Identifying Processes, Managing Change; New Skills – How Leading Organizations Grasp IA Opportunities

Chairman Brad DeMent Summarizes the key trends of IA Week 2018

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Here are some of the best tips, learnings and quotes that came out of 3 days in Austin at IA Week 2018, in December (also available as a download – click red button):

Getting Started

  • There are 13 stall points you will hit – you can accelerate through them, but you will hit them – Lee, Ascension
  • Don’t make the error of beginning with a complex use case – bring a bag of five simple use cases – Lee, Ascension
  • We used a time study, process flows, and salary overlay to determine baseline cost – Jim, American Family Insurance
  • We included cost avoidance (properly paid claims) in our ROI – Jim, American Family Insurance
  • We measured how many humans we did not have to hire due to implementation of robots – Jon, BNY Mellon
  • You may not save a penny improving satisfaction, but you’ve made a strategic improvement to business – Lee, Ascension
  • This is not an IT program, but you will need the right relationship with IT – Lee, Ascension
  • Drill down – you might find your one process has 62 permutations you did not originally see – Andrew, U.S. Bank
  • Look for quick, easy, big impact cases – Mike, Farmers Insurance
  • Hedge by tackling parts of processes that are low “time to value” (easy), come back and get complexity later – Manik, AIG
  • Initiatives tied to corporate strategy can weigh higher than ROI that is not – Manik, AIG
  • We had the first bot in the entire U.S. Government! – Ken, NASA
  • Plan less, experiment more – Manik, AIG
  • Finding Processes
  • ‘How many bots do you have?’ is not the right question – ask ‘how many processes do you have automated?’ – Manik, AIG
  • Document the process – you will need it for training (ranges from formal to team huddles) – Brad, The Results Co.
  • The details of an RPA process selection will teach you how little you know of your own processes – Brad, Houston Methodist
  • We were four years in before converting to Agile methodology – order of magnitude difference – Lee, Ascension
  • It was a disservice to advertise how easy it is to “robotize” processes – it’s hard work – Curt, Walgreens
  • Synchronizing robot timing can avoid the need to purchase additional licenses – Chris, Capital Hill
  • We found that processes must change with RPA as human steps are removed – requires retraining – Chris, Capital Hill
  • Compensation: RPA to validate salary offer is within HR grading range before offer is made – Curt, Walgreens
  • Employee Sourcing: RPA to validate employment requisitions for 173 stores – Curt, Walgreens (e.g. the wrong code for a 64-hour vs. 84-hour pharmacist can cause issues with background checks, license verifications, and payroll issues)
  • Tax Audit: Kicked off reviews that shortened tax audits to 2-3 days ($0.5M savings) – Track session
  • Onboarding: RPA to generate request to issue employee ID, computer, system access, and email address, etc. – Curt, Walgreens
  • Onboarding: Chatbot kickoffs to headoff common questions, “How are you feeling?, Any questions?” – Curt, Walgreens
  • Compensation: RPA to validate salary offer is within HR grading range before offer is made – Curt, Walgreens

Applying Skills

  • Turning business people into RPA developers is hard to do – Justin, Massachusetts Financial Services (MFS)
  • Work with HR to design incentive models – Justin, MFS
  • We use offshore support to develop robots, and our onshore resources to plan and design – Chris, Capital Hill
  • Use a combination of contract and inhouse robot developers – Justin, MFS
  • We measure idle time on the keyboard – decrease that, and you will improve productivity – Brad, The Results Co.
  • Track notepad activity to find RPA opportunity – Brad, The Results Co.
  • Include human and digital strategy in workforce development – Brad, Houston Methodist
  • Analyze call data details – idle time, silence, hold time, and PC at rest – Brad, The Results Co.
  • Our goal is to eliminate the RPA pipeline by staffing appropriately and meeting demand – John, Mars
  • Hybrid attended/unattended robots where data is sent from an attended bot to an unattended – Brad, The Results Co.
  • My rule is retain two of every five FTEs returned to the business … to reinvest in the program – Lee, Ascension
  • Robots do the copy/pasting that occurs during a customer call – reduced up to 50% of processing time – Brad, The Results Co.
  • Unattended robots reduced reporting time and enabled more opportunity for insights – Brad, The Results Co.
  • Nurses spend 35% of their time documenting – Brad, Houston Methodist
  • Important to separate the “Developers” from the “Maintenance” – if you let them in, they will get stuck there forever taking care of their “babies” – John, Mars
  • Team development is the most critical task – tools are not always the answers (people are) – Brad, The Results Co.
  • Don’t believe “anyone can develop bots” – it took us 3-6 months to get high quality development from internal resources with the right skill set – Chris, Capital Hill
  • Spend upfront time analyzing the process and data to avoid dead ends – Brad, The Results Co.
  • The discovery of automation potential is not predictable, but the maintenance is (staffed appropriately) – John, Mars

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Establishing Governance

  • We offered three choices to the business 1) Outsource, 2) COE, 3) Do it Yourself – Andrew, U.S. Bank
  • We will apply RPA if it can be done in 12 weeks or less (otherwise IT should handle this) – Andrew, U.S. Bank
  • Agree on what a bot is? Standardize definitions – Jim, American Family Insurance
    IEEE has acknowledged that RPA is an emerging/new technology that will require new standards – Lee, Ascension
  • Once a robot is moved to production, we transition to DevOps group for regular maintenance – Lia, Baker Hughes
  • We carry the cost of robots in the business units … because it’s digital labor! – Lee, Ascension
    Data, HR, ERP, Cybersecurity, and BU are all on the governance board to decide if a bot will be built – Lia, Baker Hughes
  • We may say “yes” to automation and “no” to RPA – Lia, Baker Hughes
  • Needed a “design authority” to enable different people to run production other than developed robot – Lee, Ascension (Design authority role should not only meet standards, but also knowledge of all system touch points)
  • Your COE should scale appropriate to program – if you have four robots, you don’t need a 12-person COE – Lee, Ascension
  • We have a federated structure with bot builders in each core function of the firm – Justin, MFS
  • If you can’t find someone in your organization with “RPA” in their title, you probably lack an RPA strategy – Lee, Ascension
  • Our goal is to see if we can use IA to increase revenue – get projects to market faster – Chris, Capital Hill
  • Mars has over 200 bots – we won’t do a PoC unless we know we will push it to production – John, Mars

Managing Change

  • If you want to win over employees, choose a bottleneck process – Ken, NASA
  • If you want to win over controls, choose a process that improves controls– Ken, NASA
  • Our auditors began helping us find automatable processes – Lee Coulter
  • The term “Bots as a Service” went over better than “RPA COE” – Lia, Baker Hughes
  • Measure internal agent satisfaction – Nick, Fifth Third Bank
  • Fear of robots went away as jobs were changed, not eliminated – Mike, Farmers Insurance
  • Our challenge is actually supplying RPA manpower vs. eliminating jobs – Lia, Baker Hughes
  • We conducted an RPA roadshow around the businesses to educate and garner support – Iris, Manulife
  • Expect low or unpredictable ROI initially with AI – it’s much more difficult to understand what is happening in the black box when it’s making its own decisions – Cristian, RBC
  • The flood of requests did not open for us (people are busy). We had to go out and market – Chris, Capital Hill
  • Bots actually make HR more human by increasing quality interactions between people! – Curt, Walgreens
  • Aligning stakeholders takes a LOT of work for each use case – Brad, Houston Methodist

Brad DeMent
Chairman IA – 2017 and 2018
Chairman SSOW 2012 – 2018
ScottMadden Partner – GBS and Digital Practice Lead

Find out more about ScottMadden