Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) are clearly exciting propositions for many organizations today. The potential results are remarkable, but, analogous to Ahab’s travails in Moby Dick, the implementation and successful induction of automation can be a whale of an effort!
There are many components and variables in generating a successful automation program – software, infrastructure, business users, IT, UAT, etc., and there are many obstacles and old ways of doing things that can get in the way. We hear a lot of buzzwords, but concrete details are missing at times. We believe the traditional ROI calculation is insufficient, as it fails to take into consideration the importance of Change Management principles that are so critical to success.
Why would Change Management be central to automation? Many would view this as a “soft skill” that has some place in communications, team building, or some esoteric concept not aligned to mainstream functional and technical knowhow.
Far from it.
Challenges abound in automation because organizations fail to realize how to treat a digital worker working in tandem with human workers and vice-versa. The problem festers and grows because we think and execute automation as humans, and not how a robot ideally would or should. The importance of organizational alignment, design thinking, and employee engagement cannot be overstated – these factors can make or break a transformation effort.
Enhancing the ROI calculation with elements of Change Management, we introduce a new concept, Return on Change in Automation (RoCiA), which can be expressed mathematically as:
n represents the number of processes in the automation backlog
Capacity represents the potential FTE capacity released
Quality represents the potential quality improvement
Velocity represents the speed benefits that could be achieved through automation
E is the organization’s ability to affect change (Change Effectiveness coefficient)
Leveraging RGP’s “Return on Change™” framework, this approach illustrates the potential impact of Change Management on the transformation effort’s success. With an E of 1 (or greater), the organization enjoys a high RoCiA; as it neglects change principles (coefficient is negative or close to zero), the RoCiA is diminished. We’ve seen many organizations focus on the technology or the FTE-related returns, but “missed the boat” on important issues such as design-thinking, exception handling, and the subtler “people” aspects of transformation initiatives (effectively driving their Change Coefficient toward zero) – this often arises from a “technology project” mindset, rather than approaching automation as a transformational effort.
We believe RPA and IPA offer significant returns across a wide range of industries. We know from experience, however, that approached incorrectly, organizations can be dragged down to the murky depths.