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Another Typical Data Process Suppose that this coffee was created by our average manual data process… Should I drink it?
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
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
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
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?
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
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.
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…
Automation – Manufacturing Manufacturing: • Production line • Prototype • Quality Assurance • Constant Improvement • Customer Feedback Finally, we need to define the automation experience.
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
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…
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
User Dislikes… • Limited access to data • Untested system updates • Iterative manual processes (do … until) • Overnight processes
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
Barriers to Efficiency Some givens: • Legacy systems • Contractual covenants • Organisational attitudes • Priorities These are the “easier” challenges…
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
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?
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
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
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!
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…
Conclusion Thanks for listening! Now for Q&A Enjoy responsibly