Many of ATS monthly blogs deals with the tangible benefits of automation, while at the same time, espousing the economic advantages of deploying, a Human Capital Management (HCM) solution. Those sentiments are reiterated in a published article, titled 10 Automation Mistake to Avoid by Laurence Goasduff for Gartner. Additionally, the article provides potential pitfalls to avoid, when automating business processes.
Here are the 10 mistakes to avoid based on a recent Gartner survey:
- Falling in love with a single technology: Once an organization has purchased and implemented a specific process automation tool, such as robotic process automation (RPA), successfully, it’s natural that colleagues want to adopt it more widely. “However, the wrong approach is to drive automation from a single technology perspective. Instead, lead with the business outcome and then align the correct set of tools,” says Sturgill.
2. Believing that business can automate without IT: More and more business users believe that the adoption of RPA and low-code/no-code applications don’t require the assistance of IT. But business users may lack knowledge of how customer and data records work, for example, and there’s a risk of mishandling the information. Additionally, those applications are integrated with other systems, which require regular upgrades. When the IT team isn’t involved, changes during upgrades don’t pass through, causing failed processes.
3. Thinking automation is always the solution: Automation may be the best long-term option for business and IT processes, but leaders cannot simply use it to cover gaps in a poorly designed process. Automation is not meant to make up for failures in systems or defer system replacement; using automation in that way simply extends the life of suboptimal legacy applications by creating savings that mask underlying inefficiencies.
4. Not engaging all stakeholders: Automation, by nature, has a broad impact on the enterprise, which means you should engage stakeholders from across the organization for decision making and sign off. For example, if adoption of new automation processes changes the nature of people’s roles, involve HR; changes to access rights and IDs, or server requirements must involve security or IT.
5. Failing to devote enough time to testing: Automation technologies only work when the algorithms and rules are exactly correct. The technologies may seem easy to use, but they are unforgiving when programmed incorrectly. They can very quickly wreck business data and fail to deliver the desired business outcome.
6. Wasting effort on overly complicated processes: At times, organizations find themselves in a quagmire when automating a process. That most often happens when processes are not well-documented or understood, if the workflow is not consistent or if there are too many variants in the decision-making process. Don’t waste time and effort by failing to halt such processes promptly.
7. Treating automation as simple task replication: Using automation tools to copy exactly what is being done manually misses a critical benefit of automation — improving the end-to-end process to create a better customer and employee experience. If process redesign is not part of the automation process, you may use the wrong automation tool and lose the business outcome you hope to achieve.
8. Failing to monitor in postproduction: Just like any system implementation, automation projects will require extensive “hands-on” IT involvement after implementation. For example, for RPA rollouts, establish continuous assessment, monitoring and regular quality checks to ensure that robots have been scripted correctly and are continuing to work as expected. This avoids huge data cleanup tasks.
9. Using the wrong metrics to measure success: It’s typical to measure technology applications and tools to ensure that they are working as designed. However, this doesn’t reflect whether or not the project is successful. Measuring the impact on processes and the enterprise as a whole is key to the success of automation.
10. Ignoring the culture and employee impact: While it’s critical to focus on how to adopt and scale automation, it is equally important to consider the impact on employees, especially if roles are eliminated or reimagined.
Bottomline: Involve all parties who will be impacted by the deployment of the HCM solution, in particular non-management staff. And never settle for a solution that may not work for your organization. When exploring HCM solutions beware of the one-size-fit-all approach. If the vendor does not know the challenges you face regularly, you could add time and money to your deployment, while at the same time, negatively impacting the overall results of the solution. Choosing an HCM vendor with deep industry expertise will lead to greater efficiency and better user experiences.