The ROI of Process Automation - Part I

The ROI of Process Automation - Part I

Posted by Ray Mulligan on Mar 16, 2016 12:13:19 PM

The ROI of process automationWhy go through the costs and change that process automation projects bring?

Process automation projects, by definition, involve change. Change in process, job responsibilities, and generally “how we do things around here.” Resistance to change can often determine the degree of success a process automation project enjoys. That is one reason that your process automation project needs to have very clear and communicated objectives; otherwise, you very likely will run into resistance because the people closest to the change don’t understand what’s in it for them, and have a hard time answering the question, "are process automation projects worth it?"

The first step to measuaring the ROI of process automation is determining what problem(s) you are attempting to solve. These are some of the most common drivers for process automation projects:

  • Reduce costs by increasing efficiency
  • Increased capacity to support growth
  • Address inconsistent process quality
  • Reduce NIGO (Not-In-Good-Order) rates and number of rejected or re-work requests
  • Multiple forms of requests
  • High training costs as policies and practices change
  • New reporting requirements
  • Responding to compliance, regulatory or audit deficiencies
  • Staying competitive in attracting clients or employees
  • Reduce cycle times – responding to client demands

Often, clients share a combination of circumstances that motivate their decision to create new and better processes by leveraging automation. In fact, many of our clients have cited one or more of these reasons during implementation when we begin a new project. As a business partner and provider of business process automation solutions for onboarding, asset movement, managed accounts and more, our goal is to help our clients define their desired outcomes and measure them throughout the project. 

Even though it can be easy to communicate why they want to change, it can be difficult for firms to clarify what problems will be addressed in a specific implementation. As a result, there are often expectations that the software solution or application will somehow be a magical solution for all of the above, without specifically identifying the priorities and expectations.

In this blog series, we will take an in-depth look at each of these potential benefits, but let’s start with a  high-level survey of how we can think about the benefits—direct and indirect—of automating your firm’s brokerage operations.

3 Major Drivers of Change

Process automation is all about change. While the change is almost always anticipated to be for the better, it’s not always backed by realistic expectations. The three primary drivers for change are:

  1. Increase Efficiency / Reduce Costs – I put these two together, because in many ways they are opposite sides of the same coin.
  2. Backed Into a Corner – These include drivers such as regulatory, compliance or competitive realities that force change so that your firm remains viable.
  3. Product and/or Client Expectations – Your firm’s ability to thrive is dependent on being able to improve process quality, speed-to-market and gaining or maintaining a competitive advantage.

Over the next few weeks, we will be using these three broad catalysts for changes and will explore how the common problems that process automation solves fall into each one. We’ll also discuss how to evaluate the real return on investment for a process automation solution.

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Topics: Business Process Automation, Onboarding, Financial Services Industry

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