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Teach me: Determining the best processes to automate?

Community Team
Community Team

Hello Community!

I'm @Michael Shillingford, I joined the SS&C Blue Prism Community Team last week. I am new to the world of RPA, and so I thought that one of the best ways for me to learn (and to get to know some of you) would be to ask the people who do it every day. I'm hoping you can help me out!

Each month, I'd like to get your best practice advice on topics that are front of my mind. This month, I'd like to ask:

How do you determine what processes to automate in an organisation?

  • What are some of the key factors you consider when deciding whether or not a process can be automated?
  • Do you use any tools or frameworks that help you make that decision?
  • Are there any examples you can share from your own work, or from organisations that you admire?

Your expertise, wisdom and experience are very appreciated. And if you're at the beginning of your RPA journey like me, please feel free to drop in and say hello.

Thank you everyone!

(PS - I'm summoning some of our wonderful Community MVPs to share their thoughts: @_Amlansahoo, @Michael ONeil, @ritansh.jatwani, @EmersonF, @GopalBhaire, @devneetmohanty07, @Neeraj Kumar 💙)


This is from a recent presentation I gave:

Where can we use this internally? Where can our clients use this?

How to analyze your ideas:
  • Is this repetitive?
  • Can this process be defined using computer logic (objective only, no subjectivity)?
  • What is the difficulty involved:
    • Is RDP/Citrix involved?
    • Is it a system or interface that doesn't use windows or html elements?
    • Can these issues be solved with SendKeys (or other Surface Automations)
  • What is the benefit?
    • How much time is saved?
    • Can we increase frequency? (such as running a recon every day instead of once a week or once a month.)
    • Do we have a current issue with accuracy/compliance that this would alleviate?
*Remember, a 95% solution is just as good. A bot can throw exceptions out to a user to just handle the 5%.

I built automation for my previous job for almost 3 years.  I was a Fund Controller for Private Equity.  I think Finance is No. 1 for automation because every aspect from client onboarding to processing and reporting can be defined objectively and is absolutely repetitive.  Healthcare has seem to become No. 2 in RPA mainstream.  Beyond that, I think any company in any industry has the opportunity to benefit from RPA across their AR, AP, Accounting, and Financial Reporting just to start.  As they see the benefits and what RPA could do, they could easily come up with use cases for other ideas.  

Posting products (with images and prices) to websites.
Client/Vendor onboarding/approvals
Creating new users (Active Directory automation)

I have to go, but there is so much out there.

Have a good day, Michael, and welcome to SS&C.


Michael S. Annis


Michael Annis

Amazing, insightful response @MichaelAnnis1 - thank you so much. I especially love this:

"Do we have a current issue with accuracy/compliance that this would alleviate?"

​Robots reducing risk! There's a TV show in there somewhere...

Michael Shillingford

SS&C Blue Prism's Process Assessment Tool can come in handy while assessing automation candidates.

It provides sufficient data points and stats for the team to determine the potential of process automation.

Check it out here 

If I was of assistance, please vote for it to be the "Best Answer".

Thanks & Regards,
Tejaskumar Darji
Sr. Consultant-Technical Lead

Let's go with what Michael said:

If the process is repetitive;
What is the Difficulty/Complexity of the process;
If we are going to have to use third-party technologies, Citrix, Anti Captcha (Anything that involves cost or difficulty in development)

We try to follow a template for all automations as much as possible, seeking to list the points
Ex: Avoided cost, Problems with audits, compliance in execution, minimize errors, etc..
and Quantitative
Ex: Amount of Hours saved, Resources Released for a new function, avoided costs...

We always seek to have a good Discovery stage to really try to understand what needs to be done and what the real benefit is.
Some projects do not seem to be very favorable to profitable development, speaking on the other hand, there may be an added value that partially "replaces" the financial value

Emerson Ferreira
Cons, Intelligent automation
Avanade Brasil
If my answer helped you? Mark as useful!
Sr Cons at Avanade Brazil

Folks I love all this input, thank you so much!

So far I have learned:

  • A good discovery stage is crucial for any automation project, and helps identify both the feasibility and value of automating a process (thanks @EmersonF
  • The Process Assessment Tool can help to speed up that discovery phase! (Thanks @Tejaskumar_Darji
  • @MichaelAnnis1 provided some fantastic questions to ask during that phase too. Lots of asking why here, but it's also important to stop and think about the wider benefit this automation could have when building a case for it!

I'm also wondering if @Emma Kirby-Kidd would have anything to add from a ROM 2 (Robotic Operating Model version 2) perspective - is there a consideration towards the wider organisational vision for their digital workforce that comes into play here?

Michael Shillingford

One of my favourite subjects in ROM!! 

Whilst I'm a huge fan of the process and task mining tools there's so much more you can do before you get to this stage. 

Workshops, education, engaging SME/Stakeholder/Automation Champions, leveraging more tools at but a few area. 

We have lots of content available on ROM Hub around this topic but in it's purest form - Basic RPA this is a great start 


 and this 


Emma Kirby-Kidd
Global Head of ROM
SS&C Blue Prism

Level 15

I found this on the Portal:

There is also the Blue Prism Process Discovery Tool (PDT).

Don't get caught discounting processes from your pipeline because of technology barriers like Citrix or need for OCR,  or because of process complexity.   Blue Prism has a Citrix interface these days,   Abbyy and Blue Prism both do OCR but worth checking out some of the new AI stuff out there (check out for example),  and for really complex processes seek out a Rules/Decision Engine (Blue Prism has one but it is fairly pointless,  real ones include XpertRule,  Rainbird,, etc) - also Timeline and Celonis can help document processes.