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Chapter 1

Are You Getting the Most from Your Digital Workforce?

Organizations often struggle to stay aware of new technological solutions on the horizon. They’re so busy worrying about revenue streams and quick wins that they often fall behind on the automation trends that could give new meaning to the word ‘success’.

Success starts with defining how it looks for your business.

It’s clear the business case for intelligent automation (IA) and RPA improves exponentially when you scale your automation program – provided you solve the right problems and run the program cost-effectively.

But there’s often already a gap in ambition or time spent to get there. Many organizations don’t even have a vision or defined targets, and if business leaders settle for a mediocre result, that’s normally where the business will end up.

So, what does success look like for the best?

Many SS&C Blue Prism customers have been running automation programs for years, achieving 10-20x return on investment (ROI) (meaning each invested dollar gives $10-20 back).

Strangely enough, not all organizations measure ROI — but they should.

Are you getting the most from your workforce

Automation metrics

The one automation metric most organizations measure is “hours back to the business”. It doesn’t say a lot on its own, but if you compare it to the number of employees in your organization, it lets you benchmark against other organizations and between departments within your own.

Measuring the hours back is a good first step, but once you’ve reached that stage, you’ll want to look at more value-driven prospects. These values are sometimes less obvious – such as customer experience – but drive a huge impact on your organization’s future success.

What does great look like? We have a customer where 30% of the work in the entire organization is executed by the digital workforce — intelligent automation software using artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to execute tasks and streamline processes for better efficiency.

Measuring Your Success

We also see where organizations achieve even higher numbers of work done by their digital workers in one or two departments, where they’ve focused on making those “automation first” departments. There are examples of finance and procurement departments where around 50% of the work is done by digital workers to improve accuracy, efficiency and cost savings.

If you believe that what’s measured gets done, and you want to incentivize your employees with some healthy competition, initiate a competition between different units in your organization to measure the percentage of work done by the digital workforce.

Not only is this a fun exercise, but it also helps everyone in the organization see the value of digital workers.

Measuring Other Successes

Speaking of measuring – a lot of organizations don’t even measure and report the biggest benefits of automation! Measuring success is not easy, and it’s very common among organizations using automation to think of “hours back to the business” as the only success metric.

Risk mitigation and compliance

Consider risk mitigation and compliance as an example. Does your organization measure and report on the potential cost avoidance and lower risk for reputation damage that your digital workforce brings? Digital workers help with accuracy and real-time results.

Employee experience

The war for talent is a top priority, and people are happier when they get to use their full capacity at work rather than spending time on tedious administration tasks.

Are you measuring employee satisfaction before and after automation? If not, it’s time you start.

Consider how you can save your people’s health and money by using digital workers to reduce peak workloads. Digital workers mean less overtime and sickness costs, in addition to an improved employee experience score.

Customer experience

How does the digital workforce help your customers? If you’re calculating hours back to the business, why not also calculate and report on hours back to customers?

A very important aspect is time saved by faster processes and no errors or rework, which of course benefits the business as well as the employee experience.


Sustainability is rightfully at the top of the agenda for most organizations nowadays. You should be able to calculate and report on your digital workforce’s impact on sustainability.

That can be from small things, like saving paper and office space, to big things, like reducing carbon emissions by using intelligent automation for smarter routing of transports or better usage of stock and materials.

In summary, your digital workforce probably delivers more business benefits than you’re currently calculating and reporting on.


Return on investment (ROI) also has a cost side.

Automation done right brings many advantages: it’s relatively easy to get started and it often brings high savings. It’s quite tempting for organizations to just get going, without planning for quality and cost-efficiency.

But not looking at the quality and cost side will come back to bite you after a couple of years with automation. The promise is to be quick, agile and cost-efficient, and if you end up with too expensive of operations and maintenance, that benefit disappears.

That’s why you need an automation methodology.

Performance indicators

If you want to find out if you’re being cost-efficient compared to others, look at performance indicators like the hours saved compared to the number of people working in your automation program, and hours saved per digital worker license.

The best performing organizations are saving ten full-time equivalents (FTE) per person working with automations, and the same number of saved FTEs per license.

Now that’s efficiency.

Establishing an Automation Methodology

To reach that level of efficiency, you’ll need to put a lot of effort into your automation methodology. Look at automating the automation work: have a great collaboration between your business departments, IT and automation team.

You should also consider automating as much as possible of the automation work itself. It goes without saying, but reuse is key here. The more reuse, the shorter the development time.


Reuse isn’t only important when developing automations – it matters in the process discovery phase, too. For example, the automated documentation processing can be highly modular and reusable.


Another cost driver you should look out for is the quality of your automations. A good way to look at this is by measuring the success rate for the estate of automations. If you have a success rate below 93%, you should investigate how to increase this.

Ideally, you should have an average success rate of around 98%.

All of this goes back to what you want to achieve with your automation program, and how you measure and drive your staff.

For example, if you focus on the number of automations, you’re at risk of getting automations with low ROI. And if you measure your developers on the number of automations, you need to ensure your development methodology enforces a strong sense of quality. Otherwise, their biggest drive will be to create as many automations as possible instead of good quality automations.

So, whether you’re new to intelligent automation, or you’ve done it for a while and you’re just looking for ways to improve, remember to think about your ROI and your why. What problems do you want to solve and what do you want to achieve as an organization?


About the Author

Alexis Veenendaal

Alexis Veenendaal is an Associate Content Writer and Editor at SS&C Blue Prism. She’ll tell you all the cool tips and tricks for implementing intelligent automation into your workplace. She has lived and worked internationally as a professional writer and designer for nearly a decade after graduating from the University of Lethbridge for English Literature. Her personal pursuits include authoring books and digital cartography.

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Next: Chapter 2

How To Use an IA & RPA Maturity Model

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