How and when to use Process Automation

What are the factors that lead to using more process automation in an organization? How can management trust an automated process or multiple automated processes to keep systems in balance?

When you approach the topic of process automation, the heads of management might feel their eyes glaze over. With all the potential for automated tasks, there seem to be too many options, and the most common ask is about choosing the right one. Thus, when the decision team sits down to review what could or should be automated, their primary concern is the end result, and the time it takes to get there. Although process automation is a wonderful tool to have when used in proper doses; it can become a cluster of complexity, festering more issues than it was meant to solve.

So, how does a company choose whether a process should be automated or not? Here are the determining factors:

  1. Can the process be executed using templates and triggered actions?
  2. Is the item recurring frequently enough to warrant greater action? For example, if it occurs more than 1% of the time; it is worthy of automation.
  3. As the company grows, how much labor force will be added to band-aid this one issue if it is not automated?
  4. What are the projected cost savings if the task was automated as outlined by management?
  5. Do you want to consult with an automation expert to get a clearer picture of the impact that automation might have on your contact center or back-office agent tasks?
  6. Can the automation work in concert with your agents and employees? For example, does the automated cadence hand off to the employee, and then take over when the employee is done?

We can examine the Ivinex cadence engine to measure how these six factors come into play with various use cases in the industry. For example, let’s look at an RMA as a standard process for automation. Since the RMA is a three-step process for most companies, we can break it down into those actions. First, we need the agent or employee to mark the RMA as started, which triggers the return packaging and instructions sent to the customer. Another order is made to replace the incorrect items, if needed. The second part of the return is the employee who receives the item at the warehouse. This employee could login to their phone to update Ivinex, or simply use text messaging to close out the RMA ticket. For the last step, accounting would need to verify that the return was completed and balance the ledger.

So, what are the benefits to automating the example scenario?

  1. With three people being assigned child tickets in this use case, there is a very low margin for human error. Since each department is depending on the other, the platform can notify them all that tickets are still outstanding.
  2. When the agent or employee selects and confirms the RMA process, he or she has just kicked off 20 or more steps with a single click.
  3. Management will have the capability to see RMAs in queue, and they will get pop-up notifications of RMAs that have been sitting for too long in queue. A simple Kanban or KPI dashboard, or a combination of both, will show the manager what he or she needs to see.
  4. Since everything in the automation engine is templated to the exact scenario, the customer will receive the right messages regardless of the order status. For example, if they are merely returning an item, then the messaging will speak to the return, but if it’s a return and replacement, then the messaging will go out appropriate to those selections.
  5. All of the agent or employee choices dictate how the automation runs, and each automation action can be altered as the business needs them to adapt.

Now we have illustrated how process automation can make things better, but what about automation that is too complex? Since Ivinex uses business logic and adapts to business logic, the results are static and predictable. However, with companies that are using machine learning to run their processes; they are finding out how cumbersome it can be to train a robot to “think” like a human employee. That’s why the Ivinex system works in concert with the employee rather than trying to replace them. Thus, if the goal was to cut down “trees” in our problem statement, then the manual process is like an axe, and the business intelligence automation is like a chainsaw.

For more information, please visit our website: www.ivinex.com