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Will your move to automation really save you time and money?

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Automation has become a buzzword over the last few years with every industry from manufacturing to financial services hailing it as the answer to deliver goods and services more efficiently in factories and offices around the world.

Thailand’s government has rightly seen the potential in enabling businesses to fully embrace Thailand 4.0 and offer up to a 200% tax deduction when investing in automated systems.

It sounds like it should be all systems go, right? It should be, but according to results from a recent ABeam Consulting survey among 55 Asian Multinational companies, over 42% report that implementation of Robotics Process Automation projects does not meet their expectations. This is clearly a problem, but what can be done?

It’s important that business leaders think carefully about how they implement automation to ensure they reap the maximum reward. Are you selecting the right processes to automate? Will your transformation just automate inefficient tasks or are you taking the time to look at how you can improve processes before automation? And are you doing too much, or too little, automation implementation?

These are a few of the common issues our teams at ABeam Consulting come across when working with clients to implement Robotics Process Automation (RPA), a popular solution that can save time and reduce costs. But only when done with careful thought and planning.

We advise a more holistic approach to rethinking more beneficial business transformation, which can be done by going through Business Process Reengineering (BPR) to help you fully understand how it will affect how your business operates.

To ensure the success of RPA implementations, we encourage companies to take 4 steps before RPA and other automation implementations:

  • Identify Improvement Points and Assess Workload to select the right processes

The first step is to analyze your current business processes to identify potential opportunities for digital transformation through Business Process Reengineering (BPR), or other improvement areas by considering all potential technologies. In essence, this means visualising where improvements can be made, and how much workload will be reduced. Consider different factors such as Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) to determine your priorities, and typically the most work-intensive processes become your focus for change. This process assessment activity provides management with a clear overall process picture and facilitates the identification of areas for opportunity of BPR and/or RPA.

  • Business Process Reengineering (BPR); Design your solution not only by RPA

Business process reengineering helps identify, visualise, and analyze any potential issues within your selected processes, and this review informs BPR teams when they are designing solutions for each issue. The solutions will not be limited to RPA or other technologies but include any process simplifications and/or standardizations which can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your operations, including resource optimization. Going through a detailed BPR can reduce complexity and redundancy, which in turn can result in a lower cost of implementation.

  • Introduce RPA Pilot to ensure benefit and effects

In parallel to your BPR, set up an RPA pilot to ensure that your solution and infrastructure are working as expected.  The processes identified during step one can be developed and tested by users for feedback and refinement, while this is also an opportunity to discuss the benefits and effects of RPA with all stakeholders to get buy-in and acceptance.

  • Calculate effects and formulate transition plan                      

After reviewing test results, you should be able to clearly see the benefits and effects of automation, and even calculate a projected Return on Investment (ROI) to determine if you will generate real value from the implementation. At this stage you may even have identified additional or alternative areas that need investment. You should now be able to create a Migration Plan that will help you move ahead with your implementation in the most efficient and effective way, ensuring your organisation reaps the full rewards of robotics process automation.

Digital transformation through RPA can speed up processes and free up resources to do other more value-added tasks, but it is important to target the most suitable processes to automate to ensure they will improve efficiency and create a significant benefit multiplier, rather than focusing on the number of automated processes themselves. It’s quality over quantity.

Companies are advised to work with business or digital transformation experts with an integrated BPR and RPA service, including detailed business process assessments and reengineering for automation, a full RPA implementation, and eventually on-going maintenance to ensure that the entire enterprise transformation journey achieves optimal results and deliver the value automation promises.

For the full version of the whitepaper on BPR’s Role in Maximizing RPA Benefits: https://www.abeam.com/th/en/topics/insights/rpa_benefits

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