A company that wants to deepen its digital transformation and take advantage of the benefits brought by new technologies must know how to automate business processes. Thanks to the advances we are experiencing in recent times, automation is becoming a key tool for increasing productivity and reducing costs.
Clear benefits of automation
To begin with, we must keep in mind that when we talk here about how to automate business processes we are referring to software automation.
The essence of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is about how software robots are able to mimic the actions that a person performs at his or her workstation.
Actions performed in front of a computer screen that can be executed by software in an identical way. This is achieved as long as the tasks to be emulated are repetitive, structured and with clearly documented exceptions.
In the cases described above, the time freed up by the people who are released from their tasks by the robots can be used for other tasks. And that is where the greatest benefit of all comes in: productivity soars with the same number of employees on staff. But it doesn’t stop there. The satisfaction of staff, customers and management also increases as long as a robot can operate uninterruptedly all day, every day. On top of that, the error rate drops significantly, leading to a higher quality of service.
The return on investment is also achieved in record time (it is one of the quickest investments to recover when facing an improvement in the company) and its development can be ready in a few weeks.
As if all this were not enough, the benefits obtained by automating are achieved without the need to modify processes. Nor is it necessary to change the programs that are executed. In fact, the entire process does not require any adaptation of the working environment.
Steps to automate business processes
The key question about how to automate business processes starts with an obvious step: analyze existing processes.
Through an internal investigation in the company, always accompanied by the robotization experts of the developing company, we start by analyzing the different existing processes. From the list of those that can be automated, a selection is made according to criteria such as ease of implementation, the steps involved, the screens used, the criticality of their execution… This results in a list of potential processes on which work can begin.
Once the process on which the development is going to start has been defined, it is time to analyze its operation in detail. For this purpose, the analysis team will develop a document (PDD) that will guide the developers’ steps. In this document, in addition to how the process is currently carried out (As-Is model) and how it should be developed once automated (To-Be model), the expected inputs and outputs, the applications used, the exceptions likely to appear (as well as their treatment), the execution schedule… are indicated. With all that information, developers can understand how to automate business processes and get to work on their development, a period that will take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
No software or hardware modification is required to automate with RPA.
Time to ensure that the process works
Once the development is done, it is time to check that everything works correctly. To do this, it is essential to develop a series of user acceptance tests (or UAT’s).
These tests will consider both the case in which everything goes well (the so-called happy path), as well as those in which something may go wrong (for example, a failed login). Thanks to these tests, the people responsible for the process ensure that everything is working properly. In the event that this does not occur, these tests will be used by the development team to make the necessary adjustments or corrections to fix the bugs.
All these tests are still performed in a development environment to ensure that no real processes are affected. Until everything is audited and confirmed it is not moved to production.
Once the robot development has been tested and validated, it is moved to production. To ensure that also in this environment everything works as it should, the analysis and development teams will remain attentive to any possible errors that may arise. In the event of such an incident, prompt action will be taken to ensure the integrity of the process and its proper functioning.
With this implementation, the last step on how to automate business processes is completed and the procedure can be started with the next identified process. Thanks to continuous improvement and the ability to automate increasingly complex processes, the company’s efficiency can continue to increase while advancing its digital transformation strategy. A strategy that you can now initiate more easily thanks to the proposals of Kit Digital from which companies can benefit.