/ 21 June 2024

Corporates shift from working inefficiently to working in-efficiency with Ciba RPA, process mining

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The combination of robotic process automation (RPA) and process mining effectively takes the labour out of problem-solving in process management and adds the value back into the workforce. Sean Ammon, Founder and Managing Director of Ciba Industries, explains how this process unlocks next-level efficiencies.

In business, the integration of RPA process mining into operations is not just a lip service trend; it’s a move that corporates are making for transformative efficiency. The inclusion of software bot power in discovering, monitoring and improving business processes presents management with a path to rapidly identify and smartly resolve core challenges in their organisation.

In today’s intelligent automation ecosystems, the biggest challenge about automating is to understand what exactly to automate. This is often where companies get it wrong as they try to automate anything and end up automating processes that have no value. Businesses also fall short when implementing automation in ways that are too complex.

Taking a step back, inefficiencies and shortfalls can be dealt with in a few ways, for instance, via automation, training, reconfiguration or downsizing. But the benefit of starting with process automation is so much more than what the alternate routes offer, as it allows businesses insight to make good business decisions.

The approach enables us to drill down into a company’s processes at a granular level. For example, allowing a business leadership team to meticulously map out the workflows from person to person and activity to activity, and enabling them to identify where the true bottlenecks lie, quantitatively and qualitatively.

Making sense with process mining and automation

Process mining was historically done manually to source data captured by enterprise systems (like ERP, CRM and BPM systems) for a detailed, data-driven view of business processes, enabling organisations to gain insights into how their processes were performing and where improvements could be made.

Today, it’s become a smart space as we have intelligent automation toolsets through which we can immediately ingest the data. By adding RPA into the process behind the legacy methodology, we can ably operate in the business of smart efficiency.

A good example of this can be seen in a use case involving a South African telecommunications company that faced a significant challenge with their device returns process, which had an average turnaround time of 54 days.

Working with the company on a quick turnaround data-led journey, Ciba identified this critical bottleneck affecting customer satisfaction. Then, by automating specific segments of this process and optimising interactions with third-party service providers, the telco reduced the turnaround time dramatically.

Such a change not only enhanced customer retention, but also serves as a lesson in the targeted application of automation.

Strategies for effective implementation

Start with a proof of concept (POC). This allows companies to test the waters with their specific datasets in a controlled environment, seeing firsthand the potential enhancements that can be realised – and what to consider in realising these gains.

Other considerations when looking for improvement:

Selective automation for maximum impact: Focusing on high-value, high-volume tasks for automation ensures the efforts are not just about reducing workload, but about enhancing productivity and effectiveness.

Continuous improvement through data insights: Integrating continuous feedback mechanisms through data analytics ensures that process improvements are not static but evolve with changing business needs and market conditions.

Leadership and visionary oversight: There is deep value in senior management leading these projects in partnership with middle management and their people. The process itself is insightful and can empower productivity for entire teams.

Collaborative efforts and expert partnerships: Working with experienced partners in the field can ensure that efficiencies are not only identified, but unlocked in daily workflows. The process itself is not a plug-and-play solution, and experience truly does make a difference to delivery.

Ciba is a partner of one of the international leaders in this space and is motivated by the actual efficiencies it has seen unlocked in large organisations. Without a doubt, the company believes that the implementation of RPA and process mining has the potential to revolutionise how we operate as South African businesses.