June 14, 2021
Maybe you experienced it yourself: after a long flight (do you remember those days) you left the plane and walked through the airbridge. You saw some commotion in front of you. Customs officers are walking upstream. You see them coming in your direction. And then you see what the commotion is all about: they brought their sniffer dog. A well-trained eager looking animal sniffing every passenger for traces of a scent he is trained to look for. These days they can even detect Covid-19.
A dog’s skill to smell is truly amazing. Their wet nose combines a system for breathing and smelling with an olfactory region that can detect up to 130 square centimeters (our olfactory region is approximately 5 square centimeters). This means they can smell all nuances and elements in a scent. That’s what you call a sophisticated detection system. Wouldn’t it be great to have such a detection system to find RPA potential?
Most RPA stories start with a small initiative, a Proof of Concept or a Proof of Value. And that is often successful. But how do you scale? To find your RPA potential like a Customs K9 you need to train your RPA nose.
It all starts with “Why”.. What is the purpose of your Automation endeavors? Increase productivity? Improve quality? Experiment with new technology? Improve employee experience? Optimize costs? Grow NPS scores? They all smell a bit different and maybe you want to combine them. But it’s an important starting point.
RPA potential can be found in several ways. Let’s name a few.
This technology provides a sophisticated digital sniffer. When you have well arranged systems that log and document the steps in a process or a complete value stream, it will reveal bottlenecks in the process that are good candidates for investigation. Like a Customs Officer asking someone to step out of the queue to check if their detection was accurate. An investigation of processes like this is a very structured and automated way to streamline your processes. RPA could be the solution to do just that.
A puppy will not automatically sit down when it picks up a smell of something suspicious. It needs training and rewards. Setting up a program to educate employees to spot RPA potential is key in finding cases that are fit for RPA. In one company, I organized a guided e-learning training. It’s purpose was to upskill people with RPA knowledge. At the end of the e- learning they were invited to fill out the Pitch-to-a-Pro canvas. During their training the students started to smell RPA opportunities in their own departments and pitched those ideas to the RPA developers in my team. This resulted in awesome cases generating extra revenue and saving time.
I once was inspired by a peer who was looking for potential in his company. He said: if you see desks with two or more screens it might smell like RPA could help out there, especially if the screens are tilted in portrait mode. Just look around, talk with people, use your knowledge of the company. As UiPath states: if you hate it, automate it.
Some call it RPA X-Ray, others RPA Quick scan, bottom line is the same: You need some RPA sniffing “top dogs” to assist you. Companies like Ciphix have a wealth of experience finding RPA potential. They have a nose for it, so to speak. In a well organized (series of) workshop(s) you will have your own company specific RPA back-log ready. In the blink of an eye. Including insights in the value it will bring to your company.
Like the Customs officer and his canine, you need to move upstream. You might experience some resistance, but it’s worth your while. Aiming for your goal: Taking the robot out of the human, creating a well developed digital workforce. Improve the employee experience, the customer experience and the financial bottom line, by finding the right processes to apply RPA.
Start barking up the RPA potential tree!
Column by Asher Lake