False Myth – Process Automation Projects are “One Size Fits All”

False Myth – Process Automation Projects are “One Size Fits All”

A frequent question we encounter is whether, after developing automation for a specific process for one client, we can easily replicate it for another. This notion is, in fact, a misconception. Although there is a certain degree of technological reuse and knowledge transfer, the reality is more complex than it appears.

Business Process Automation (BPA) includes both strategic and operational consulting methodologies, and a set of technologies, such as RPA and AI, among others, which assist in the implementation and deployment of automations. BPA deals with three variables within organizations: people, processes, and systems. Being dynamic, these variables are constantly evolving to meet internal and external challenges. This adaptability is essential; without it, the organization would become a monolith, unable to adjust to meet its clients’ needs.

I will share how we arrived at this conclusion. In the early days of process automation, as our founding team embarked on projects for various clients, we noticed that ERPs often became the focus of automations. This led to the idea of standardizing or creating a standardized automated solution. The result? We found that a disproportionate amount of time and effort was required to achieve an unsatisfactory level of standardization.

This experience, along with others, led us to deep reflection, culminating in a significant revelation. ERPs and other systems that automations interact with are designed to be generic, aiming to cover a wide range of use cases to accommodate as many clients as possible within a certain niche. Adapting a generic system to the three variables — people, processes, and systems — of an organization requires a significant adaptation process. There are more advanced products that can meet specific needs, depending on the niche, industry, and operational context. When this is not feasible, customizing generic software becomes an alternative, albeit at a high cost. Specialized ERP consultancies, such as SAP and SAGE, are prime examples, offering installation, customization, and support. This case illustrates the point, but the reality extends to other areas, such as CRM, document management, among others.

Given this scenario and the inherent costs, who has filled the gap between generic software and the dynamic variables of companies? Precisely, the people, the first dynamic variable. Then come the processes, the second, which help delineate, simplify, and standardize tasks around these systems. And the other systems, the third variable, exchanging data with other software, complete the picture. Thus, we conclude that these three variables are interconnected and cannot function in isolation or independently. Any change in one will affect the others.

So, why can’t we simply reuse automation from one client for another? Automations aim to reduce human intervention in processes, while these vary between organizations and influence how processes are operationalized, modified, and created, as well as how they interact with systems. Therefore, transferring business process automations directly between organizations without adaptations is impractical, except in very basic cases, where the added value also tends to be limited.

Let’s consider a concrete example: the processing of supplier invoices, assuming the process and system variables are identical. The human variable, due to its creativity, will adapt the process in the most efficient and convenient way for them. Even in this scenario, adjustments will be necessary, as organizations do not share the same suppliers, requiring customizations to address specific peculiarities.

In summary, the idea that an automation solution can be easily transferred from one context to another without adjustments proves to be a myth in practice. The inherent differences in the variables of people, processes, and systems between organizations make each Business Process Automation (BPA) project a unique challenge. Recognizing this is essential to managing expectations realistically and ensuring that automation solutions are truly effective and aligned with the specific needs of each client. The key to success lies in customization and careful adaptation, emphasizing that, in process automation, the “one size fits all” approach simply does not exist.

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By integrating automation into your company, you can achieve more with less, avoiding the bottleneck often caused by employees execution and laying the groundwork for sustainable growth. On average, our clients see a 60% reduction in process costs and a 70% increase in execution speed for each process we automate. They also benefit from the complete elimination of human errors and the ability to scale execution as needed, given the flexibility to add more execution agents at any moment.

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