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IBM Corporation, UiPath, IPsoft, Blue Prism. In case you don't find what you are looking for, please get in touch with our custom research team at:
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ONQU Solutions, the business transformation consultancy, today launches a free, online Process Cost Calculator. The calculator is designed to help an organisation evaluate the true cost, particularly the personnel cost, of running a repeating internal process, as a precursor to assessing the value of automating that process.
The output of the calculator, as well as providing valuable insights itself, can be fed into ONQU’s Return On Investment (ROI) Calculator to estimate the savings available through automating the process using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software. This considers the cost of implementing and supporting the automation. The result can be a remarkable increase in productivity as well as a reduction in overall running costs plus a significant decrease in human errors and compliance issues.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is different from the more established Business Process Automation (BPA). BPA optimises and often changes the way processes work, with solutions that might mix various approaches, processes and technologies. RPA, in contrast, is a single piece of software used for a specific process that is repetitive, low value and often data intensive. RPA doesn’t set out to change the process but maps exactly the actions of the human user and then, in effect, the robot processor becomes a virtual user, performing the same tasks but much faster and more accurately, 24 hours a day, with a range of metrics that can be measured and analysed for process improvements. A BPA solution could include one or several RPAs.
An example process might be one that is quite laborious, with several steps such as logging onto several different applications, pulling data from disparate data sources into one or more places and checking the integrity and compliance of data updates. It could be, say, the compliant copying of high volumes of customer contact data from system to system.
ONQU director Steve Priestnall said: “Many organisations don’t understand the real, fully loaded cost of a process, factoring in all staff and management time, which is why our Process Cost Calculator is invaluable. It can make clear the savings to be found in using RPA to automate mundane, low value and often data-intensive tasks that are prone to mistakes, with the added benefit of sometimes dramatic increases in productivity, especially in high volume, high compliance and complex systems environments.
“Robotic automation offers softer benefits, too, such as freeing up staff time for more customer-facing activity or people-to-people tasks that can’t be automated. By taking away some of the drudgery it can make work more meaningful and rewarding, while fewer mistakes or compliance issues can do wonders for an organisation’s reputation and risk profile.”
ONQU technical director Dave Brown said: “RPA doesn’t require significant IT spend, or staff time, on either implementation or support. Implementation is typically measured in days and there is little or no systems integration as the software simply replicates user actions. Organisations continue with the same processes but more accurately, faster and continuously.
“Without a doubt, RPA is coming to a small screen near you. And our new Process Cost Calculator, which is freely available online with no strings attached, helps you decide which processes to target, by knowing the cost and then working out the ROI.”
Steve Priestnall said: “We all know the UK is suffering from low productivity, which it won’t solve while businesses sidestep technology investment by simply employing more people. RPA offers a quantum leap in improving productivity and reducing error through automation. And this is for a very modest investment which can be rapidly paid for in reduced processing costs, all of which our calculators will compute up front.”
Complete the Process Cost Calculator and find out
What are Processes costing your organisation in terms of lost productivity, wasted budget, delayed response times and non-compliance?
The UK’s Productivity Gap
In the UK there is a fundamental issue with productivity. Whilst hourly rates and salaries have stagnated, organisations have relied on human power to deliver work. Rather than investing in new technology, that was deemed expensive, companies employ more people.
Why Automation is important
We are now witnessing lower unemployment rates and rising wage costs, after years of salary flatlining and even decline. To control costs and improve productivity, organisations will no longer be able to hire replacements at the same cost and recruitment will become even more difficult.
When someone leaves, or if the organisation wants to grow, extra budget is allocated to attract the required matching skill level, alternatively, training budget needs to be spent to raise a lower skill to the required competence skill level. Whichever way an organisation turns, costs are increasing and replacing ‘like for like’ is not competitive or sustainable.
Can you do more with less people?
The answer is a resounding YES. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is revolutionising organisations in terms of improving productivity, lowering costs and reducing mistakes and errors so that the threat of non-compliance is reduced.
What is RPA
RPA enables the automation of computer processes, taking the place of a human operator. Tasks that are complex, contain several steps, such as logging onto 3 different applications or pulling data from disparate data sources, can be mapped and automated using RPA software.
Many standard processes undertaken by a person can be removed allowing the person to undertake productive tasks including more person to person contact or dealing with exceptions.
