Behind the Automation Compass feat. Product Manager Valeria Romero Vargas

Behind the Automation Compass feat. Product Manager Valeria Romero Vargas

Published By : Cydney McCollum March 21, 2023
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Guest: Valeria Romero Vargas, Salient Processes Automation Compass Project Manager

Behind the Automation Compass feat. Product Manager Valeria Romero Vargas


This week we have a very special guest, Salient’s very own Project Manager, Valeria Romero Vargas. Valeria is the Project Manager for our one-of-a-kind solution, Automation Compass. During this episode, Valeria and Host Jimmy A. Hewitt will walk you through how Automation Compass works, the methodology behind the solution, and more.

 Last but not least.. Drumroll, please… We’re thrilled to announce that we’re hosting a giveaway on our podcast! That’s right. You heard it here first!

Tune in to this week’s episode and we will announce the winner next month on April 14th, 2023!

Watch Episode 23 now!

View the full Automation Compass Methodology

Follow along with the episode now!

Guest: Valeria Romero Vargas, Salient Processes Automation Compass Project Manager


Process Improvement based knowledge and interests

Project Management Experience


Industrial Engineer from University of Antioquia in Colombia

Business Analyst from UCLA, California

Currently Enrolled in the Innovation and Entrepreneur Program at Harvard University online


Started as an Analyst for Automation Compass

Her job was to map the documentation and understand the requirements that need to go with the tool

Used her project management background to approach her tasks from a project management perspective 

Progressively she gained more knowledge about the tool, the process, the customer base, and eventually landed the position of a Project Manager

Currently the Project Manager for Automation Compass

Which of your background experiences do you find yourself using most?

All of them equally. It’s a little bit of everything. 

The Project Manager side:

  • Her day job looks like figuring out what the next best fit and functionality is for automation compass. 
  • Working with the development team and coordinates the timeline for the development of the tool

The Engineer side: 

  • Meet with stakeholders
  • Keep in mind the prioritization, analysis, and optimization for the process of the development plans

The Analyst side:

  • Gather Data, Benefits, Analytics to understand how we can to meet customers needs

If you had to describe Automation Compass in two sentences, what would you say: 

“Automation Compass is a framework, not just a tool and not just a solution.. It’s a framework that when you apply all these elements together, it helps to speed up the process of process improvement to make it easier, smoother, faster, and that’s Automation Compass.” – Valeria Vargas

What are the three distinct modules within Automation Compass and how did you arrive at those three?

The Arrival

After conducting many interviews with customers and taking the experience from the analyst team who has worked with many clients in process mapping and identifying process improvement initiatives, we have identified the different entry points / steps of where the client is at in their process improvement journey. 

There is nothing right or wrong with being at either of these entry points, it is about determining where you are and how your company takes this into consideration for the daily practice in the operational experience 

Identifying the different reasons for why the entry points were created: 

We could be working with an operational experience team that has the idea of I want to improve the processes for my company” and that’s their entry point, so they are looking for the ideas in the processes and then linking this back to the strategy.

The company’s strategy actually triggers the initiative for improvement, so this requires us to find and implement improvements in these areas, so that’s starting from the top.

The third idea is more like starting from the community. You have a powerful community of knowledge of your processes that is in the company, those that are every day working in the different areas has tons of ideas on how to improve, process and capturing those ideas, analyzing and placing them and then connecting them with the rest of the strategic and initiatives, that’s our third entry point.

Once we identify that, and then either if you start from a bottom to top approach or a top to bottom approach- it usually involves the same steps that are 

  • Identify what is the opportunity 
  • Aligning with the strategy
  • Analyzing 
  • Creating a business case 
  • Implementing the opportunity

We were trying to cover all those different things inside the application when we realized that not everyone needs everything at the same time because of whatever your is practice at that time. That’s why we decided to break down the tool into three different models. 

The Modules

Module 1: Business Architecture- Involves levels of maturity. 

Level 3

  • It means you may have a full mature business architecture practice in the company and you may have 
    • Value streams
    • A fully capability map decomposing in 3-4 levels going into the details of the processes details and the steps of each process.
    • Organizational charts
    • Value chains
    • Mission, vision, values, objectives for the company 

Level 2

  • Maybe you have the vision of the end to end process or a value chain for your company (Not documented).You know how the value starts, how to get it transformed and delivered to your stakeholders. You have a lot of goals and objectives for your company. 

Level 1

  • You don’t have an end to end vision or you don’t have a whole capability map, but you have goals as a company.Every company has goals made with the intention to improve, survive or sustain in that time. You have basic goals that will drive your decisions for where and how to improve in your company.


Module 2: Opportunity Tracking aka “Transformation Model” 

You have opportunities or ideas for process improvement

The intention is to this model is to analyze where is the impact of this opportunity in a financial impact

  • ROI 
  • Payback time
  • Cost/Benefit ratio 
  • Etc. 

