What to Automate?

Automation, specifically robotic process automation, can make your work much more effortless. The first step to making your job easier is to figure out which task you are going to automate. A big reason why companies don’t automate some of their processes is not that they don’t know how – they could always engage a consultant to help — but that the company can’t imagine which process they should automate. Even though many companies have loads of manual work that they know someone is doing, it is hard to identify the specific processes that are ripe for a computer to take over. 

As you consider how which processes should be automated, here are some flags that might indicate that this task is ready to be automated: 

  1. The task is repetitive and usually mundane. 
  2. The results of the task are based on rules that are applied to some sort of input information. (Eg. processing loan applications, sorting incoming email, reviewing daily usage logs, etc.) 
  3. Even though there are exceptions to the rules, it is easy to determine when something is an exception. (For example, when a processing a loan application for someone who makes more than $4million.) 
  4. The people who do the task can be interchangeable, as long as they know the rules. (It could be a manager covering for the employee, or the employee covering for a colleague and no-one would tell the difference.)
  5. An employee spends more than an hour a week, or 4 hours a month on this task.

A repetitive, rule-based task, that takes more than 2% of your time* is a prime candidate for automating. 

* 2% is based on a 40 hour week. 

1 hour per week divided by 40 hours per week equals 2.5% of total time worked.