When setting up and bedding in an automation program, asking the business areas you’re serving for ideas as to what to automate can seem like a really good idea.

The conversation will likely create some goodwill, spread the word about automation, and, most importantly, isn’t perceived as threatening to your colleagues in other teams. You can do some basic education around the capabilities of intelligent automation and then sit back and work through the requests that you get in. Smooth sailing, right?

Well, the issue that normally arises is that the level of people responding to the surveys and submitting ideas to a pipeline management tool, like Automation Hub, is simply too close to the action. As a result, the types of opportunities that you get through tend to make a small impact. These are tasks that individuals would like to be rid of, perhaps because they’re repetitive or dull, or simply need doing at an awkward time.

For example, a former client in the infrastructure sector had gone through the development cycle to automate a Friday afternoon report for their internal customer. It saved about 15 minutes which had no impact on the business at all of course, but it did mean their colleague could leave promptly at 4pm on Friday. We see what they did there.

Unfortunately, building an automation pipeline like this is unlikely to drive enough benefits to sustain the program, and certainly won’t deliver the type of meaningful digital transformation that executives are looking for when driving automation across an enterprise.

Over time, the lack of impact and results will lead to a stalled-out program, unable to get buy-in or budget for larger programs of meaningful work without senior champions and sponsors in the business and, unfortunately, unable to demonstrate its value.

Most often, when an automation program ‘fails’ it’s not because the technology or technologists weren’t capable, but because they didn’t set their sights high enough. Simply put, they tried to make an omelet without breaking any eggs. No thanks, chef!

So, what to do instead? Spot the pitfalls and improve

Thankfully, there are options, some traditional and some more innovative, that can help capitalize automation.

  • Host discovery workshops

The traditional approach of targeted, top-down workshops to identify processes with the highest return on investment has been shown to produce consistent results to make the projects worthwhile and to make the leadership take note. They also bring in key managers from departments you’re engaging with to enhance the buy-in and sponsorship to deliver real results.

  • Launch a continuous process improvement program

A strong second option is to integrate into an ongoing process improvement or optimization program, educate them on the capabilities of the technology and then work with them on identifying large-scale processes that can be both improved or simplified and then automated. There is a natural link between process improvement and automation that can sometimes be missed by technology-focused automation leaders.

  • Gain insights from UiPath Process Mining

Alternatively, embedding process mining can, over time, generate not just excellent candidates for automation but comprehensive data to support benefits cases. Like time spent, volumes, and chokepoints. Plus, combined with task mining and task capture capabilities, and routed through Automation Hub, it can be an excellent, low-impact way to identify likely candidates for automation.

Build a pipeline of transformation opportunities with Tquila’s Prioritized Opportunity Pipeline

If you’re struggling to engage your business customers to reveal valuable opportunities for automation, bringing in an outside partner could help establish the success criteria needed to move the needle. Talk to a representative at Tquila about our POP methodology and how we could help you to build the business case to get an automation program off the ground.