RHB on the Slate Stage: The Art of Automations

For Slate users, one of the biggest efficiency wins that we hear extolled over and over by users is found within Rule Builder, where we’re able to replace many of those previously manual business processes with streamlined automations that essentially do the work for us. But, sometimes, these opportunities can trip us up. One the one hand, how do we ensure that we’re carefully evaluating our current operations so that we identify all those opportunities to eliminate unnecessary human intervention? And on the other side, how do we avoid creating “automations” that are so complex that they defeat our goal of improved efficiency?

On May 21, 2021, RHB Integration Consultant Abigail Molen joined RHB clients Vanessa Thomas and Susan Ries from Thomas Jefferson University to discuss all this in their Slate Innovation Festival presentation. During their time on the Slate Stage, they explored the best practices for inventorying existing processes, and they also unpacked some lessons learned from putting new automations into practice. Here are three major themes that emerged from their session.

Approach automations in Slate as an art, not a science.

There is no one correct solution for automating a process, and the final product will need to be accepted by your end users and stakeholders. This means that you will need to be both creative and strategic in designing your processes in Slate. The best practice approach? Build your processes to work for the majority of students or applicants, without accounting for every exception to the rule.

Not everything that can be automated should be automated.

Slate is a powerful tool and allows for a highly customized experience, but it is possible to over-engineer a process or make it difficult to maintain for future years. There are some processes that will always require manual intervention, and some processes that will not be a good “fit” for implementation because of scope or return-on-investment. As you work to increase efficiency, prioritize those that will have the greatest impact on your day-to-day Slate operations. Ensure that the time cost required for developing and maintaining a process does not exceed the demand required to keep your current system in place.

Have a plan to manage automation requests.

As users become familiarized with Slate, they’re bound to be excited by all that the system can do, which can lead to a flurry of requests to build rules or develop workflows. Because of this, setting expectations is key for successful automation projects. Know the difference between a quick automation and a complex process. Vet requests carefully, and make sure to communicate timelines and available resources to stakeholders. A good strategy is to use a phased approach to automation, where you implement pieces of the process over time.

Want to learn more? You can download the slides and check out the recording of the session. And of course, if you want to talk through your own business processes and automation needs, reach out to us; we’d love to collaborate with you.

  • Spread the word