Business leaders are finding it difficult to hire an automation expert for as the already huge shortage of experts in this space is only being worsened by the growing demand in the need for experts. The solution may be closer than you think – you can scale up your in-house automation programs by training and empowering your own staff.
Is training my own staff risky?
As a leader you may feel that relying on your existing staff to automate your processes is a risky approach, the common misconceptions are:
- What if my team can’t deliver robust solutions?
- What if the delivery is too slow?
- What if a bot is built wrong, goes rouge and takes over?
Whilst these are all valid concerns, nothing compares to building hands on expertise and knowledge within your team and to overcome staff shortages. Hiring a small team of experts is expensive process, and large external teams require considerable on-boarding to get acquainted with stakeholders and business processes and culture. Empowering your staff to do it themselves in a repeatable and controlled way is only advantageous for your company, it can be much faster, and keep budget spend down. Lean IA has reduced implementing automation into 22 repeatable steps, so you can execute automation yourself like a pro.
Once you have a method for upskilling and empowering existing staff, you’ll be able to scale this methodology out to other teams and build your own network of automation hubs, or squads (small automation team), to deliver projects faster, all controlled by you centrally. RPA will have a huge impact on business.
It works. Companies such as Deloitte have implemented RPA software to scale up to the equivalent of the manual work of hundreds of people. In their third annual robotics survey Deloitte asked organisations to complete a survey on their RPA use, they received responses from over 400 companies with the combined value of over £1,500 billion which shows growing awareness of robotics.
Le Chair the author of a recently published Forrester report entitled, “the RPA Market Has Reached a Defining Moment,” said, the “emerging mix of RPAs, API development, and — especially — intelligent automation will challenge IT decision makers”.
What is the really holding us back?
The big problem isn’t the technology, its cultural restraints. It’s getting over common pitfalls and challenges. For businesses to grow they need to excel their processes and speed up their solutions which can only be done by building their automation teams. The solo band of a hybrid developer analyst expert will not be able to compete against an upskilled in-house team, this is why training your staff will be a huge benefit.
Frequently asked questions on training existing staff with minimal automation expertise
It’s too powerful to leave unchecked and up to staff, we would have no control.
This is where the industry is headed. Automation software itself is fast progressing towards “citizen developers”, where RPA software is so simple and straight forward that it’s intuitive. UiPath conducted a survey in 2021 that found 40% of employers increased their investment in automation. Just like how excel became something everyone could learn to use effectively in a short timeframe. It is possible for staff to become developers within a matter of weeks, and with the right controls their skills advanced as they move from simple to more complex processes to automate. It’s the same for delivery, brand-new automation delivery teams can effectively run projects following a step-by-step process.
The learning curve is slow for newbies
Yes, it can be. Newbies may make the same mistakes repeatedly, but the majority of these mistakes are due to a handful of missteps which can be broken down to 3 root causes. Even experts can make these mistakes if one of these 3 things are missing:
- A repeatable execution process,
- Uniform team training
- A standardise toolkit
In reality not everything can be outsourced, staff need to be trained. Constructing a training framework with a controllable execution process which would allow you to uniformly train your team in under a month, with the use of a toolkit of templates and analysis tools for creating a robust intelligent automation strategy could help you speed up the process.
We have a 22-step process for enabling even newbies to execute like pros, here is a link to our eLearning portal which gives a complete upskill in the full automation lifecycle.
Will we save time and money by speeding up our delivery?
A slow delivery could end up wasting time and result in the need for experts to start again from scratch. It always takes a bit of time to get started with anything new, this is why having an expert on-site can really give your team a jumpstart and boost confidence. The number one thing that gets in the way of progress is not technology, is corporate culture and buy-in. Your existing staff will already have relationships with teams, know the processes, applications, and business processes. If you empower them with IA knowledge, they will turn into automation superheroes. The wider you cast knowledge of intelligent automation throughout your business the faster you can actually progress. The clearer your governance and roles and responsibilities are, the less wasted time going round in circles, chasing stakeholders and correcting mistakes by having to re-do work. Delivery becomes faster.
It’s a hard sell to get SLT to buy-in to an automation program led by an inexperienced team
This will change once you’ve onboarded staff by fast-tracked training. You can do this by acquiring a standardised toolkit with automation best practices built in, and by using tailored a repeatable execution process. Start with a small process to run through your governance model to demonstrate that you have complete control over automation activities. If you can actually deliver with a controlled repeatable process, you will be able to scale much faster than relying on a team of external experts. With these lower costs to scale (vs hiring larger external teams to scale) your team will be nimbler and boast much high Returns on investment. Larger external teams will eat into returns faster.
Is there a high risk for frequent mistakes and detrimental errors?
There may be a high risk for frequent mistakes and detrimental errors, technical debt and that no one in the team can QC check each other. A large majority of businesses have started doing this on their own but granted this gets them into hot water. What’s missing from new teams, and what separates them from professionals is just a handful of tools:
- A repeatable framework (for running projects)
- A clear governance model (so all team members knew their roles and responsibilities)
- Quality checkpoints
- Standardised templates (simple form filling to ensure correct data was captured)
What are the most common pitfalls at project level?
Whether you decided to train your existing staff, or hire external experts to do so, it’s advisable to look out for these pitfalls:
- A lack of senior business leader buy-in
- A lack of IT ownership and understanding
- Missing or unavailable data
- Staff’s resistance to change
We have discussed the most common issues found by introducing IA and following our 22 steps will help provide all of the solutions, it really is as simple as that.