Mikko Mattinen // March 21 2019

RPA checklist

If you haven’t read the first post on RPA by Mikko Mattinen, please read it here.

All organisations have structured data and off-the-shelf business systems. This is an ideal situation for the usage of Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Businesses have long been looking for new ways of making sure they are efficient and productive. Mostly it has meant less people and more IT-systems. Typically the idea has also been that people should work harder.

Would it be fair to say to that it is time that the machines start working smarter? Yes, it’s definitely the time to make most of your business IT. Let’s start by finding business operations or workflows that have a series of tasks that can be automated. A good starting point is a task that handles structured data and normal business IT-systems.

Can you imagine a position within your organisation where a task includes reviewing, calculating and validating? Many financial, sales, administrative or even supervising roles have these tasks built within. Start by inviting people invcharge of these tasks to talk with you about their daily operations. If you don’t have time to do that you can hire a competent consultant. Then let your people pinpoint areas or workflows that they see suitable for automation. Don’t worry if the tasks are small. Think this as a way to pilot RPA.

Imagine how you would do a RPA pilot for the sales meeting. Let’s start by defining what is the true meaning of a sales meeting? I would say that a sales meeting is held, because we want people energize people and find new ways to achieve common goals. In the beginning of the week you might be going through the sales targets for coming weeks. In the midst of the week you might be talking about resources. Later in the week you might share results. In order to get there you have to analyse your current position, customers and business results. Then you need your CRM. Excel and most probably Powerpoint or Keynote.

Let’s start hacking you sales meeting. Here is a checklist of how to find and validate a suitable task for RPA:

The Task

– Identify a task that has repeatable activities for example a sales meeting in Monday.
– Main resourcing for the task is typically a person.
– Understand the workflow and divide it into sub-activities such opening a system and extracting data from it.

The Action

– Build a simple flow diagram of the task starting from the data coming from a system to an application and the onwards to presentable format.
(For example a weekly sales report.)

The Output
– Make a test case for example with UiPath. Start by training UiPath how to extract data from Salesforce, the feeding the data into Excel and eventually transfer the data into Powerpoint. Tadaa…. Now you have a sales report for the Monday morning sales meeting.

The Analysis
– Calculate the time a person would do the sales report vs. UiPath does it
– If the RPA-system would make the same repeatable task in less than the time a person – you are good to go.

I used to work in Finnish Tax Administration and I personally initiated an RPA test while there. The test case was a monthly analysis of collection of different taxes. The analyst would use 1,5 working day to retrieve the data, analysing and making the results into presentable format. With the help of RPA we could get the same work done in 58 minutes. Quite a time saver, right?

RPA is an ideal way on re-inventing ways you do your business. Let machines work harder and let people work smarter.

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