Thinking about jumping on the automation bandwagon? Not so fast!
So you’re thinking about introducing elements of automation into your organisation, and why not? Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is all over my LinkedIn feed at the moment, clients are asking about it, vendors are evangelising it and there is rightly a lot of interest. Done correctly, RPA can lead to excellent efficiency savings. But there are pitfalls so I advise you to proceed with interest, but a note of caution.
There are 3 common mistakes companies typically make when introducing automation:
- Automating work that delivers no value to anyone
- Automating work when the process has not been optimized
- Automating work with a high degree of variation
Before you consider automating anything, you need to have a solid understanding that what you are proposing to automate actually delivers value. It sounds obvious, but very few companies actually assess accurately whether the work they are doing brings value to one or all of the following 3 groups:
- Their customers
- Their organisation
- Their staff
If you’re not delivering value to your customers, or increasing the capability of your organisation, or reducing the burden on your staff, why on earth are you even doing this work in the first place? Find the source, the conditions that trigger this work, and then remove it. If you try to automate this type of work all you will end up with is what my esteemed friend Stephen Parry calls “Neater, cheaper, faster waste”
Once you’ve validated that the work does deliver value, then optimise it. Reduce the complexity of the process required to deliver it as much as you can, without reducing the value. In order to do this, you’ll need to involve the group that receives the output of the work, ensuring that they are the ones that determine when the value is being reduced, not you.
Once you’ve optimised the work, measure the output and the variation in output. You want to automate something that is predictable, otherwise you risk faster, cheaper, random outcomes. So, measure the output over time, remove the causes of variation and when you are at a level of predictability that satisfies the receiver of the output, THEN, consider automation.
It sounds like a lot of effort right? Well, it can be, but done correctly you’ll reap the rewards. Done badly and you’re left wondering what all the fuss about RPA is all about when “it doesn’t work in our organisation”.
So, before you consider introducing automation into your organisation, ask yourself if you know what value is in the mind of your customers. And how do know that you know?
If you’d like to know more about RPA, specifically in Insurance, download our Guide by filling out the form below.