RPA is Implementation and Integration Lite
In terms of implementation it is typically measured in days. There is little or no systems integration required as the software replicates the actions of the user. Whatever the user does and can do, can be replicated by the solution once mapped. This makes it very easy for systems to be targeted and mapped without any technical intrusion, reducing both time and cost to implement and support
By freeing the person from the mundane work, creates roles that have higher productivity, less mistakes and are more meaningful, rather than the tedious data movement and repetitive tasks that historically were undertaken by people.
Processes can also be isolated, captured and reviewed to ascertain whether the actual process is efficient or if it needs changing. Once documented and mapped, metrics can be applied to understand what is happening within the flow of the process. Metrics can also be created and used to measure process flow output, velocity, volume, scale etc. adding to process knowledge to determine what can be done to improve a process.
Process Cost Calculator
To find out if a process can benefit from RPA, an assessment needs to be made on a number of key process areas. The ONQU Process Cost Calculator (PCC) helps calculate the monetary cost of a process, providing informed decision making when deciding upon an RPA project and the expected return on the investment.
The calculator can be reached here please visit http://onqu.solutions/rpa-process-cost-calculator/
What is Robotic Process Automation or RPA?
Robotic Process Automation is a software application routine that mirrors the actions of a Human user within a process. It is very similar to traditional Workflow, in that a process is captured, the steps documented with all variables and pathways mapped. An RPA routine is created to exactly follow the human interaction within the process.
As an example, a user logs on to their Account, inputs the security credentials and finds a customer record. The user then presses edit for the address and inputs the customers address from a new data source ‘Change of address’ table. References the new address, checks it is the correct customer, inputs the new data, saves the edit and then checks the update. The address is then changed. All of these steps can be mapped as an RPA routine and continuously run against the organisation’s change of address queue.
As a result, mistakes are reduced, throughput is increased and productivity rises. Customer service improves through the faster turn around and fewer errors with longer operational times (Out of office hours or full 24*7).
This allows repetitive, low value or data-intensive tasks to be undertaken by the robot processor and followed as a routine just as a Human operator would do. However, unlike the human operator, the scheduled work can be undertaken at a higher speed or out of hours or for 24 hours a day with limited interaction with a human operator. The work tends to be more accurate and can be measured.
RPA will tend to adopt an already in-play process or routine and unless analysis of the process is undertaken a poorly executed process operated by a human will mirror an RPA routine so that the results could still be improved by changing the process flow.
Typically, Routines are created by RPA Software programs such as UiPath, Automation Anywhere, BluePrism and Kapow that need specialist skills and coding expertise. The market is very competitive with new entrants such as LEAPWORK RPA delivering user designed RPA without the need for coding and in-depth technical skills mean adoption rates for RPA should increase significantly.
What is Business Process Automation or BPA?
BPA or Business Process Optimisation is more of a framework to build around software solutions that serve a specific purpose such as workflow and RPA. BPA aims to rationalise processes, optimise how processes work in relation to the business function so that maximum efficiency and business value is achieved.
BPA uses detailed analysis to examine how processes are operating, identifying areas for improvement, and building solutions with a mixture or methods, processes and technology. BPA is about making sure your business processes add value and deliver against the defined business drivers and strategy of the host organisation.
Within BPA you could identify the need to use RPA to handle high frequency, low-value processes which had previously been performed by data administration staff. Once defined you could then optimise a process to enable the allocated staff to manage exceptions or more difficult customer interactions if the volume and throughput of the process increase by using RPA.
Don’t Try and Boil the Ocean dry
From our experience in document management and workflow, many organisations make the mistake of attempting to automate everything down to a finite level. Rather than do this organisations should adopt a Pareto’s principle (80/20) by recognising that to capture and automate 80% of a process, that can be implemented to give 80% of the benefit quickly and leave the difficult parts of the process (20%) to be left as exceptions to be handled by a human operator.
One key aspect that is often over looked in BPA is that measurement should be used and metrics defined so that the output of the process can be measured effectively. Questions should be asked such as what the output of the process is, what can be used to show success or failure, when is a process slowing down or speeding up. Measure everything possible as data can be used to show a wide range of outcomes whether past, present or future.
