The Idea 💡

Clickety-clickety, typety-typety, copyty-pastety. Rinse and repeat. Day after day. Week after week. So satisfying, so fulfilling! Well. Not really... Could Maria teach a robot to do her job so that she can focus on something less brain-deteriorating? 🤔

Maria's copypaste weekly marathon task

Each week, Maria gets the company sales data from the RobotSpareBin online sales application. It was set up long ago, and it does not have fancy integrations with other systems; it can only export the data into an Excel file.

Armed with the Excel file, she goes to the intranet at https://robotsparebinindustries.com/, logs in and starts adding the data for the week for each sales representative, adding their first and last names, the value of sales they managed for the week, and their weekly target.

This can take quite a while, and she admits that sometimes she has made mistakes. 😳

When the data is all entered, she takes a screenshot of the page and adds it to the weekly newsletter that she sends out to everyone. She found a way of making a PDF file out of it, but again it's a lot of copypasting and fiddling with different software.

Time to automate!

Like in Maria's case, it all starts with an idea. Perhaps you could automate something currently done by a single Homo sapiens, or a swarm of them? The automation might improve the quality of life, make the process faster, and with fewer mistakes. Or generate some other type of measurable benefit!

RobotSpareBin Industries Inc. is a big company, and Maria is sure that there are tasks to be automated all around the organization.

One of the crucial parts of robotic process automation (RPA) is finding suitable processes to automate. Finding the right process to start your RPA journey might be critical to creating a good momentum for RPA.

In a small organization, it might be easy to spot promising processes. The larger and more complex the organization, the harder this gets.

Maria starts to wonder how to find the best processes to automate. 🤔

Tips for finding potential processes to be automated

  • What are most of the people in the organization working on? More people -> more work -> more tasks to automate.

  • Ideas for automation can come from the person completing the process or someone else involved in the process.

  • You might have an idea for a process that would improve efficiency, but can not be completed even manually at the moment. Sometimes automation enables you to start creating completely new processes instead of just automating existing ones.

  • See Figure 12. "Distribution of use cases by complexity of implementation and benefit realized across functions and sectors" in the excellent RPA use cases research report by Capgemini Research Institute (PDF file).

  • Collect all the possible automation ideas in a backlog. Then decide which process it makes sense to start with: depending on your use case, it could be the easiest process to automate, or the one that you think will have the biggest return of investment. Do not just pick the first one that you find: having good first experiences is important, both for people and for organizations! 🙂