How do I educate my internal customers about intelligent automation?
One of the key take-aways from Forester’s recent article “Ten Golden Rules For RPA Success” is that “RPA is easy to get into but hard to master, building your first bot is relatively simple but scaling an organization-wide RPA program is a whole different ballgame”. In this blog article we will address one key success factors not addressed in the Forester article but required to successfully scale an organization-wide intelligent automation program:
“How do I educate my internal customers about intelligent automation”?
Nearly every person in your organization will eventually be touched by intelligent automation. Industry goals are that every person will have a bot (or bots) that they use to perform their jobs. The purpose of intelligent automation is to simply remove humans from the tasks that can be performed by software. These jobs are typically the mundane, repetitive, rule-based tasks that humans typically are bored performing or enormous data analysis tasks that human simply cannot effectively perform. With this level of pervasive usage in mind, every individual must be educated on what intelligent automation consists of, how it works and how it can help them be more productive.
What educational mechanisms should I use to “spread the word” about intelligent automation”?
A great start for your communications would be to establish a portal on your company Intranet specifically dedicated to intelligent automation. Articles placed on this portal could consist of blogs written by internal resources or articles from well-known periodicals and bloggers. The key focus is to help the organization realize the overall impact these technologies will likely have on your industry and the various roles people within your organization are likely to play in building a successful program. The intelligent automation portal should also contain an “idea intake system” to allow line employees to submit ideas for automation as they generally have the best understanding of internal processes. Another section of your portal should address change management and help employees understand what to expect from intelligent automation and the ways it can help them be more productive. By helping employees better understand how these technologies can help them you facilitate entries into the idea intake portal.
Another great communication mechanism is a regular newsletter on the topic which can be posted on the intranet as well as sent as a link via the Email system. A newsletter should be a regularly scheduled communication that helps the organization better understand what your company is doing in the intelligent automation space and how it is helping the company be more profitable.
Voluntary “lunch and learns” are an excellent tool that can be used for two purposes. The first is obviously education of those with a natural interest in intelligent automation. The second is an opportunity to identify those people as potential key participants given their natural interest.
A questionnaire or survey should be sent to all staff (or targeted segments) to gain an idea to their level of understanding. Formal education classes will need to be provided to help individuals or teams understand the technology, the roles that need to be filled and the tasks each role will perform. Videos, criteria selection workflows, support from business analysts may be provided in coordination with a campaign.
Complete a process review and identify processes currently suited to intelligent automation. Teams consisting of internal lean experts or specialized Intelligent Automation consultants combined with internal subject matter experts can be utilized to complete an automation assessment. A deeper process review can then be undertaken in areas with the greatest potential for return. Intelligent automation experts can review organization charts and create a “heat map” of top priority areas to automate. Use this heat map to generate focus and energy around these opportunities within the affected business units.
How do I break down the organization into cohesive groups for formal educational purposes?
The key for any educational program is to understand who you are educating and what you are educating them to do. The roles required for a successful intelligent automation program vary significantly in areas of responsibility. This natural division of responsibility allows for a breakdown into the following training segments:
- C-Suite Champion: Driver within the C-Suite for Intelligent Automation programs. This will generally be the CFO or the COO.
- Evangelist: Someone who evangelizes and drives intelligent automation adoption across the organization. The Champion is the guardian of the Robotic Process Automation solution overall. They are responsible for ensuring a healthy automation pipeline while leading the operational management of the virtual workforce.
- Change Manager: Program manager responsible for securing a smooth adoption of Intelligent Automation within the company. They are the ones who create the Change and Communication plan aligned to the deliverables of the project. They are a catalyst in the transition process, making sure each stakeholder is well informed and comfortably tuned to the changes taking place.
- Business Analysts: The Process Subject Matter experts located in business operations. They will oversee creating the process definitions and process maps used for automation.
- Solution Architect: Defines the architecture of the solution and oversee it end-to-end, assisting both in the development and in the implementation phases. They select the appropriate set of technological tools and features and ensures the alignment of the solution with enterprise guidelines.
- Developer: Designs, develops and tests the automation workflows, and supports the implementation of the solution. The Developer works side by side with the Business Analyst for documenting process details and assists the engagement team in implementing & testing the solution as well as during maintenance.
- Infrastructure Engineer: This role is a part of both the deployment team and future operations team. They are mainly in charge of the infrastructure support for server installations and troubleshooting. The Engineer also contributes to the completion of the solution architecture for the Robotic Process Automation project. During the implementation phase, they are the ones leading the infrastructure workshops.
- Supervisor: Manages, orchestrates and controls the virtual workforce as part of the operational environment. Their focus is on continuously improving intelligent automation performance and resource allocation, by exploiting the advanced reporting and analytical tools within the framework.
- Service Support: The Service Support role acts as the first line of assistance for the solution in deployment.
Intelligent Automation requires a formal framework for education based on the roles to be performed. Everyone should be trained in the concepts and individuals should be trained based on their specific role in the automation process. Historically effective corporate communications tools combined with process automation tools should be utilized to help bring light to the topic and to marshal the best resources for accomplishing the tasks at hand.