If a process needs to be overhauled objective, factual data will provide the evidence that is needed to make decisions on the process in question. This is how improvements to processes are made. Once you can demonstrate why a process is good or bad you can either replicate it or remove it. With each improvement the organisation benefits.
Whilst many people will interchange RPA with BPA organisations need to define their processes first, optimise them second and then look to solutions that can help them automate the processes whether through RPA, Workflow, Automated Cloud Provisioning, Test Automation or DevOps.
Processes should be defined against business drivers and measured. Good processes will stand the test of time and changed when circumstance or evidence dictates change is required.
For a conversation and find out whether you can apply for a funded BPA Review or whether RPA is a suitable solution please contact ONQU using the form below or phone 0121 227 8201
Selenium versus LEAPWORK – Why invest LEAPWORK instead of Selenium Open Source for Automated Testing?
Selenium is recognised as one of the leading testing tools in the world due to its Open Source Developed Credentials and it’s longevity having started life in 2004. But how does is compare to the next generation of Test Automation tools like LEAPWORK.
The benefits of Selenium include:
• Open source, free to use, and free of charge
• Highly extensible
• Can run cases across different browsers
• Supports various operating systems
• Supports mobile devices
• Can execute cases while the browser is minimised
• Can execute cases in parallel
The Selenium Way
Selenium automation is achieved by creating and developing test scripts that are written with code. The building of the Automation cases requires programming knowledge as well as understanding what a user might need to test for.
Because the tests are unique, any changes or updates need to re-coded and re-applied, making it very difficult to control versions and have confidence in regression testing. Developers are required to make changes and updates, adding to the developer support burden.
In Selenium, building automation cases takes time, requires specialised programming knowledge, and generates an ongoing, growing maintenance workload. To deliver full Automation, Selenium requires a testing framework that is controlled by programming.
The increased demands of users and testing functionality required by DevOps teams has moved functionality forward in later generations of testing Software.
Selenium can only automate web applications as it is not possible to access elements outside of a browser.
LEAPWORK is the next generation of Automated Testing Tools delivered as a platform.
LEAPWORK builds on the success and functionality of Selenium, improving the usability and allowing users to define and create the tests based upon their own specific requirements as part of their day job, not having to learn to become the software developers.
The LEAPWORK Way to Automated Testing Success is Code Less
LEAPWORK empowers the users to build the test plans visually with pre-defined objects and workflows that help the user communicate the software functionality from a business and user perspective rather than a technical one.
The LEAPWORK Automation Platform enables users to create an environment of ‘do-it-yourself’ test automation without the need for programming. Test cases are built as flowcharts on a design canvas by putting together powerful building blocks. The blocks include all the logic needed for test automation and once created can be built on further with the ability to remain integral even for regression testing.
With LEAPWORK you will reduce the costs and resources required to test by up to 80%, will improve your Quality Assurance and allow regression testing to be included for current and future tests.
Place the power of test automation in to the hands of the people who will add the most value, understand their specific requirements the best and take pressure off the development teams.
LEAPWORK is based on the following:
- Enables users to Build tests and adapt future tests easily without the need to write complex Code.
- All web automation flows are built in and executed from the native LEAPWORK Studio rather than using an automation framework.
- An Automation Platform that can access every element on a screen’s User Interface.
- The user can automate both web and desktop applications – and even across application types.
- All elements and files (i.e. ‘Locators’) used in automation cases, like web elements, images, etc are automatically saved in an object repository.
- Data-driven automation is achieved by visually connecting data sources to automation flows.
- Customer support provided a dedicated support team and partner channel network.
- Runtime data is automatically generated as logs and video recordings, and results can be pushed to release platforms and pipeline orchestrators.
- Parameterization does not require programming. You simple adjust the configurations of a building block or drag dynamic sources of inputs to the block.
- Reports and Dashboards are automatically generated. These can be visualised in dashboards and exported to stakeholders.
The Future is Test Automation the Future is LEAPWORK
For a 30 Minute Demonstration that shows full functionality and ease of use fill out the form below or phone 0121 227 6201
ONQU Solutions are part of the VIQU Group delivering consultancy and high value resourcing solutions to organisations working across a wide range of sectors.
3 Gatsby Court
172 Holliday Street
Birmingham B1 1TJ
0121 227 8201