How to Do RPA Business Analysis?

by Gül Yüksel
3 months ago
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Definition of the ``Process``

A process is a series of interrelated actions that follow each other and deliver value towards a goal.

It is an essential institutionalized step for the sustainable development of the company in a highly competitive industry and is one of the critical stages of a company’s growth. Institutionalization is related to the improvement of processes. To carry out all activities, effective process management must be established.

The process definition is an essential reference for a healthy and correctly defined process. As a result, we can say which activities are processes and which are not.

    • Project-wide work cannot be defined as a process. There is no sequential or repetitive workflow as this work is done only throughout the project. On the other hand, the output of a project may be a newly defined or developed process.

    • Jobs executed in a different order each time, not conducted systematically, cannot be defined as a process.

    • It is not a one-step business process that does not involve multiple activities.

    • Activities that cannot be associated with other company processes as inputs and outputs and that do not create added value cannot be defined as processes.

Process management consists of many stages, including the organization of interrelated processes within the framework of company activities, the documentation, and the execution of activities such as performance measurement. Procedures vary by industry. For this reason, process chains such as using department-specific templates, organizing workshops with managers, and recording the activities or actions conducted are discussed within the process management framework. Studies such as the preparation of process models and company or department-specific process documents are also the responsibility of process management.

Having Full Knowledge About The Process

Before starting a process that is approved for compliance with RPA, it should be researched which department of which sector will do business. In addition, information should be collected by asking the process owner what the relevant unit does. To whom, what, and how is the process to be worked on is addressed; Starting the revolution without knowing very well what it aims and solves will lead to gaps between the lines in the documentation and the technical side improvements. Of course, the only condition in process dominance is not knowing the work done.

In the RPA process to be worked on, it is also vital that the person concerned (the person who is the owner of the job/process, who does this job and now wants to transfer his position to robotic automation) moves his/her work to the RPA business analyst completely and correctly, together with the errors he/she encounters. In addition, it is a healthy choice regarding functioning, not avoiding the questions asked, and providing end-to-end support to the process.

At the approval stage of the documented process, the request of the person concerned to correct the deficiencies/errors by examining the process analysis document in detail is also significant for the progress of the process. Constantly changing a process that was approved and started to be developed without careful examination by the person concerned due to frequent revisions is nothing but a waste of money, effort, and time.

Business Analysis and RPA Business Analysis

Business analyst: evaluates an organization’s business processes, anticipating needs, uncovering improvement areas, and developing solutions. Identify the needs of a project or program and communicate them to managers and partners. It works to develop technical solutions to business problems or to advance a company’s sales efforts.

If RPA is a business analyst, he conducts many interviews to set up the right team and sit down with the right people. Uses communication, problem solving and analytical-critical thinking skills in more than one field (sector-based). Following these, it organizes the meetings and meeting minutes and strives to achieve the desired results with the active participation of the participants.

On the other hand, during the compliance of RPA to the process, establishing communication regarding project management, documentation studies, observing and reporting the process, and all the while, it tries to stay with the customer.

Responsibilities of RPA Business Analysts

The responsibilities of the RPA business analyst role, which is an essential part of the RPA team, can be listed as follows:

    • Manages RPA Solution partner and external resources.

    • Makes the planning of maintenance and support processes.

    • Identify business processes that are potential candidates for automation and make assessments to prioritize them.

    • Documents business processes by creating the detailed process map required for an automation program.

    • Works closely with developers to make solution designs understandable and help build these projects.

    • Creates documents such as user acceptance tests (UAT) by identifying all process scenarios and expected outputs.

    • Acts as a bridge between the developer and the customer to solve the problems arising during the process’s development and testing in the automation adventure from end to end. Verifies/tests the developed solution.

    • Manages all the steps (collection of requirements, analysis, approval of user acceptance tests) from the request to go live.

    • By meeting the change requests (CR) in the existing processes ensures that the processes are always up-to-date and maintains regular communication with the process owners.

