Juniper is the Director of Client Development at ReSource Pro and Justin is the Manager of ReSource Pro’s Digital Insurance Lab.
Automation is a powerful tool that can help insurance agencies meet client needs faster and with greater accuracy, as well as free up employees to focus on higher value activities. But do you have a full view of the cost, steps, and time required to develop, customize, and manage bots? Here’s what you need to consider to make the most of this technology.
Do you know which tasks to automate?
Many agencies want to automate but don’t know where to begin. When thinking about where to deploy automation, it’s helpful to create a list of tasks that tend to create the biggest drain on your staff. In other words, which tasks are high-volume, repetitive, and time consuming, or have a clear decision tree (aka rule based)? These may be opportunities to deploy automation.
Next, think about whether automating these tasks is practical. Automation isn’t flexible, and procedures written for bots must be meticulous. Whereas people completing a task can see if something looks wrong and fix it on the spot, a bot will keep going until a person notices and intervenes. That’s why it’s best to focus on automating tasks that:
- Are well defined and do not change often
- Involve rule-based decisioning, rather than judgement-based decisioning
- Use digital, structured data, rather than analog, unstructured data
Have you prepared your employees?
When deploying automation, some organizations become so focused on the robots that change management for humans falls through the cracks. As with any other change, bringing automation into your agency will require developing a change readiness and communication strategy for your employees. Your staff will want to know why the automation is being deployed, how it benefits the organization, and what the impact is to their role. You should also communicate how the technology will be deployed and what the desired outcomes are.
Ideally, employees should be directly involved in automation process selection and deployment. This provides a dual benefit. First, it helps you identify where automation will have the greatest impact on your organization. At the same time, it helps your employees understand how the technology interacts with and ultimately enhances their role by reducing the need to perform low-value activities.
Are you aware of the total cost of automation ownership?
Automation could be more expensive than you think. While most organizations do a fair job of assessing the upfront costs of automation, they sometimes underestimate the cost and effort of ongoing maintenance. Bots break, and even a small deviation in a procedure (like a changed field on a carrier site) can disrupt them entirely. It’s important to factor in the cost of fixing these problems. You should also consider whether there will be any ongoing license costs for your automation tools and platforms.
When it comes to upfront costs, ensure you are including factors such as:
- Internal labor costs, such as business, technology, procurement, legal, management/governance overheads, costs of change, and communication management
- External service provider costs—depending on the third-party engagement model
- License cost of automation tools/platforms
- Development, testing costs, and the cost of production deployment (“Death Valley”)
Find the help you need to get started
Getting started with automation can seem like a monumental task. The right partner can help you determine what your organization needs to start benefitting from this powerful technology, then build and manage the tools for you. Read our blog and get in touch to learn about our automation-enabled business process management approach and how it overcomes the limits of traditional robotic process automation.