Digital process automation (DPA) is a key component of a successful digital transformation. Organizations across all industries rely heavily on this technology—in fact, analysts estimate organizations spend $12.7 billion per year on automation initiatives. But for many businesses, the investment is missing a key ingredient for success—an airtight process visibility strategy.
While digital process automation is a powerful way to reduce costs and improve efficiency, the practice is only as successful as its reporting strategy. Many organizations still rely on manual reporting tactics like spreadsheets and other ad hoc techniques. This lack of strategic vision can have an adverse impact on your digital transformation efforts.
Here are five ways poor visibility can wreak havoc on an organization’s process automation strategy:
Inaccurate goals or KPIs
The modern trend of “big data” has created a whirlwind of information, making it easy to fall down the data rabbit hole. Having access to too much information is almost as bad as not having enough of it. The result? Many organizations have access to analytics, but they fail to focus on the right intel.
Make sure the key performance indicators (KPIs) in your process monitoring strategy relate to specific overarching goals. Real-time dashboards can pare down the data deluge into precise and actionable analytics. For instance, “do a better job managing customer service calls” is an elusive objective. By creating concrete goals tied to specific metrics like “reach an average of 3 minutes per customer for inbound customer service calls,” you can track the process metrics that most impact your organization’s bottom line.
Many organizations still rely on weekly, monthly, or quarterly reports to guide their decision-making. By this time, small issues have snowballed into significant problems.
For instance, consider a banking professional who compiles a monthly report of customers who abandoned an online account opening application. If only viewed once every 30 days, they could easily miss the reason behind a precipitous drop in new customers. Real-time visibility into processes linked to this app would immediately alert them of a potential issue—like a broken button or improperly connected form field—so they can intervene before a potential catastrophe.
Analog supplements to automated processes
Broken or ineffective processes slow down productivity and create a significant revenue drain. Crystal clear visibility into your organizational processes shines the spotlight on any gaps. Often, employees supplement a broken step in an automation with their own analog activities. What would have been a fast task is replaced by meandering email chains, hand calculations, or a wild-goose chase to track down information. Without a strategic plan, there’s no way of knowing where these time drains are located.
Improperly allocated resources
Accurate process performance insights allow managers to make personnel decisions based on historical trends. For instance, a credit card company may add more staff to their support team during high-transaction seasons like the holidays. Without proper visibility into statistics like number of incoming calls or average time spent per customer, managers cannot allocate the right number of resources needed to maintain customer satisfaction.
Increased employee training time
In some instances, lack of process documentation has a latent trickle-down effect. An integral employee might supplement ineffective or broken processes with a myriad of undocumented manual processes. Once they depart the company, they leave other employees scrambling trying to figure out how things were done. This internal learning curve contributes to a skyrocketing cost in training of new personnel and sets back company productivity by months.
By properly documenting how processes move through your organization, you can easily map and monitor how employees handle their responsibilities. Project hand-offs can move fluidly between employees, ensuring your organization is always running on all cylinders.
Digital process automation isn’t a “set-it-and-forget-it” strategy. It’s an ongoing practice that requires consistent monitoring and fine-tuning. Manual reporting makes it nearly impossible to track and optimize automated processes. Teams need crystal clear visibility into their process activity like real-time dashboards, log analysis, and a consistent and strategic reporting schedule. Without it, they’re unable to correctly diagnose bottlenecks and judge overall performance.