, templates, choice of toolset, stakeholder assessment, and mistakes along the way.
Identify relevant stakeholders for your process automation project early in the cycle. Activities such as funding the project, getting time and resources, and buying automation software, at every step you need to engage relevant stakeholders. Some of these stakeholders are:
It is essential to identify roles and responsibilities for your automation project. The project's success will eventually be determined by the people executing the project. Some of these roles are:
Subject Matter Expert (SME): SMEs know the business area well and will lend their expertise in identifying the base line
Process Owner: They know the process like the back of their hand as they are involved in the day-to-day operations and have information on all the possible exceptions, workarounds, and problem areas in the process.
Business Analyst: A business analyst works very closely with the process owner and developers to document and map business processes and identify exceptions, frequency, and problem areas of the process.
Solution Consultant/Automation Specialist: They help chart the end-to-end process automation strategy. They also act as a sounding board to identify whether a solution is feasible or not.
To tackle your automation project, you will require toolsets at every stage of the project. These stages typically are process mapping, building automation, and monitoring the process post-automation.
Identifying the correct stage of your business process automation maturity is relevant to choosing the correct toolset.
Do not fall into the trap of short-term, quick-win products: remember that business process automation requires patience and hence it is important to adopt a sustainable approach rather than a short-term approach.
Start small: Don't invest all your budget for the initial stage of the project, instead go incrementally and steadily. This way, if you find the tools don't meet your needs, you'll still have options, especially if you select tools that don't lock you in with a vendor.
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