In 2000, the largest recorded colony of ants was discovered stretching 6,000km from northern Italy to the Atlantic coast of Spain. Super colonies such as this are created by colonies taking over other colonies. Swarms of winged ‘alates’ depart the nest in search of other nests to take over making the colony bigger, and in the ant world bigger means better. And the bigger the colony, the higher the process volume. More food to bring in, more queens to protect, more eggs to lay…
One of the challenges facing the Robotic Process and Intelligent Automation world is how to provide smaller companies with the return on investment needed.
Robotic Process automation is about automating rules based digital processes. This traditionally means finding processes which are high in volume, low in complexity. Think processing orders, making payments and updating systems for instance. In massive companies with whole teams dedicated a few tasks, finding one simple rules-based process to automate can alleviate a massive amount of pressure giving back time for the team to do other more complex, and often more rewarding, tasks, delivering great value for all.
So imagine these super colonies of ants could make robots, robot ants! Or they could at least automate their processes. If Robot ants could take over just one simple task, such as collecting food (I don’t know how easy it is for ants to collect food I admit, it’s just an example), then that would free up millions billions of ants from food gathering duties. Allowing them to do other things like spreading and to take over other colonies (I know some anatomical changes would also need to happen, but that’s not the point) making their colony bigger and therefore, in this case, better.
In the smaller colonies however, that is much harder to achieve. You may only free up a few hundred ants from food collection duties and therefore when they try to take over a new colony they are defeated, stopping growth. With smaller companies you get smaller process volumes, the processes which you automate don’t necessarily deliver the same value in either money or time, often with teams doing a multitude of different tasks, with less structure to the processes or the data to automate. All of this makes the traditional deployment mentality of the larger consultancies, and bigger companies, a lot harder to achieve in the mid-market.
Does this in turn mean that my ambition of driving change in the mid-market through IA technologies is un-achievable? Well, no. In fact I think it has forced HCS to think outside the box and explore different ways to make it more achievable, while keeping it affordable and profitable for HCS. Like that old adage, necessity is the mother of invention, it is necessary for HCS to find more efficient ways to deliver value to its clients, and so far it is pushing more innovative and effective way of implementing.
We have had to look at more efficient or different ways of working in order to flex to the world around and the challenges of the mid-market. We have had to be ultra-efficient with the processes that have been automated and, to look at different processes which maybe aren’t your traditional RPA – transactional – processes delivering ROI over time, and we are seeing some great returns using RPA for reporting and analysis, as well Data Minimization tooling, two areas which aren’t your usual, transactional RPA processes but which can still deliver great insights and of course ROI.