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A CXO’s Guide To Digital Transformation With RPA: Part 2

In organizations undergoing digital transformation, certain elements like scripts, macros, and customized processes might have already been automated, even before large scale RPA deployment.

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As RPA adoption has evolved from a tactical decision to a strategic business decision, it becomes vital to incorporate business impact metrics while calculating the growth of an organization’s RPA exercises. In the first part of this article 'insert hyperlink', we discussed the tech metrics, and now we move on to the business metrics.

1. Increase in Retention Rates

Losing employees, recruiting their replacements and training them is a tedious and expensive task. Did you know that in the software sector alone, average attrition has increased by around 1% in the last one year? RPA can improve employee retention by eliminating repetitive tasks, providing the employees room to do more valuable, business-critical tasks. The effect of this factor can be measured in three steps: a) by focusing on measuring the retention of employees closest to the effects of automation, b) by including departments where roles have changed the most, and c) by identifying departments where employees most often have to operate robots or interact with robot outputs.

2. Increase in Employee Satisfaction

Surveys suggest that education and research sectors have registered a fall in the job satisfaction level to 53 percent in 2018, from 73 percent. Similarly, the manufacturing and BFSI sectors saw a drop of 6 percent and 4 percent respectively, in the level of satisfaction. Here’s where RPA can come to the rescue. In order to measure employee engagement better in the short term, staff satisfaction needs to be mapped. A simple yet comprehensive internal survey amongst the employees would do the job. Here, the focus should be on the departments that will undergo the most changes due to RPA. If the time that is freed up by automation is reallocated to more valuable tasks, there will be a visible rise in employee satisfaction. However, employee satisfaction is the metric most dependent on the communication efforts of the organization. Hence, a clear communication plan should also be put in place to serve as the backbone of RPA adoption efforts to sensitize employees on how and why their roles are changing.

3. Savings due to Workforce Optimization

With automation comes optimization of the workforce with a reduction in the number of FTE (Full Time Equivalent) employees. Due to the scalable nature of bots, automation during labor intensive periods can be reduced since it eliminates the need for temporary labor. So, what would be a way to measure the progress of RPA adoption in this component? It can be done through a comparison between average demand cost break down and marginal cost of scaled software during demanding periods, with and without robots.

4. Influx of New Projects

The value added by RPA to human time can’t be reiterated enough. Simply put, RPA provides productivity boosts by taking over manual tasks that humans do, by doing them faster and better. But, how can such a vast gamut of work be put in a measurable framework? Especially keeping in mind that meeting this metric will require the design, planning, and allocation of new tasks that employees can do? Take stock of the amount of work done prior to automation in a given period, and the number of new projects employees are able to start. Then, following RPA deployment, count the number of new projects employees are assigned to. This way, it will be easier to keep track of new projects, as well as analyze their scope of work.

5. Progress in Tool Substitution

In organizations undergoing digital transformation, certain elements like scripts, macros, and customized processes might have already been automated, even before large scale RPA deployment. In such situations, the approximate cost of each tool prior to RPA, including licensing fees, costs of upkeep and development, and resources spent training employees to use these tools must be estimated. Before the RPA system is deployed, take stock of the number of tools necessary to complete a given process. One has to be aware that some of these will be manual tools that are no longer necessary. By the end of the process, it will be evident that an RPA platform will drive down costs because robots can be operated centrally rather than from individual machines.

Establishing a performance metric for RPA will not just help measure progress towards end goals, but also assist to draw correlations between different automation benefits. They will also play a key role in assessing the overall ROI of RPA adoption in the organization. By weighing them against aspects such as the capital expenditure costs like licensing costs for the RPA platform, new data center or cloud infrastructure, development and testing, monitoring and maintenance etc., a larger ROI chart can be derived. This guideline can also be scaled as and when new processes or  technologies are introduced or when the business is scaling up.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Prakash Thekkatte

Senior Vice President, UiPath India

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