Business activity must not only be efficient, subject to quality standards and use cutting-edge tools and know-how, but it must also be able to measure his own overall performance.
In fact, a company that is unable to monitor productivity trends, profits or other factors characterizing its business will hardly be able to identify which elements to alter in order to optimize activities.
KPIs in a process automation activity
When initiating a process automation activity, it is crucial to know what the performance indicators and their targets are, so as to compare them with the results that are obtained once the implementation is completed. This criterion, applicable to every single sector of a company, will allow the monitoring and, therefore, the evaluation of the innovations made.
Now, let’s examine what a KPI is, how it is implemented and what its fields of use are.
KPI stands for key performance indicator. It is nothing more than a measure of the efficiency of business activities and can be used across the company, from the marketing department to the operational department, the IT department to that of human resources. It includes general indicators, which will measure the volume of work, to those evaluating quality, cost and service and time indicators, which will give more details. In this way, it is possible to identify which objectives have been achieved and which have not, and the reason for this.
Characteristics of a key performance indicator
A KPI must be expressed numerically. This will make it possible to detect, for example, the TMG, or the average management time of an activity. In this way, you can compare the time expended by two employees in carrying out the same activity, and evaluate their greater or lesser efficiency;
Once you know the shortest period of time needed to carry out a specific activity, you will be able to estimate how many times the same task can be repeated in a given period of time. This will make it possible to monitor and, if necessary, optimize the productivity of the staff involved;
- Relating to the business context
Along with the average handle time, it will be appropriate to use other indicators relevant for the evaluation of an employee, such as, for example, those that measure the quality and accuracy of the results obtained.
Identification of targets
Once the key performance indicators most suitable for the correct evaluation of an activity have been identified, it is necessary to determine the targets. These, in turn, must be:
- Realistic and achievable
A goal that is difficult to achieve or even unattainable is inadequate and will not be motivating. In terms of time, keeping the quality of your results unchanged can be considered as such, an objective that provides for a saving of 10%. In any case, to establish a target with knowledge of the facts, it will be useful to monitor the KPIs involved, even for a short period of time;
A goal must be achieved in a fixed period of time because, once achieved, one can set another objective and, in this way, step by step, always obtain greater efficiency. Therefore, it will not make sense to set a target that does not have a deadline and this should be set according to the priority occupied in the context of the company activity.
How to identify the right KPIs
To achieve strategic objectives that have a positive impact on the company, it is useful to select the most suitable KPIs through a careful study. Therefore, identify the processes of your business, making these measurable and controllable, because to improve the performance and productivity of a company, it is essential to understand its modus operandi. Then, set the targets of each KPI which, if adequate, will represent real motivational levers.
Let’s take, for example, the definition and evaluation of KPIs in a specific area, such as data entry, data management or date entry and assume that a company needs to transfer documents, or part of them, from a PDF format (portable document format) to its web portal, so that its customers can be constantly informed about the evolution of a product or service or, even, of the market. In this case, we might have:
- A quantitative KPI. The TMG, which will measure the time taken by the staff to transfer the information contained in the PDF onto the company website;
- A qualitative KPI. The QSC or Quality Scorecard, which will evaluate the quality of the activity, expressing as a percentage the ratio between the number of transcription errors and the total data reported.
Now, let’s imagine implementing an intelligent AIR automation solution, or advanced image recognition, capable of reading PDF documents and copying them, in whole or in part, onto the company portal, according to predefined rules. Obviously, after the test that certifies its operation, while remaining with the same KPIs, it no longer makes sense to refer to targets relating to non-automated activities. Thus, we will stick to casuistry to which the TMG is reduced from 15 minutes, relating to human activity, to just 3 minutes, used by the bot. Furthermore, the latter remains operational 24 hours a day and seven days a week, therefore the productivity indices, on a temporal basis, will grow exponentially.
The same applies to the quality target, as the bot will not make typing errors.
The implementation of intelligent solutions must, therefore, ensure the immediate improvement of the targets for each KPI, but it will be crucial, especially for key business processes, to prepare them for efficiency, aimed at constant growth in productivity.
In conclusion, the implementation of a quick win project will allow you to understand the potential of the technology of intelligent solutions and will be preparatory to the installation of increasingly complex processes and the consequent disruptive increase in productivity guaranteed by the bot.