Business feasibility assessment 💰
Ok, after the technical feasibility assessment, we know that the process could be automated. But just because something is technically doable, it does not necessarily make business sense to do it!
"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." Doctor Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park, 1993 🦖
When evaluating the feasibility of a Robotic Process Automation project, you should include a business feasibility assessment phase, to understand if the automation would lead to a positive return on investment or not.
Ask yourself these questions:
Does the process repeat often?
The more often the process needs to be completed manually, the better the potential benefits of automating it. Faster completion, fewer errors, time to focus on more exciting things!
If the process is manual and time-consuming but does not happen often, you need to consider the cost of implementing the automation. Does the effort pay itself back (positive return on investment)?
In Maria's case, she is convinced that once a week is often enough to be worth automating, because of the quantity of data that she has to copy-paste, and the number of operations she has to do. She reports that the whole process takes hours to complete. So it's a yes from her!
Is the process stable, or does it change all the time?
- Do you anticipate that the process will stay mostly the same for some time? Substantial changes in the process will require more development work to adapt the robot to new requirements, so if you expect the process to change often, it might be reason enough to decide not to automate it.
Maria reports that the process has been the same for many years, and there are no plans to replace the sales system for the foreseeable future.
Is it easy for a human operator to make mistakes during the process, or is it relatively error-proof?
Maria does not want to comment on the times that she has copy-pasted the wrong sales data for a sales representative or forgotten to add the surname of somebody. So yes, she thinks that it is possible to make mistakes during this task.
What positive effects will automating the process have on the organization?
Maria has a backlog of other more important activities that she can get to if the robot takes over her copy-paste marathon. Also, fewer sales reps would get angry at her for her copy-paste errors...
Do the positive effects justify the cost?
Once you have determined that the automation would positively impact the organization, you need to weigh the possible benefits against the time and money spent during the implementation, maintenance, and the lifetime cost of the automation.
Maria has discussed the estimations with her supervisors: they are onboard, and the budget is there, so all good!