Process automation: the best kept secret in business transformation
- Posted on June 5, 2017
Modern business leaders have several different challenges to juggle, including a global struggle to engage employees, increasing compliance requirements between different regulatory regimes, and currency fluctuations.
All this is in addition to changing macroeconomic factors in the job market – including the creation, movement, and reallocation of jobs - for example, changes to the H-1B visa in the United States, or European discussions on the future of work.
Process Automation is a critical lever in solving issues and transforming operations
Now this might seem pretty gloomy – but there is a light on the horizon. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is now here, as a mature and reliable technology. This “silver bullet” allows you to scale a virtual workforce, to complete the highly repetitive rule-based processes that a human user would otherwise perform, allowing employees to rotate to more productive and fulfilling work. This might not seem like rocket science – but the magic is in allowing the business to lead the change.
Process Automation increases volume and productivity, improves quality, and frees people for more innovative work
Once you begin automation, this allows the business culture to shift to getting more done – accomplishing business goals, to drive an increase in both productivity and profit. Not only are you and other employees free to be more productive, this is also more motivating.
On this note, Avanade interviewed 800 senior IT decision makers, between December 2016 and 2017, and found that increasing productivity (73%) and reducing costs (65%) are the two key drivers inspiring organizations to implement process automation.
Given these potential benefits, why are so many respondents concerned about implementing this technology? Security, change management, and a lack of resources were identified by the same respondents as the biggest barriers, preventing many organizations from implementing process automation.
Process Automation is key to a digital transformation, and needs to be delivered with an eye to change management and security
With nine in ten respondents agreeing that process automation is a key technology to address the emerging requirements of a digital business, it’s important to make sure you have the tools to break through these barriers.
The key to implementing automation within your business, in a way that remains secure, and ensures your change can be successful, is starting from a position with clear governance in place, so that everyone understands how the business will continue to maintain and scale as the process automation is implemented.
Now back to that business led change – Process Automation becomes a joint effort. The business leads process design, treating their new robots as they would other staff, “training” on the process to be completed, whilst retaining the benefit of an IT delivery. The IT function supports on security, scalability, a deployment. This gives the operation greater visibility and auditability of transactions, leading to better control over end-to-end processes.
All that leaves is choosing the right processes to automate ;) – as we move into the AI-first world, any manual or resource intensive process has at least some potential for automation, boosting capabilities and saving money and time – but it’s important to select a process that fits between your tactical goals, and strategic aims, to demonstrate a return on investment from day 1.
So whilst Process Automation may (or may not) be as exciting as artificial intelligence, it’s pretty clear that without a change to your processes, and automation, you won’t be able to become a true digital business.