How BEER Helps Your RPA Strategy: A Journey Beyond FTEs and Towards Holistic Automation

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Hello there! I’m Alex. Alongside my team lead, Christoph, I found myself on a trailblazing journey. A journey that emerged from the financial sector and evolved to redefine how businesses perceive and harness robotic process automation (RPA). What was our beacon through this exploration? The BEER model; or, as we fondly define it, Business Evaluation and Efficiency Ranking. Allow me to share our story, the challenges we encountered and the innovative model we've developed. 


Our Humble Beginnings 

Christoph and I first merged our minds at Comdirect, an online banking pioneer. With the mission of establishing a Center of Excellence (CoE), we ventured forth with clarity and determination. Though our team was lean, our spirit and vision bore fruit, earning accolades aplenty. Destiny entwined our paths again, where the ambition was clear: to take our previous successes and elevate them. 

However, as our operations flourished, challenges mounted. With the ascent came the daunting task of choice — of determining which process to automate next. Initially, our compass pointed towards processes promising the highest Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) savings. Yet, we learned a valuable lesson: the world of automation transcended mere man-hour replacements. 


The Quest for a Comprehensive Solution 

The challenges posed were multi-dimensional. With finite resources and a burgeoning list of processes, prioritization became paramount. Which processes should wear the crown of automation next? Once the low-hanging fruits have been developed and implemented, focusing on FTE is no longer sufficient. RPA can do more and that should be measured. Enter, BEER. 

BEER emerged from a synergetic collaboration and was part of my master’s thesis at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. The objective was pristine: document processes meticulously and evaluate them on a holistic spectrum of metrics. These metrics included:

  • FTE (Full-Time Equivalent): Potential human resource reductions through automation.
  • Actual savings: Direct financial efficiencies quantified in FTE.  
  • Measurable: An integrated perspective combining FTE and actual savings.
  • Regulatory: Quantifying how automation buttresses compliance adherence.
  • Business enablement: Gauging how automation propels focus on core business operations.
  • Strategic: A blend of the regulatory and business enablement metrics.
  • Volatility: Addressing the inherent task volume fluctuations of specific processes.
  • Execution accuracy: A metric contrasting precision between manual and automated executions.
  • Capability: An amalgamation of volatility and execution accuracy capturing the essence of automation efficiency. 

These metrics were then scored, forming the backbone of BEER. A higher score seamlessly translated to higher automation precedence. 


BEER: An Evolution in RPA Strategy 

The beauty of BEER lies in its expansive vision. Rather than a unilateral focus, this model champions a panoramic view, meticulously evaluating processes during the documentation phase. By doing so, it not only identifies but prioritizes processes primed for automation.  

This method offers a structured, evidence-based approach, underlining the criticality of informed evaluations in RPA strategy formulation. In addition, the score is simple, transparent and has a broader approach than the existing methods based on "criticality (downtime)" and/or pure monetary considerations. Furthermore, it can also be collected independently of RPA and used across the enterprise.  


In Conclusion 

In the grand tapestry of RPA, BEER is more than a mere framework; it's a philosophy. It beckons businesses to look beyond mere cost-cutting and embrace the nuanced benefits of automation. As Christoph and I have discovered, the simplest of tools can often lead to the most transformative of journeys. 

Let BEER be your guiding star, and may your journey be strategic, enlightened and ever-evolving. Cheers! 🍻