    • Keeps complete documentation of change requests on new and existing processes.

    • Prepares periodic reports for critical metrics of the application and processes.

    • By communicating the problems that may occur to the relevant team/solution partner, analyzing the root causes of the problems, offering permanent solutions to the problems, and reporting to the management if necessary for chronic cases.

In short, the day for an RPA business analyst; Many projects require working back and forth between workflows and meetings. Being able to follow and perform more than one job at the same time requires a good analysis and the ability to read between the lines and take notes quickly and legibly.

Basic Skills of an RPA Business Analyst in Analytical Projects

Business Knowledge: Deep understanding of business functions and specific areas analyzed.

Business Intelligence: Helps understand the importance of fundamental business principles and best practices across industries for reviewing organizational strategy.

Reliability and Ethics: It’s about what is and isn’t acceptable data use, whose data has legal implications, and what can be accessed or viewed and what isn’t.

Industry Knowledge: Used to understand practices and activities within an industry and similar processes across industries for organizational strategy.

Solution Knowledge: Solution knowledge is valuable when recommending various approaches based on technologies, analytical platforms, and future trends.

Systems Thinking: Helps holistically think about the interactions between people, processes, and technological aspects to propose a specific strategy.

Adaptability: Helps adjust the analysis approach as more data is uncovered, new insights are learned, or various levels of stakeholders are involved.

Organizational Information: It is useful when designing the strategy, considering the business’s management structure and architecture.

Knowledge of Methodology: Useful when developing an approach based on context, dependencies, opportunities, and constraints.

Collaboration, Facilitation, and Communication Skills: Effective collaboration with the right stakeholders requires effective communication skills. Facilitation skills are required to manage meetings, workshops, and other collaborations.

Interaction Skills: Helps facilitate interaction between multiple stakeholders involved in the process.

Analytical Thinking and Problem Solving: Helps solve problems efficiently and effectively. It involves methodical thinking that helps break complex problems into manageable components, find solutions, and make decisions.

Conceptual Thinking: Helps to combine abstract, significant, and potentially disparate information to arrive at an appropriate strategy.

Decision Making: It helps make an informed decision based on various criteria and objective evaluation.

Visualization Skills: Data storytelling and data visualization work together to provide clear, concise, and visually appealing communication.

Creative thinking: It helps to analyze various ideas and approaches to implement a particular strategy.

Analysis Skills: Basic skills in statistics are a basic understanding of data analytics. Additionally, this includes data science tools and technologies.

10 Features for Effective Process Analysis

  • Advanced Communication Skills

    To be truly effective at work, excellent communication skills are required. When communicating face-to-face, on the phone, or in writing, both the purpose should be explained, and the other party should be understood. The same should be valid for both one-on-one and group communication.

    So essentially, one must listen to understand, not just respond.

  • Early Clarity

    Information is often exchanged to quickly fill in the blank lines about a job/process. That’s why you should never be afraid to ask questions. Because the gaps/deficiencies that cannot be brought into the process can drag you to the cost overrun.

  • Time Allotted to Obtain Information about Stakeholders

    It should know which sector the process to be analyzed belongs to and in which departments of the company the team members to whom the process will be discussed work. If the process to be analyzed is an end-to-end RPA automation that has continuity and concerns the entire company, They should also know which team members are responsible for which parts of the project.

    It’s also helpful to get an idea of ​​the various leaders, partners, and sponsors.

  • Business Analysis Plan

    The requirements of the project should be defined, and realistic expectations should be determined. The business analysis plan should be considered as part of the overall project management plan and not as a separate plan and should be made in collaboration with the project manager.

  • Alternative Options

    One of the most critical parts of the job is to be willing to talk about possible problems with the process and highlight the pitfalls. Of course, the purpose here is not just to give bad news. Aim; It is “accept or reject.” It evaluates the merits of an option based on a parameter decision. It is imperative to offer solutions to these problems and to voice them even if they are not accepted. This can sometimes push you to be a lonely voice urging you to be careful or ask more complex questions.

