Reengineering a Company’s Thoughts on IPA

IPA for organizations

SIG University Certified Intelligent Automation Professional (CIAP) program graduate Jamie Maiers discusses the benefits of  Intelligent Process Automation and the stakeholder management challenges of implementation.

Throughout history, companies have been constantly challenged to transform how they do business to gain efficiencies and stay competitive. Companies have done this by outsourcing, process reengineering, and now adopting IPA (intelligent process automation) technologies into their organization. Each of these objectives were projected to save money and provide efficiencies across the organization. 
However, these transformations have typically overpromised and underdelivered, leaving organizations disappointed in their investment. With organizations putting a strong focus on IPA tools, this gives us an opportunity to reevaluate our approach to assist our customers effectively.

Avoiding the Glass Ceiling

Throughout the course, we learned how organizations can hit a “glass ceiling” when implementing an IPA program that inhibits their growth ability. The glass ceiling is being hit when too much focus is on RPA (Robotic Process Automation) technologies on quantitative such as reducing headcount or saving money. Too much focus on primary quantitative benefits can lead an organization to conclude that they have maxed out using RPA technology. In reality, they are not even scratching the surface of the potential benefits it can provide.
This has reigned true in our organization as we have been primarily focused on tactical automation and return on hours saved. Due to this approach, we are running into several automation opportunities that are falling short in the quantitative value and, in turn, being passed as not good automation opportunities. 
Throughout this course, I learned the importance of focusing not only on quantitative value but also what qualitative value automation can bring to an organization. This does not always provide the instant gratification that leadership in the organization was expecting from RPA, but the long term can yield greater efficiencies within the organization.
Another critical factor in success is having a true partnership with the business and ensuring they understand their role. The course demonstrated the different roles in automation implementation and utilized this to determine roles owned by the business vs. the implementation team. 

The Importance of Strategic Relationships

Clearly defining roles and assigning roles is now part of the initial intake process of an idea in our organization. Identifying roles for businesses and holding them responsible has been instrumental in helping frame the message of the partnership and time commitment needed from the business. Understanding the pitfalls stated above and the different stages of an organization’s maturity have helped better assess our organization’s maturity. We have determined our organization is in the industrialization stage. This assessment has helped our organization put together concrete action items to continue to mature our organization's IPA program.
To support this approach, the IPA team will partner with the BPM (business process management) team for the initial analysis stage. The BPM team will be primarily responsible for the service delivery analyst, while the IPA team will do the intake process for tactical automation. This will provide quick wins for the organization and build momentum. At the same time, the BPM will focus on longer, more strategic engagements that will require potential process redesign before the process is automation-ready.
This stage starts with targeting groups within our organization that we have executive support and ensuring that we are educating the leaders on the capabilities of RPA, as well as the partnership required between the IPA team and the business. The businesses we support need to be open to process redesign to maximize the benefits automation has available.
Having this strategic partnership is key to a successful IPA program within an organization and is critical to focus on as we move through this industrialization stage of IPA maturity. Building these partnerships will allow for more investment in the success of RPA by the business. In turn, we are providing the leverage needed to explore additional IPA tools to continue to mature the program.

The Certified Intelligent Automation Professional program is a six-week course delivered through SIG University’s unique education platform. Visit our website to learn more about intelligent process automation and enroll for the upcoming semester.


Jamie Maiers, System Analyst, Allegis Group

Jamie Maiers has worked in the IT space for six years, primarily in analyst/tester role. Spent two years consulting on financial software. Transitioned to internal IT role and supported the implementation of Cash Management model into our ERP system. Spent the last two years working on RPA team as the analyst and scrum mastering the team. Initially focused on implementing RPA within the payroll operations but now focused on expanding out across the organization.