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  2. Another Typical Data Process Suppose that this coffee was created by our average manual data process… Should I drink it?

  3. Objectives of this Seminar “Achieve Greater Efficiency through Business Process Automation” • Define process automation • The barriers to greater efficiency • Understand our users’ desires and issues • Reducing the need for manual processes – solving the challenge • Conclusion • Q&A

  4. Why Should This Interest ME? • We’re spending a lot of money on change. Lets make that count • IT and process expertise is scarce in most organisations • Spreadsheet errors can cause real financial losses • We need to improve the quality and efficiency of our processes

  5. Is this Automation? Visited a branch to consolidate some bank accounts 2 hours in bank, frustrated bank manager, miserable child Got a report with a single click It took us two days to find out why the numbers were wrong Refreshed a Pivot Table Went out for lunch while it crunched Overnight Process We’re still trying to fix it. Its complicated

  6. Some Current Trends • Convergence between traditional IT and users • More IT project performance scrutiny • Organisations increasingly wary of spreadsheet-based solutions • Process intellectual property is regarded as an asset A considerable amount of organisational resources are dedicated to automating and streamlining business processes Are we succeeding?

  7. Why Automation Projects can Fail Automation projects can carry a high failure rate: • Delivery failure • Reluctance to adopt • Process redundancy • Manual workarounds In our experience these failures are not due to a lack of effort, spend or dedication. Before we can address this, lets define what we mean byautomation

  8. The Process Divide: Technology vs User Users (Performance): Consider a process to be complete when the result makes sense Consider a process to be complete when all defined steps completed successfully. Results without process Technology (Delivery): Process without results The optimum place to be is between these extremes. Both process AND results are equally important.

  9. Automation – Objectives Our organisational objectives for process automation are to: • Do more with less • Leverage talent • Reduce costs • Reduce process risk We can look to manufacturing for insight on achieving this…

  10. Automation – Manufacturing Manufacturing: • Production line • Prototype • Quality Assurance • Constant Improvement • Customer Feedback Finally, we need to define the automation experience.

  11. Automation – User Experience A user would consider a process automated: • A significant reduction in the amount of manual work • Better quality result • Process can be delegated to junior staff • The process can be completed quickly • Minimal need for workarounds

  12. Summary so far Key ideas regarding automation: • Define automation in terms your organisation understands • Automation cannot exist without positive user experience • Automation, like manufacturing requires solid processes and good quality results Process automation requires delivery Delivery requires that we understand our users…

  13. Do we know our users? Some things you should know! • Users choose tools that are intuitive over those that aren’t • Any attempt to take control away from users encourages them to find it elsewhere • Many users have skilled up and are quite technically accomplished. IT is not a mystery anymore • Users can be very creative at creating workarounds. With each comes a performance hit

  14. User Dislikes… • Limited access to data • Untested system updates • Iterative manual processes (do … until) • Overnight processes

  15. What Users Want • On demand (not the same as real time!) • Tools that feel good to use • Agile solutions with rapid change cycles • Solutions that make us better at what we do • A reasonable balance between empowerment and control Not fussy at all then

  16. Barriers to Efficiency Some givens: • Legacy systems • Contractual covenants • Organisational attitudes • Priorities These are the “easier” challenges…

  17. Delivery vs Performance Users (Performance): • Find solutions difficult to use • Dealing with constant change • Articulating requirements • Delivery timeframes • Workarounds • Technical challenges • Skills shortages • Changes to requirements • Knowledge of the business • Long development life cycles Technology (Delivery): To improve efficiency within the business we need to solve both the delivery and performance challenges

  18. The Result So it would be no surprise that: • Spreadsheets have become king, even though… • Studies have shown that >88% of spreadsheets contain materialdefects • Users are aware of this hazard but are short on viable options • We have too many key person dependencies What’s our strategy to deal with this?

  19. Drive Efficiency with Automation Organisational: • Focus where the gains are: replicable processes • Embed all IP into the process (manufacturing) • Obtain and process feedback formally • Measure time spent on key processes • Encourage engagement between technical and non-technical staff

  20. Drive Efficiency with Automation (2) Technical Staff: • Use technology to lower, not raise the technical barriers • Present users with fewer, simpler working environments • Technology is only viable if it solves a real problem • Make processes agile (eg. rules-based processing) • Play to your strengths Remember that Spreadsheets are the competition

  21. Drive Efficiency with Automation (3) Users: • Engage positively with technical teams • Identify key staff dependencies. Pool these resources into teams and empower them to deliver solutions • Avoid spreadsheets for mission critical tasks • Let your staff do what they’re good at Remember that efficiency is a team effort!

  22. Conclusion • The relationship between users and IT is evolving • We need a new approach to our processes • Balance control with empowerment • Users and technology need to engage more positively • We need tools to cope with these new challenges A bit about Accountagility…

  23. Conclusion Thanks for listening! Now for Q&A Enjoy responsibly