Automation is rewriting the story of human productivity. Enterprises prioritize Automation to maximize productivity but fall short of optimizing it by taking a tactical, siloed and disconnected execution approach. How can an enterprise plan and execute a seamless and scalable Automation approach? Read on to know more.

Automation has shape-shifted large global enterprises and is rewriting the story of human productivity. A study suggests that almost 95%1 of enterprises prioritize process automation to maximize productivity. However, a tactical, siloed, and disconnected approach focused on effort and cost savings is holding them back from scaling and unlocking the true potential of automation. The pursuit of quick, small wins to showcase value has led to fragmented automation initiatives across the enterprise. These empower just pockets of specialists and do not draw on enterprise-wide data sources, limiting their effectiveness.

But what do companies need to scale automation? What could be holding them back? How can they drive a holistic automation agenda? What are the right metrics to influence and drive? How can a broader ecosystem of employees be enabled to drive automation at scale? And how should this operating model be structured to democratize automation yet retain control on security aspects? These are questions that most businesses are grappling with today. Here are a few thoughts on moving forward and scaling their automation programs.

Four Levers to Drive Automation at Scale

01. Forge deeper connections between Processes, Data, and People

As enterprises take a more strategic view of automation, data, human interactions, and complementary technologies, there is an opportunity to reimagine business models, customer interactions, and execution. Companies need to map out and radically rethink customer journeys before automating them. To align with the digital transformation of North Star, companies need to take a more strategic view of automation and see it as an enabler of customer impact. In a panel discussion at AdvantEdge 20212, Bernard Shafrik of Forrester notes that “Conversations have shifted from cost-cutting to revenue growth and exploring new business models via automation technologies.”

It is here that Connected Automation, a human-centred holistic approach, can help ensure that enterprises automate end-to-end processes supported by data and cutting-edge intelligence. To derive sustainable value, organizations need to build capacity to deliver personalized customer journeys based on hyper-efficient execution. This would reshape the enterprise to tap human expertise for empathy and innovation while leveraging bots for productivity and quality.

Connected Automation assists enterprises forge deeper connections between Processes, Data, and People.

Wider connection of people into automation journey through low code platforms for citizen developers and enterprise personal automation assistants.

Stronger connection of processes into automation journey with end-to-end process orchestration through workflows and auto-automation.

Deeper data connection into an automation journey through contextual data discovery, intelligent document processing, and advanced insights.

02. Think beyond the bot

There is a growing realization that automation isn’t just about bots. Instead, it’s a suite of products and adjacent technologies that help drive the enterprise digital agenda.

Most companies struggle with scaling automation because they apply RPA on a task level instead of an end-to-end business process level. To achieve end-to-end automation, they need to deploy a set of automation technologies.

These could be low code tools that bridge the gaps left by RPA, decisions and rules engines, process and task mining, document processing, natural language processing, unstructured content processing, and even governance functions that allow the distribution of automation tool capabilities across the company.

Also, after the bots are deployed, they need to be monitored and measured for performance. Active bot management is required to preempt and prevent bot failure that could adversely impact business outcomes.

03. Democratize to scale

Running a tight ship through automation CoE may sound great in theory but often stifles automation scalability. In addition, today, most automation initiatives are triggered and owned by IT teams. Companies need a democratized environment where everybody has the ability and the tools to drive automation.

The evolution of low-code and no-code platforms means that the status quo can change. In addition, it ensures that non-technical users play a significant role in automation design and deployment.

Consider the case of citizen developers. By enabling employees to design and develop automations that improve their efficiency and productivity, organizations hand technology to control back to the people it affects the most, and the early results are staggering. Citizen developers can scale the automation footprint by over 70% while reducing manual effort. Empowering employees to build automation programs allows them to become authors of an enterprise’s transformation journey instead of mere actors in a broader strategy. With Connected Automation, employees can now help organizations move from process discovery to design and deployment, all while making their roles more strategic, as bots customized to their requirements take over complex asynchronous processes.

04. Create an operating model that supports scale

Automation, like innovation, works best when it occurs everywhere in the company and not just in silos. A distributed approach that fosters collaboration and doesn’t need a CXO to sign off on every little thing would be the desired setup. However, there is a possibility that such a model would descend into chaos.

Companies should aim for balance – a central story owned by businesses and supported by IT that is then translated to the application at the citizen developer level.

Each team should play to their strengths and own the aspects of the story they are good at. For instance, ensuring security and reusability, preventing redundancy, overlaps, manual workarounds, etc., are areas that corporate IT teams should own. Similarly, the business users should own what to automate and how the experience is delivered.

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Create deeper connections with connected automation

It’s clear from these four drivers that successful scaling depends on the strength of connections between automation and Process, Data, and People. And that is the premise of connected automation. By connecting these three core aspects, connected automation eliminates siloes and hidden areas. It brings forth all the available data in the organization – improving digital visibility to deliver employee and customer outcomes.

DisclaimerAny opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the respective institutions or funding agencies