What Do I Automate Next?

What Do I Automate Next?

Published By : Cydney McCollum May 24, 2022

 What Do I Automate Next?


After listening to episode three, “Automate Financial Reporting with IBM RPA: Salient Process x Primanti Brothers“, you might have found yourself wondering “how can I score my first quick win?” or even have the realization that there is more work to do in achieving your corporate goals. You may have thought to yourself… “What do I automate next?”

In this episode of Bots & Thoughts, host, Jimmy Hewitt, will guide you through the decision process of what to automate next. Hewitt will first establish two guiding principles for our listeners to follow throughout the decision-making process for automation. Then, you will hear about two considerations to keep in mind as well when deciding on your next automation venture. The guiding principles and considerations in this episode will touch on a range of automation maturities, from your first automation to your second automation and beyond, making them applicable to all listeners regardless of automation experience.

Listen to episode 3 here!

Read about our episode 3 now!

Follow along with the episode now!

Guiding Principles

The efforts of early adopters have given the Digital Business Automation community two principles:

1. Find the balance between innovation/experimentation and governance:

Too much red tape can stifle innovation projects

A lack of governance can lead a  Digital Business Automation team awry

How: find and build a quick win quickly

If done with just enough governance at the early adopter stage, focusing on and building a quick qin can lead to the “can we automate this, can we automate that?” effect


A quick win leads to inbound requests for more of what you’ve done, which leads to the establishment of evaluation/prioritization criteria and better governance

Importance: Not focusing on a quick win or biting off more than we can chew will delay, stall, and even kill a Digital Business Automation journey before it sees any success

  • Example: attempting a multicomponent Digital Business Automation too soon like combining RPA with workflow and capture. This is the endgame of Digital Business Automation, but not a quick win

Goal: Achieve momentum and a quick win

2. Use evaluation/prioritization criteria: Two buckets


A. Evaluating your first automation: Building your first bot should be done in the spirit of innovation and experimentation

  • “Is this for us?” Or “Can we, our customers, employees, and bottom-line benefit from Digital Business Automation?”
  • Is this work item or task relatively repeatable and/or route?
    • Example: moving information between applications or spreadsheets
  • Is this work item or task being done manually?
    • Example: copy and paste or manually keying in information
  • Is it so boring that it is painful?
  • Does this task happen a lot (at random times, on-demand, on a schedule, etc.)?
  • Is this team experiencing pressure, increased workload, or longer hours than usual?
    • Example: Short staffed
  • What seems like a solid work item, task, or report to automate?

 Quick win checklist: Look for all or some of the following… Reference: Salients Last Quick Win

  • Had a low financial barrier to entry. Paid for itself entirely in less than 3 months. Is generating an 8x return year over year
  • »View Case Study

B. Evaluating your second automation and beyond:

  • Once you have achieved your quick win, more governance comes into play
    • Higher-level evaluation criteria: Does this use case align (1-10) with your North Star?
    • North Star: your company’s “big why”.  Improving customer experience, improving employee experience, compliance, cost and time repurposing, ROI, etc.. View North Star Methodology
    • Goal: Ensure you are prioritizing your next automation with your North Star in mind

There are two considerations used on top of the principles:


1. Consider your Digital Business Automation practice’s level of maturity:

Ask yourself: What automation have we already built?

If none: Call on guiding principle number one and start with a quick win



Example: one RPA bot, one workflow app, one capture infusion, etc.

If one or more: Once your Digital Business Automation practice matures, you can combine capabilities that complement each other into one process, as long as it is done in a thoughtful manner with proper governance

2. Consider your Digital Business Automation practice’s level of maturity:

  • The more advanced your code becomes, the more tools you should have access to
  • Ask yourself: Do we have a platform that gives us everything from process mapping and mining to RPA and workflow, decision management, and capture, or are we just working with an RPA platform?
  • Consider what tools you have access to based on your level of maturity and evaluate accordingly
  • Just getting started:
    • Process mapping or modeling and a base RPA platform are all you need to get started for your first several automations
    • End phase: As your quick wins pile p and your momentum grows, the business will want more and more
  • Intermediate phase:
    • Consider adding process mining to investigate a broader breadth of process improvement opportunities and perhaps even try out a workflow or BPM platform
    • Infusing workflow into your business can unlock an entire order of magnitude of value (if done properly)
    • End phase: Utilizing process modeling, mining, RPA, and workflow in concert
  • Advanced practice:
    • Utilizing the entire Digital Business Automation toolkit
    • Discover what creative and meaningful combinations of RPA, workflow, decisions, capture, and content can be designed and developed to unlock the next order
    • Where organizations truly achieve their end goal aka North Star.


Guiding principles:

  1. Find the balance between innovation/experimentation and governance.
  2. Use evaluation or prioritization criteria (your North Star).


  1. Your Digital Business Automation practice’s level of maturity
  2. Which Digital Business Automation tools and combinations of the tools are appropriate based on this level of maturity.


How to manage everything at once:

Salient Process is building the Automation Compass to guide you along your automation journey and bring all the guiding principles and considerations into one place


Start your 30-day Free Trial Here!
Let us know what you think so we can make improvements as we build the tool!

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More on Digital Business Automation:

Digital Business Automation Home Page

What is Digital Business Automation?

Scaling Beyond RPA to Digital Business Automation

North Star Methodology

More on Salient Process:

Salient Process Home Page

Bots & Thoughts: The Digital Business Automation Podcast

Salient Process is a full-service digital business automation shop and proud IBM Automation business partner. To learn more about us at our website, request a free consultation with one of our expert automation advisors! We look forward to guiding you and your company along your own unique Digital Business Automation journey.