Depending on what the metrics are for your company, analyze your automation opportunities in terms of those metrics. It’s important to also keep in mind the soft benefits such as

  • Customer satisfaction 
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Employee retention
  • Risk reduction
  • Compliance 
  • Etc. 

There could be many benefits that an opportunity has for your company that isnt a financial benefit but still needs to be measured and tracked.

The Opportunity Lifecycle

  • 1. Idea
  • 2. Review and improve
  • 3. Planning 
  • 4. Deploy
  • 5. Monitor

Once it is deployed and then you close the life cycle. The intent of the transformation model is to help to track the lifecycle of an opportunity.

Now you may ask what’s the difference then between this model and our project management? It is complementary, but we are not trying to replace a project management tool in this particular model because this is not a project management tool.

We are not creating tasks,user stories, tickets, etc. 

We do want to track is capturing the ideas in a central place, how to analyze all of them and prioritize them so you can choose what your next process improvement project is to assign the proper resources. 

That’s the prioritization and the financial factor aligning this with the strategy. It’s something that is completely different from a project management tool.

  • We do want to integrate with project management tools that once your project is in progress and you want to now have your IT team or your software provider to work in that new implementation you will need to connect the software with the project management tool. We work together instead of competing.

Module 3: Process Analyzer 

The intention of this model is to see the “what-ifs” of the process changes and see the outcome that you will get. If you are looking to find “What-Ifs’ then we have 

  • Discovery: This module is to help you find the right automation technology for your processes which you can then visualize this as a simulation 

  • Simulation: This will help you to identify what the impact of those changes will be. You can see if the process will be improved, if there is reduced efficiency, wait time, etc. You can view over 1000 different scenarios 

  • Quantify: You can then quantify these scenarios to see the results of the different ideas of improvement 


Theses three modules can work independently but when they work together we can achieve some very powerful results to accelerate the process improvement journey 

How does the Automation Compass Methodology work? 



The intention of this methodology, “The Process Improvement flywheel”, is to get started on the first push and every time you go through the phases of the wheel, it’s going to get faster and easier every time. 



Now, where do you start? What is that first “push”?



1. Capture Ideas for Process Improvement

Where are those ideas? What are those pain points? We can ensure there are so many people that are willing to talk and willing to give you the idea for process improvement. Either it is the managers, or the production floor if you go out there and talk with people, they are going to tell you what improvements can be done. This now leaves you with new ideas.

2. Align Ideas to the Strategy

Level one of Business Architecture: Connect to your goals. You may have overall goals or goals for a specific department- Even if you don’t have those strategic goals that are company wide, you can still capture goals for whatever you are focusing your efforts on. 

Now, if you have many departments that you are working with, that means you also need to prioritize which department you are going to focus on and this is also part of this strategic alignment step. How to prioritize the department based on the data you have available.

Do you have a customer journey map? Okay, let’s find the ideas for those specific areas that are for these specific goals or the company wide goals.

Now you know that the ideas that you collect are aligning with those particular areas that are more painful, but also those areas that will give you more impact to your goals. 

This is the step of connecting with the strategy. It means we are going to focus on ideas that will provide a high gain and will solve a lot of pain.


Opportunity Pipeline

3. Prioritize Opportunities 

You have 10 ideas that are in this particular department or this particular area of our customer journey and how do I know which one should go next?

Prioritizing the ideas is a really important step, because it really depends on what is the strategy of the company. So if your company is already in a really mature position for process improvements initiatives, you may go with an initiative that requires a lot of effort, but also delivers a lot of value, or for those that we are just starting to give this first push, the recommendation is find quick wins, that lower hanging fruit that is just ready to be picked.

4. Implement the Improvement

The intention here is to take action on those process mapping efforts and take the next step; improve it and implement. 

  • Select your prioritized ideas
  • Select what is the alignment with the strategy, prioritize it and then create the business case for you to implement your ideas.
  • Then let’s go ahead and implement it.

Bots & Thoughts Automation Compass Giveaway

  1. Go to the Automation Compass Website at 
  2. Click “Free Trial
  3. Anybody who creates a free trial between Tuesday March 14th to April 14th will be put into a raffle or drawing and we will work with you on this methodology. We will help you collect an idea, map a process, establish your business architecture, whichever of the three modules or entry points you are.

Watch Episode 23 Now 

Have a Topic Idea? Let Us Know

If you have a topic idea, contact us today. We want our podcast to answer your questions, and if you have something that you want to hear, we would love to know. In addition, you can ask questions and get in touch with our Salient Process team.

Why Salient

At Salient Process, we understand the importance of comprehensive digital transformation. We work closely with each client and use a North Star methodology to align your procedures with overall business goals. Our expert team works hard to understand your unique needs, making a customized plan for success. With our Digital Business Automation solutions, you can move closer to your digital transformation goals.


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