  • 'Agile' Approach

    In Agile business analysis, requirements are collected and organized iteratively. In this iterative process, needs and user requests are planned, acceptance criteria are defined, prioritized, and developed, and results are reviewed. Agile business analysis; It aims to create the correct output by providing the right information to the development team in the proper detail at the right time.

    Although there is no critical change in the business analysis techniques used in the Agile approach, the usage patterns and timing of the methods are changing. One of the most significant advantages of business analysis applying the Agile approach is that frequent feedback is received from the business unit, and the results are reviewed with the business unit. Thus, risks are identified early in the project, and the right solution is developed.

  • Dealing with Virtual Teams

    A modern business analyst must be able to deal with the reality of facing many industries where technology has made remote working more feasible and more popular. As a result, it may be necessary to deal with virtual teams. The use of virtual work technology; comes with its own challenges, including grappling with differences in language, culture, and time zones.

  • An Active Role in Development

    A good RPA business analyst must continue to play an active role in managing scope changes from the moment the process approval is received until the delivery of the process. This can be achieved by supporting key team members, ensuring that their offerings meet the requirements defined earlier in the project lifecycle, and protecting against scope drift.

    During work on a process, a great way to improve the quality of your performance and result is to focus on solutions consciously. This means not focusing on blame when spotting mistakes. Instead, the focus should be on helping to make things right. In this way, a productive and beneficial attitude is displayed on the one hand. On the other hand, a better atmosphere is created for the project team, and unnecessary bad energies are prevented.

  • Performance Feedback(s)

    Finally, the best business analysts receive feedback on the project itself, as well as on their performance. The effective business analysis measures success so your value can be clearly demonstrated. To learn from this, one must be open to criticism. It also contributes to future performance improvement.

Process Analysis Step Flows

Compliance of the process with RPA should be checked.

• Can be explained with a specific workflow,

• It has a standard data structure,

• RPA compliance requirements for processes with defined variables;

o Relying on rules,

o Having repetitive/repetitive steps,

o Consisting of periodic and time-based transactions,

o Containing digital data,

o Being error prone.

Technical analysis should be done.

Technical analysis is the most crucial part of project development. With correct technical analysis, you can increase your project development speed. In technical analysis, the process must be broken down into small parts.

  • What is the brief description of the job?
  • What is the frequency of the work? (What times on which days?)
  • How many working hours does a person allocate for this job?
  • What is the error rate of this job?
  • Does the person doing the work make decisions cognitively? If it gives; How much of this process does it affect?
  • What are the applications/software or hardware used while doing business? (if any)
  • Is there file archiving?
  • Is external interaction required while the robot is running?

The most common problem encountered in this step is that the narrator, who owns the process, cannot explain his work due to professional blindness. For example, Problems arise due to the narrator’s forgetting to explain the errors he encounters on the screen (such as pop-ups, windows, extra tabs, pressing enter instead of the home button, double-clicking instead of a single click).

The applications that the robot will use should be tested.

Which applications the robot uses for the process should be determined, and it should be confirmed whether these environments are test environments. It should be checked whether data is processed/changed during the process or just information is read. It should be determined on which application (test/live) the development will be made. A username and password, if any, must be requested.

Authorization checks should be made.

If there is a lack of authority, these deficiencies should be identified before starting the developments. If there is, it should be reported to the system administrator and project managers, and it should be requested that the deficiencies of authority be corrected.

Process document must be filled.

In line with the questions and information obtained up to this stage, the learned work (process) should be documented using plenty of visuals.

If you are stuck at the point of writing the process, if your stomach hurts when you get to the head of the desk, if you have done your best not to register and listed all the excuses, you did not ask the right questions.

(Observation note: Every process narrator dreams of simply showing/describing the happy path and getting away with the happiness of handing over the workload to the robot.)

