Other parts of this series:
As we discussed in our previous blog, RPA offers many benefits and the list of promising candidates for RPA among insurance functions and processes is a long one. Many insurers, however, have yet to realize the full potential of RPA.
Implementing RPA effectively within and across an entire organization requires a balance of many things, including: the RPA operating model and organization design; effective governance of best practices, standards, and execution strategies; change management; and last but certainly not least, the approach to identifying, prioritizing, and selecting process candidates for automation.
Through our experience with RPA, we have developed a two-tiered approach that, we believe, delivers the best mix of tactical and strategic benefits. Insurers taking this approach can identify and address immediate opportunities, realizing quick victories and generating immediate cost savings while building momentum for more strategic and comprehensive operational transformation.
The first tier of this approach – and the most commonly recommended approach within the RPA community – is process-centric, meaning that individual process candidates are assessed, scored, and prioritized for automation primarily on their own merits. For example, the individual processes yielding the highest level of efficiency gains at the lowest level of complexity (implementation cost) would be prioritized. Assessment and prioritization are typically completed using a scoring and assessment framework that considers key factors like volumes, average processing time, complexity, and the number of FTEs allocated to the execution of the process. Other factors might include:
- The nature of the data involved. Paper-based, non-electronic processes are less attractive candidates for RPA than those already using digital data.
- The nature of inputs. Unstructured inputs (from external databases, social media and other sources) pose more problems than structured, internal inputs in standard formats.
- Whether the process is rules-based. Rules-based processes lend themselves more readily to RPA than do processes relying heavily upon human discretion.
- The number of exceptions handled in the process. Processes with few, relatively simple exceptions are easier to automate than those with many exceptions.
This first tier (process-centric) is usually the first and only approach that insurers follow. It yields benefits quickly and efficiently. However, pursuing only a process-centric approach can leave a significant amount of value on the table without enabling meaningful strategic transformation.
In the next blog in this series, we will describe the second tier of RPA implementation: exploring processes that historically have been performed by teams. Adding this tier can increase the value delivered by RPA.