Repetitive, technical processes are present in every organization in the world. They ensure the minutiae of everyday work are completed: bills are sent, invoices are paid, and order forms are handled. Necessary as they are, these processes consume resources that could be repurposed for more meaningful tasks, such as working directly with customers. That’s where robotic process automation (RPA) can help: RPA frees staff to concentrate on adding value to the business.
When an association that helps build retirement security for public sector employees found itself struggling to meet new member demands without adding costs, decision-makers knew they needed outside expertise to help them automate more of their existing processes and free up time for staff to concentrate on higher value activities. With a handful of RPA scenarios already in development and a backlog of ideas for future automation, they lacked the know-how to realize the full power of the intelligence that automation can bring. They wanted the benefits of an enterprise implementation of RPA, and they hired Celerity to help:
- Analyze and build the solutions
- Project manage the RPA lifecycle
- Mentor their internal team
- Build a stronger, more intelligent automation capability in the organization
- Agile Development
- Operational excellence
- Process optimization
- Strategy planning + execution
A faster, more disciplined approach to enabling enterprise automation
The association presented a handful of challenges to our automation experts. Decision-makers wanted guidance on:
- Identifying what processes to automate
- Preparing the processes for automation
- Managing change throughout the initiative
- Developing and testing the automation code and bots
- Establishing reusable methodologies to deliver higher quality capabilities more quickly
Celerity set up an intake method to evaluate potential opportunities and automation candidates. We provided the client with a modeling tool that could quickly identify potential savings opportunities and automation characteristics to deliver a scoring of processes. This was vital in helping decision-makers evolve their thinking about which opportunities to pursue while still focusing on ROI. Often, organizations attempt to automate processes that have little or no documentation or preparation, leading to messy implementations. So, in addition to determining what to automate, Celerity helped the association understand how to prepare processes for intelligent automation. We also partnered with Automation Anywhere® to deliver the expertise necessary to quickly produce results.
Through our Agile delivery practice, we helped the client pivot to an iterative delivery model to help speed time to market by reducing the cycles between requirements and code demonstration. We worked in two-week sprints to reduce automation launch timelines, enabling business leaders to see results faster and be more engaged in the process.
Proving that RPA could become an integrated part of the business moving forward was one of the association’s overarching objectives. So, positioning the team for rapid, successful RPA development in the future was key. We accomplished this by launching a new automation center of excellence.
Automation center of excellence (COE): essential to long-term RPA success
To help our client continue the work we started and solve future challenges as they arise, we established an automation center of excellence to govern RPA operations and incorporate automation into the corporate strategy. The COE consists of 6-8 internal team members from across a range of disciplines who incorporate bot creation into their business on an ongoing basis. The COE determines which projects to prioritize, organizes the development process, establishes governance, ensures consistency, and oversees results.
Enterprise automation enables growth
The new automated processes and automation center of excellence resulted in less manual effort and far fewer data errors. The implementation of RPA has not only saved the client money, improved inefficient processes, removed tedious hours of manual entry and support, and reduced errors within their data, it has also given staff the time to focus on customer satisfaction and growing the organization without adding cost. Now the association has the organizational and development capability to not just utilize automation software, but also make it a critical part of their ability to meet new and evolving business demands.
A waterfall approach to development that slowed bot production
An informal approach to RPA
Inefficient, repetitive processes that impacted morale and required overtime to complete
Processes that were no longer being performed due to lack of resources
An Agile project management structure, with a 300% increase in production-ready bots
A cross-functional automation COE, governing a formalized, strategic RPA initiative
Automated processes minimized overtime by 80%, improving morale
Process automation creating a labor cost savings of at least one FTE/year by eliminating manual data entry