How Automating New Processes Can Exponentially Impact ROI

November 17, 2022

Every company seems to be undergoing a transformation, whether strategically planned or forced by the recent global pandemic. To ensure the creation of new, manual process debt, companies need to operate with an “automation first” mindset and ask, “If we need to develop a new process, can we automate it from the start?” While not the prevailing thought in the industry, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) should be considered for processes that don’t currently exist, solidifying the value of RPA with a measurable ROI.

Add Future Processes to the Automation Pipeline

Corporate decision-makers rarely think to use “digital labor” exclusively for new processes when prioritizing their automation candidates. However, the lack of this mindset leads to the creation of new manual and repetitive processes that will end up being automation candidates in the future. With an “automation first” mindset, companies can avoid the time-consuming process of creating, identifying and automating a manual process that was intended for humans.

Automating new processes out of the gate will send a strong message to employees about the organization’s commitment to corporate efficiency and automation programs today and in the future. Having an automation-first mindset has a multiplier effect on cost savings; not only does it avoid the higher cost of human labor and human error, it avoids the cost to train employees on the new process, and the cost of automating that process in the future.

What does this look like in terms of ROI?

  1. Hours saved from the manual work to the automation with bots. In one case, we saw an 11-day reduction in producing invoices (13 to 2 days.)
  1. Redeployment of workers to more valuable work. For example, we have seen four full-time employees (FTE) redeployed to high-touch customer tasks and complex account reconciliation.
  1. Hours save on process training. We have seen this range from a few days to over a week.
  1. The efficiency gained with automation. We have seen invoice accuracy go from 89 percent to 99 percent, providing an 11 percent reduction in re-work.

These are all notable outcomes, but if you skip the manual process step entirely and plan for the automation first, you can save even more time.

Automation First Mindset

There are benefits when the process already exists, and the staff has experience with its operational success and challenges. However, their absence should not end the conversation about potential automation. These benefits can include the following:

  • The process owner or subject matter experts (SME) will know from experience – in detail – what works and what does not in an existing process. SMEs are also better able to identify upfront the occasional exceptions that need to be addressed in automation design, development and testing.
  • Maintain the efficiency mandate. Avoid the creation of new manual processes and the addition of required associated overhead (i.e. retraining of existing staff, new hiring, new infrastructure, etc.) that will need to be automated/eliminated in the future.
  • Creativity will be enhanced. Without an existing process flow to influence the future design, the business analyst and SME are free to craft the solution based on how the automated process should work. This will be transformative because the solution will be pure versus having to automate legacy “Band-Aids.”
  • Agile-like project methodology is ideal. Teams would implement a minimal viable product first, with incremental improvements and changes based on the growing experience of running the automation

It is easy to see that once an organization subscribes to an automation first mindset, the benefits of RPA will be exponentially greater than in one that doesn’t, and the results will be transformative.

Logistics: Three Points to Consider in Support of Automation First Mindset

The success in achieving an automation-first mindset in an organization needs to be supported at all levels. The deployment of RPA cannot be done in a vacuum, it needs to be planned and monitored, with outcomes shared throughout the organization. Achieving a significant ROI in one area should be used to support the automation strategy and leverage the value for other areas to participate. Note the following three key points to consider for pre, post and ongoing success.

  1. STRATEGY – Start with a task or two as a proof of concept, so you can show measurable results. With the data in hand, it is easier to get senior management to buy into a long-term, automation-first strategy.
  2. OWNERSHIP – Once the strategy is in place from the corporate staff, and the automation mindset is governing the automation plan, organizations still need to have process owners. To ‘set it and forget it’ will result in a lack of awareness of what the bots do and how they connect to other enterprise processes. SMEs contribute to the ideal design and will need to own the process after it is created. This will enable the organization to keep track of who will be impacted by the new process and connect to owners of similar processes and systems.
  3. COMMUNICATION – Evangelizing the use and success of RPA within the organization will help set the stage for interest and departmental buy-in. Selling value to stakeholders

requires outreach to departmental leadership to find out what new processes are being created. Have digital labor visioning sessions to get people thinking outside the box

For processes automated today – feature that success story.

We have seen the value of transforming the manual work with automation and leveraging the bots for savings and efficiency that impact ROI.  But, to be proactive and plan for an automation culture, the value can be realized much more quickly.

When you need help, let us know. Konica Minolta’s IIM team not only provides RPA services, but our company uses RPA, too. Learn more online.

Josh Reese
Vice President, Intelligent Information Management Sales

Josh Reese is the Vice President of Intelligent Information Management Sales for Konica Minolta. A sales executive with over 17 years of experience, Josh leads customers through their digital transformation journey by focusing on business process automation. He is responsible for leading a team dedicated to growing revenue while ensuring customers achieve their desired outcomes with Konica Minolta products and services. Josh joined Konica Minolta in 2019 after spending 13 years at Hyland, where he held pivotal roles in sales, sales management and global alliances. He holds a BBA degree from Kent State University and resides in Northeast Ohio with his wife, Lisa, and their two kids. When not working, Josh enjoys coaching youth sports and keeping up with his two boys.