It is forwarded to the technical team.

The process, whose preliminary analysis and testing is completed, is explained to the technical team, and transferred to the robot.

 

After being tested, it is put live.

After the robot is tested and successful, it is taken to the live environment, and the customer is trained.

Top 5 Challenges in Process Analysis

Lack of Industry Knowledge

The RPA business analyst must collaborate with the user to understand the requirements. Domain knowledge plays a vital role in gaining a clear and complete understanding of the requirements. To abstract some event and concept patterns while writing the process document will make things fun and easy to obtain information about the sector currently being worked on.

In a few weeks, gaining expertise in the industry for which the process is written is impossible. But enough information can be gained in a few weeks to add value to the project.

Lack of Up-To-Date Processes

It takes much effort and mental fatigue to bring results. Following this, the lion’s share is the process of keeping the project up-to-date and developing it. Process documentation is often incomplete or has been approved by the customer without further review. These things prevent process compliance and delivery date.

Insufficient Involvement of Process Owners

One of the main success criteria for each project is the participation of the person (narrator) who wants to transfer his work to RPA. The most widespread problem here is that as a result of the person leaving the job in the middle of the project or changing the unit by rotation, someone less competent in the process is replaced. Here, the person who will tell the process becomes the person with the slightest command of the process, and the completion time of the process document is interrupted by frequently tampering with the rules.

Another problem encountered is that the person who will explain the process misses the meetings and often proposes revisions afterward. Here again, the project time is exceeded, and the completion time of both the document and the development is disrupted.

Another problem is that the department officials approve RPA without the approval of the unit employee. The main reason for the issues experienced with the person who oversees the process working in the business unit lies here. Employees who do not want to cooperate and cannot accept RPA, cause delays, incorrect or incomplete process transfer, logout issues, and even approval issues.

Conflict with Users

Sometimes you may find yourself in a situation where you cannot understand the user’s complaints. In some processes, rough feedback or complaints to the manager may occur during delivery, even if you have done the best work with your team. This can even lead to conflicts within the group. Here, the first attempt is to understand the resistance or the need for a new solution. Ensuring the person concerned understands the process, erroneous or missing parts can be passed over. Otherwise, it may take some time for you to understand some things.

Professionalism

Business analysts are one of the most under-appreciated, underpaid, and overlooked members of the IT world. It is suggested that they do not need technical skills. But on the contrary, they know how to maintain their business processes and are adept at managing the requirements technically. They often connect a connecting intermediary between a project’s technical and commercial aspects. They are people who contribute to the development of the project plan and support the project from beginning to end. They collaborate with developers to ensure that the project is built to the most up-to-date standards and meets the expectations of the business. They contribute to developing solutions that benefit the company and the customer, ensuring that the job is completed on time and to the required standards.

Summary

When starting an RPA process analysis, it is first decided whether the process is suitable for robotic automation. At this decision stage, the project manager and technical team are consulted by asking relevant questions to the customer who owns the process. Then the eligibility decision is made.

 

The analysis studies of the process, which is decided to be suitable for robotic process automation, are started, and the relevant process analysis document is filled. Here, the work step flow, which requires ensuring the process flow and accuracy, occurs due to work being scrutinized and touched frequently.

 

The approved process document is delivered to the technical team for further development. After development, process testing takes place. After completed tests, the process is taken a life, and the project is completed by giving unified console (UC) training to the customer (user).

REFERENCES

Business analysis blog. Business Analysis Blog. (2022, July 19). Retrieved August 29, 2022, from https://businessanalyst.techcanvass.com/

Extract data from PDF to Excel, CSV, JSON, read & generate PDF, Barcodes. ByteScout. (2022, February 17). Retrieved August 29, 2022, from https://bytescout.com/

Requirements, test management, Bug Tracking Tool. ReQtest. (n.d.). Retrieved August 29, 2022, from https://reqtest.com/