With the deluge of information around robotic process automation (RPA) and intelligent automation thrown at us on an almost daily basis by the automation marketing machine, you might be forgiven for thinking that implementing one or a combination of these technologies at all costs is fundamental to successful transformation of your business operations.
As usual, however, the devil is in the details. In this case, it’s crucial to identify the most promising areas for automation, before you actually start developing a solution for your organization. Despite the siren song of the automation bandwagon, as it rolls through the corporate boardroom, robotics isn’t necessarily the best – and certainly isn’t the only – answer to business transformation.
Capgemini’s approach to developing an automation solution comes with the easy to remember term ESOAR (Eliminate, Standardize, Optimize, Automate, Robotize). This unique and straightforward transformation methodology addresses the underlying causes of inefficiency in your business operations, before working on the actual symptoms – just like any good doctor would.
Applied in exactly this order for maximum efficiency, the five steps of ESOAR enable an organization to:
– Eliminate unnecessary process steps, activities, approvals, reports, etc., that are either simply not required (in the automated world) or the results of which can be better achieved in other ways. It’s surprising how many process steps don’t resist a persistent “but why?” questioning or follow-up on the actual usage of their results.
– Standardize whole processes or at least process steps/clusters across different departments/regions/countries or their IT implementations. Although standardization initiatives have been around since the first large-scale ERP implementations, new possibilities of leveraging automation to implement standardization are reinventing the game.
– Optimize the usage of your existing tool landscape, most commonly in the form of not so prominent ERP functions or tools used only in certain “corners” of an enterprise. Our teams are, for example, often able to turn on or configure major, paid-for, functionalities of an ERP system, which bring significant benefits when used properly.
– Automate process steps that are typically error-prone or time-consuming with specialized – often small-scale and inexpensive – tools, either off-the-shelf or even custom developed. The term automation can certainly be used in a very broad context and often includes RPA and robotics, but doesn’t include GUI-based RPA in this context. It isn’t easy to keep up with the increasing market of these often niche problem-solving solutions, but in terms of efficiency gains, it’s definitely worth identifying and implementing them.
– Robotize the remainder of any repetitive, rules-based, and often high-volume tasks, using either attended (front end) or unattended (back end) RPA, if a clear business case is identified for development and operation. Although other criteria should be taken into consideration, having a proven methodology for qualification and effort estimation – as well as other change management, governance, operation, and support measures – will help ensure positive implementation results.
Viewing robotics as one of several options for improvement, rather than in isolation, is the yellow brick road to successful business transformation. We’ve proved this at Capgemini through implementing ESOAR assessments, RPA, and intelligent automation for a range of clients across a number of different business cases.
But don’t be mistaken by the logic of ESOAR – serious experience of business process implementations, new technologies, and a profound understanding of methodologies such as Six Sigma and Lean Management are drastically increasing the quality of our ESOAR improvement projects.
If, however, ESOAR still seems too trivial, the next iteration of the methodology will ensure proper representation of improvement opportunities through cognitive and AI solutions. I’ll keep you posted on this new, even more powerful methodology.
To learn more about Capgemini’s ESOAR can carry out a structured review of your processes and provide the bedrock for the implementation of intelligent automation, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Ulrich manages intelligent automation and RPA solutions across Europe, helping clients to increase process quality and efficiency, and reduce cost by deploying leading automation technologies.