In his opening remarks to the general session of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) 2018 Midyear Meetings in Orlando (Florida, USA), IIA Global Board Chairman Naohiro Mouri said that throughout his international travels while in office, he rarely heard from audit practitioners about the “pain of automation” despite the oft-cited benefits of automation technologies and their potential to revolutionize the internal audit function. His comments sparked the idea for our ISACA Journal, volume 4, article, "The Pain of Automation." Our goal was to provide some ideas and best practices that might help ease the pain of automation.
One of our recommendations toward helping automation initiatives go more smoothly was to have clearly definable return on investment (ROI) goals and metrics, and while these are obviously important for ensuring automation technology performs and imparts value, they can also be useful in communication efforts.
For example, our company, Nielsen, recently celebrated the first anniversary of its Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Center of Excellence, and included in the internal communication that went out was a dashboard with metrics such as total project counts, the impact of RPA in terms of hours saved across various business units and the geographic distribution of projects. This was not the first time this dashboard had been shared. This was a great way to use KPIs to communicate to the broader company the scope and progress of RPA projects, quantify and visualize their value, and reinforce the idea that the work is ongoing.
Celebrating progress and wins is an important part of any ongoing initiative, and RPA is no different. Making KPIs highly visible can help boost motivation and morale and help make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of where the organization stands.
Read Wade Cassels, Jane Traub, Kevin Alvero and Jessica Fernandez's recent Journal article:
"The Pain of Automation: Internal Audit Functions Face Real-World Challenges Amid Optimistic Environment," ISACA Journal, volume 4, 2019.