A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Process Automation Program

March 31, 2023

by: John Duffy, Chief Technologist, CPP Associates

You may have heard that robotic process automation is a good thing. Vendors share success stories boasting huge dollar savings and impressive employee productivity gains. You decide it’s worth exploring for your organization. But how do you actually get started?  And how can you increase your chances of success with a process automation program?

Based on our extensive experience in setting up successful process automation programs, here are some considerations we’d like to share:

  • When presenting to management, set expectations properly.
    • Share the “crawl/walk/trot/run” approach.
    • Explain how implementing process automation can help the company become more efficient, enhance customer/employee satisfaction, and improve standardization, accuracy, speed, and quality.
    • Perhaps less quantifiable but equally impactful for your business, point out that your employees will spend much more of their day on value-add functions instead of non-value-add tasks. You will get more value from each employee whose tasks are at least partially automated. And that value extends for the life of the task, which may be for many years.
  • You will need a vendor/partner (to start), but you will also be developing inhouse knowledge and skills at the same time. A good partner can help you become efficient and effective much more quickly than if you tried to do everything on your own. Once you start on the automation path, it is “automation forever.”  There is more involved than “have a developer build a bot.”
  • The first year is about proving that automation works, and having a deeper understanding of its business benefits, both short-term and long-term.
  • Start small. This is REALLY important.  Choosing a starter process and being successful with it are important for program and personal success.  There are enough benefits from automation that you can actually afford to be conservative here. Your third-party vendor/partner can build the first few bots (small and/or medium size, and with low complexity) which prove the value proposition, and help your team gain experience and understanding.
  • After your initial automation effort, you will need to establish an Automation Center of Excellence (COE) in order to ensure sustained and progressive success. According to our automation partner, Automation Anywhere, an Automation COE “…is a competency or capability center run by a group of experts in the CoE’s focus area…built around critical processes, technologies, or applications to help the company adopt a particular process and eventually become more efficient.” Essentially, it is a team of internal experts that provides best practices, leadership, research, analytics, training, and/or support for the program. (Learn more in this Automation Anywhere blog post.)

By Year Two, you may decide to establish specific teams for the four core areas of process automation.

    • Process Identification Team: a team for identifying processes for potential automation;
    • Process Impact /Assessment Team: responsible for measuring and assessing the financial and non-financial impact of the automation program;
    • Process Automation Development Team: building new processes and enhancing previously developed automations; and
    • Bot Life Cycle Maintenance and Support: to manage fixes and updates in response to internet changes, system/application upgrades, etc., as well as to implement functional enhancements.

Consider CPP as Your Automation Vendor/Partner

Our strong relationship and track record with Automation Anywhere allows us to bring a wide range of knowledge and experience to helping clients develop a solid and sustainable process automation program. We pride ourselves in being straight-forward, collaborative, and focused on high impact opportunities as you begin to explore the value that process automation can bring to your organization. Reach out today to begin a high-level discussion with the automation experts at CPP Associates.