The current crisis has created unprecedented pressure on leaders to optimize processes and, with that, accelerated the need for automation.
Test automation and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) ensure high productivity, low costs and low risk, which are now, more than ever, crucial for business survival. Automation is thereby no longer a nice-to-have, but a need-to-have.
Businesses who invest in automation have proven to recover faster from recession than their competitors, and to have a head start in a recovering market. Yet, many hesitate to invest due to a belief that the start-up costs are too high and the return too slow.
With the approach that we outline in this brief, we will demonstrate how to achieve a fast ROI from automation, and give you clear insight into how you can gain competitive advantage.
Fist, watch: “The ROI is a no-brainer for us” customer story with David Pound, Head of Lending Technology at Investec to see how they benefited from test automation fast.
In this brief, we’ll explain:
- Test automation and RPA, and what they have in common
- Why automation can give you a competitive advantage
- How you can get started in three steps
Test automation vs. RPA: What’s relevant to my business?
Test automation and RPA are two types of automation that serve different purposes to different audiences, but have similar benefits.
If you work with software, either in a QA, development or testing team, you’ll know what test automation is, and you’ll probably already understand it’s benefits. If you work with software, but you’re on the business side of things, and don’t know what test automation is, you can brush up on your knowledge here.
RPA is different from test automation in that it’s relevant not just for software developers, but for anyone looking to optimize repetitive processes that are carried out on a computer. RPA can thereby be useful for Finance, HR, Marketing, Sales, and virtually any other department in your business.
To understand these two core technologies in depth requires more than intended for the scope of this blog post, but we explain the two in further detail and outline the differences clearly here: 5 differences between test automation and RPA
Contrary to popular belief, automating business processes isn’t about replacing people with robots. It’s about using technology to handle the tedious, error-prone tasks that prevent you and your team from focusing on the skilled work you were hired to do.
Why automation can give you a competitive advantage
There are countless ways test automation and RPA can be used across industries and departments. But the outcomes are always the same. When implemented right, businesses can expect to achieve the following with test automation and RPA:
- Increased productivity
- Risk mitigation
- Cost reduction
- Better customer experiences
How can you get started
The road to benefiting from automation involves three steps:
- Identifying what to automate
- Assembling a team to take ownership of the automation journey
- Selecting the tool that will let you benefit from automation fast
It’s important to note that these three steps aren’t necessarily chronological, and that the road to successful implementation can for example begin with an introductory call or POC, where a subject matter expert can consult on the best way forward based on your particular business needs.
1. Identifying what to automate
The automation journey typically starts with identifying the use cases relevant to your business.
A good test automation and RPA candidate meets one or several of the following criteria:
- The process involves structured tasks, meaning instructions on how to perform the tasks can be easily given to a robot.
- The process involves moving data across multiple systems or applications, and until automated, is using human hours to move that data.
- The process is prone to human error, perhaps because it’s highly repetitive or mundane, and the risk of fatigue or information overload is high.
- The process is highly repetitive, making it possible to save many human hours, and thus making the return on automating it greater.
- The process requires 24/7 operation. Robots don’t need sleep and don’t get sick, and can thereby fill a work hour gap that humans can’t.
2. Assembling a team to take ownership of the automation
In addition to finding the right use cases, you’ll need to assemble a team of people who 1) are capable of identifying which tests and processes meet these criteria, and 2) are going to be onboarded in the automation tool and will have the responsibility of setting up the automated tests and processes.
This team can consist of both business and technical experts. With a no-code automation tool, however, no advanced technical skills are required.
From there, your role as a leader and/or initiator of the automation journey is to pick low-hanging fruit first where the ROI is the fastest and/or greatest, and thereafter to use those early wins to secure the budget and support for subsequent automation efforts.
3. Selecting the tool that will let you benefit from automation fast
When it comes to benefiting from automation fast and securing low start-up costs and a short learning curve, no-code changes everything.
LEAPWORK’s no-code automation platform is built for business experts, rather than technical experts. With automated processes built as flowcharts instead of coded scripts (which are the norm in the automation industry), LEAPWORK is easy to use and quick to get started with.
This is an essential feature that will let you benefit from automation faster than your competitors.