In the list below, I have collected ten proven ingredients for a successful recipe.
The best ideas come from the people most familiar with the work
Once my team understood what kind of processes benefits the most from software robotics (processes that are repetitive, regular, boring, routine or that require precision), straightaway they came up with many great ideas about which processes or tasks to apply robotics to. The best expert of the process worked in close collaboration with the developer, so even at the pilot stage, we could assign the task of compiling treasury’s morning reports to the robot. When Robin the Robot has completed the report in the morning, its human colleagues can start their day by getting to work as outlined in the report – whether it was liquidity management or currency hedging transactions.
Increase awareness of robotics
In order to collect ideas about process automation, we have increased awareness in various ways. Now people know of what processes are worth automating with robotics, of the criteria we use for selecting the processes, and of the requirements the automation sets for the experts. We have written articles online, published all our automations for everyone to see, held info sessions, and presented the idea in various management groups. Once or twice a month we organize an online introductory session to robotics, and it is free for everyone who wants to learn more and ask questions. We also held a name contest, in which we selected first names for our robots and rewarded the best suggestions. For certain employees, process automation was determined as their annual target. We have also arranged hackathons, in which the participants have automated their very first processes.
At first, many thought that a robot would take their job. With the right kind of communication, we have introduced the idea that a robot will actually help people by performing all of the dull routine tasks, thus freeing them to focus on the more fun, value adding tasks. It is also possible to have the robot perform checks on the background, so that possible errors could be quickly caught, and that reconciling figures after the turn of the month, for example, would not take that much time.
We also decided to humanize our robots: We made the robots our colleagues by giving them names, icons as their faces and an email address. Each robot has its own username, and it is given access rights to those systems it needs to perform its work. In discussions, we refer to our robot colleagues with their first names.
Build up competence and provide opportunities to develop
We offer in-house training for all our employees to become a Business Analyst or a Developer in robotics, if people have the time and are interested in completing the necessary training. Knowledge and understanding of this new technology has intrigued many! The more people understand software robotics, the better we have been able to automate processes.