3 lessons to ensure intelligent automation success

  • Posted on April 25, 2023
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
3 lessons to intelligent automation success

This article was originally written by Avanade alum Jeremy Gilchrist.

Over my years of delivering intelligent automation solutions I have had the pleasure of seeing some amazing examples of automation's potential -- and I’ve seen some which have been valuable learning experiences (read into that whatever you want to). While many of our clients are using automation to solve complex business problems, others are working to build use cases and scale up.

In this blog, I want to try and boil down some lessons learned to make the journey of automation a bit smoother for clients working to accelerate their automation journey. Key learnings fall in to one of three areas: pipeline, “the sell," and ownership.

Automation pipeline: How to keep feeding your success
Automation projects are a bit like a sourdough starter. You consistently need to remove half of the batch and replace it with fresh material. Far too many automation initiatives die on the vine – not because there isn't interest, benefit or capability. They fail because there aren't enough processes to sustain the growth and savings that are needed by businesses.

To that end, Avanade usually recommends that "discovery" should be done consistently. Make sure you are always process mining to have a pipeline of processes to feed into the automation process. Know where you're going and what you want to achieve with your automation initiative. Make sure that you're not being too rigid in the ongoing discovery phase. Sometimes you need to prioritize acting quickly over just looking to cut costs with automation. As you look to refill your automation pipeline, be sure to also review the criteria that you would use to evaluate processes.

Ensure stakeholder buy-in on your automation results and objectives
I call my next lesson learned the importance of "the sell." As technologists, we rarely are the ones who own or control the decision-making process. We need to help showcase automation value – and what it takes to get there – to project leads and their stakeholders. What can success look like, where have we previously succeeded, and what mistakes should be avoided?

We also need to remember that sometimes people will be nervous about automation as a whole, thinking that it might threaten jobs. But at Avanade, we believe automation can help build a human-centric experience in the workplace, where people are more empowered to do more important work.

When you’re planning what processes might benefit from automation, consider a triple-bottom line approach to benefits: cost savings, employee experience, and customer satisfaction. If you go into your discovery phase with these three things in mind, then the adoption of automation within your organization will be a breeze.

Make automation ownership clear
The sticky idea of who “owns” process automations can be a challenge. Is it the IT department? Is it the process owners? is it a Center of Excellence (CoE)? On this my years of consulting will show. The answer really is "it depends." This is a decision that needs to be made as a group with all stakeholders involved. Ownership of the automations is not necessarily something that should fall entirely to IT, because they don't own the process or consequences if an automation goes haywire. And it doesn't fully belong to the process owners either, because they might not have the tools to fix it if it breaks.

This is where the idea of a CoE comes in. The CoE team can help to keep many complex business process automations organized and help a company manage their virtual workforce. However, it is not necessarily needed to run a successful automation initiative. The key is there needs to be a clear line of ownership.

Get started with intelligent automation today
At Avanade, we focus on automation that provides the most benefits with the lowest cost and least disruption. We can help you turn our lessons learned into action and business value. If you’re interested in discussing how to scale intelligent automation at your organization, Avanade is ready to help you design a strategy and set a course for success. Our consultations and workshops are custom fit to your needs, your business, and your priorities.

Learn more and book some time with our automation experts.

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