Katie Gibbs

Katie Gibbs

I’ve seen a lot of companies take a top-down approach to automation, and the result tends to be that they automate a process that didn’t actually take much time or effort to complete in the first place.

Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) is a hot topic at the moment. For a lot of people IPA is the combination of Robotic Process Automation technology with Machine Learning in order to go further than “if-this-then-that” automated processes.

However, you don’t always need a Robotic Process Automation licence to utilise Intelligent Process Automation. IPA should be about optimising your processes to augment your workforce – you don’t necessarily need to sign up to a lengthy and costly licence. Instead, we combine our years of experience in process improvement and re-engineering with Machine Learning (although only when it will add value) to optimise workflows.

If you haven’t yet signed on the dotted line for an RPA license, then I hope to give you pause for thought. Using an out-the-box technology and applying it to numerous, varied processes may not always be the optimal approach. What’s more, the RoI on RPA implementations often goes beyond optimising headcount.  Most processes will need some level of human intervention to deliver optimal value. For example, you may get halfway through an implementation before the end-to-end process cannot be automated. In this scenario, jeopardising the intended RoI.

Instead of focusing on reducing headcount, you should explore how you can make the most of employee process knowledge to identify key pain points. We do this by engaging end-users from day one to understand how IPA can improve their daily tasks. This focuses your workforce on them being more efficient and delivering optimal value. Not only does this allow us to address the right processes, but it also enables us to engage with the people running these processes. We keep them involved throughout the automation journey so that they can help us design and iteratively deliver improved processes.

I’ve seen a lot of companies take a top-down approach to automation. The result tends to be that they automate a process that didn’t actually take much time or effort to complete. Not only is this a waste of time and effort, but it also alienates the workforce. It sends a clear message to your teams that automation is going to be used whether they like it or not, and is not open to negotiation. Imagine how much more powerful the message is when you’re working with the end users to design automation that will make it easier and less stressful to do their jobs.

You will only derive value from deploying new technologies when they are combined with the business knowledge of your employees. The short-term decrease in costs that you may achieve are not worth the toxic culture that you will risk creating. Companies should be exploring how they can empower their human workforce with technology. If you work with automation, then consider how it impacts your Employee Value Proposition. IPA presents a great opportunity to get your workforce involved, engaged and upskilled in new technologies.

We are different to other consultancies. We focus on what’s best for you and your employees, so you won’t see us working in isolation so that you become reliant on us. Instead, we work collaboratively with organisations to engage end users from the very beginning to make the most of their invaluable insights and, as we develop new and improved processes, we upskill them in the approach we take and the technologies used so that they learn new skills and ways of working. If you would like some independent, agnostic advice on automation, or would like to build out your own automation capability that won’t be reliant on a third party, then please get in touch.