If it breaks, don’t automate it

Illustration of the importance of identifying and addressing underlying problems before automating processes to ensure maximum efficiency and cost savings

It’s an all too common misconception that automation can offer a quick-fix solution to broken or bad processes. While Robotic Process Automation (RPA) does allow you to automate things quickly, if a process isn’t functioning well to begin with, then it’s not going to function well when it’s automated.

Automation is all about streamlining repetitive, tedious tasks, and freeing up human employees to handle the exceptions and focus on more interesting, value add tasks. So, if you have a limited amount of time and resources to create the automation, how do you use them wisely?

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

At the initial planning stage, you need to consider and plan out how many environments are connected to the processes that you want to automate. From there, you can progress to the testing, and eventually live stages.

Automating bad processes effectively means that you’re automating failure demands. A major insurer, for example, ended up automating emails back to their customers explaining that they were unable to deliver the proposed service on-time.

The opportunities for automation are plentiful – it can be applied to a variety of processes, across departments, from HR and Customer Service to Finance and Operations.

In theory, implementing automation shouldn’t mean that you need to upgrade and optimise your existing IT infrastructure. What it does mean, however, is that your processes need to be in good working order before you begin to automate.

Once the original process is working effectively, there should be no extra spend required to get your IT infrastructure automation-ready, as robotic process automation is IT system and process agnostic. Automation also works through any front end GUI, and is non-invasive.

Extending a helping hand

Automating system updates early in the process will ensure that you are more likely to deliver services on time. Incorporating Robotic Service Orchestration (RSO) into your programme can help you to get the most out of your RPA. RSO helps to achieve best practice automation by identifying the value you’ll get from automation, and identifying failure demand, allowing you to fix broken processes before automating them.

Automation is one of the many tools that organisations can utilise in the journey towards the digital workplace. Recognising that automating broken processes will not resolve the problem, understanding the gap that automation is being used to plug and the drivers for it will alleviate operational stress later on the journey.

Zell is a Head of Content with over a decade of experience in copywriting, brand storytelling, PR and SEO. She has worked both agency side and in-house for brands ranging from speciality coffee to cosmetics. In her current role at Enate, Zell is responsible for distilling complex tech concepts into language users understand and resonate with, writing AI and orchestration content and generally being the go-to person for anything involving copy.
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Zell Dello Ioio