Why automate with a view to the future?

Process digitization is not enough! We must automate with a view to the future to ensure continuous optimization and transformation, regardless of the technology used, to always stay one step ahead of market demands.

“Emerging technologies like robotic process automation and AI promise a new era of business process automation. Application leaders must focus on investments that deliver short-term value but also provide a sustainable basis for continuous optimization and transformation of business operations.”

Gartner

WHY DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION PROJECTS FAIL

Gartner says 69% of Boards of Directors accelerated their digital business initiatives following COVID-19 disruption.

However, a very high percentage of digital transformation projects continue to fail for various reasons.

There is a general tendency to approach digital transformation by emphasizing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots, etc., since all eyes are currently on them, and the progress of software development will undoubtedly be impacted by them in the coming years.

However, technological problems are often the easiest aspects to solve, and it is other non-technological aspects, that can mask the depth of the organizational transformation required and become serious inhibitors.

Without a shared vision, digital transformation will stall. Only a vision that is meaningful and easy to understand is feasible.

True digital transformation involves optimizing the business model. That is, to achieve greater productivity, better products, and a better customer experience, to adapt it digitally, and transform it to open new business lines of products, services or models.

In the words of Neil Osmond, Distinguished Vice President Analyst at Gartner “Digital transformation won’t succeed without a common understanding and a clear vision across the organization”.

KEYS TO AUTOMATion WITH a view to the future

As progress is made in optimizing and transforming digital business operations, a number of unavoidable questions arise:

• Which processes should be automated or reinvented first?

• How can you deliver value quickly?

• How to offer value in a sustainable way?

Technologies such as RPA and AI offer new opportunities to generate value, however, it is not advisable to believe all the hype that surrounds these products and advisable to carry out a good study of the real business needs.

Forward-looking automation is only possible when transformation is business-driven!

Digital transformation must focus on business priorities like revenue growth, customer satisfaction, or operational efficiency to be truly transformative. And it must also encompass people and processes.

“Resist jumping straight to solving technology-related issues,” Osmond says. “If you do, your initiative will rapidly turn into a lengthy IT modernization project that doesn’t address key elements of your operating model, such as processes and ways of working.”

Like any other project, addressing a digital transformation process requires a clear understanding of the expected business outcome and prioritizing that outcome.

OPTIMIZE EFFICIENCY AND TRANSFORM TO INNOVATE

Why do we call it process automation instead of opportunity automation?

Optimization focuses on maximizing the efficiency of existing business processes and operations, increasing productivity, reducing errors and avoiding known risks. In a technological environment it refers to increasing the value generated through the use of automation technologies.

However, transformation is more focused on generating added value, and uses the data generated by other applications (generally contributed by digital optimization), and automation to experiment with new ways of generating value. Therefore, companies must invest in technologies that allow changes to be made with speed and agility as new ideas are tested.

In both cases, the idea that must prevail is to bet on a quick return on investments, and for this the best strategy is to start by introducing technologies that are minimally invasive and that allow rapid development.

In the case of optimization, processes can be improved by enabling new digital services. Additionally, new methodologies will be added and supported through process monitoring and analysis. And simulation and process mining techniques will be used to improve the processes and make them more intelligent.

Regarding transformation, its objective is to discover new patterns of behavior and identify the processes or tasks that lend themselves to automation. To do this, you will need specific software to carry out the analysis, and RPA and Low code platforms to carry out application development.

Application development leaders will need to support a combination of optimization and transformation efforts, requiring technologies that automate processes and increase the digital prowess of knowledge workers by offering better collaboration and decision support.

RPA AND LOW CODE TO OPTIMIZE AND TRANSFORM

Legacy apps aren’t always easy to change! They are developed with obsolete technologies, and do not have an API that allows data to be shared, so they end up generating information silos within the system.

In these scenarios, RPA provides a minimally invasive way to access blocked data or services and achieve results very similar to those that would be obtained by modernizing the software, but with less initial effort, and reducing costs and time invested.

On the other hand, low code platforms allow the integration of people with less technical skills but who have knowledge of other areas of the organization.

Furthermore, low-code platforms can be used to automate processes that involve a combination of tasks performed by humans or machines. They also automate processes where little or no human interaction is required.

By combining integration platforms, RPA and low-code platforms, it is possible to bridge the gaps between legacy and modern applications, increasing the degree of automation in the organization and relieving the burden on the IT department. Furthermore, with the introduction of these technologies, a better dissemination of business knowledge will be achieved, thereby improving the user experience.

IMPROVING ROI AND BUSINESS RESULTS

An automated but poorly designed process is still a poor process. Improper automation of a process can lead to more problems by adding more rigidity to the business process, as well as additional infrastructure and maintenance costs.

To improve processes, it is essential to rely on the process users and use methodologies such as Lean to improve the product or service and the customer experience.

Additionally, a DigitalOps mindset must be adopted to connect technology tool investments with strategic and operational business outcomes.

In the process of digital transformation, leaders must consider the following points:

• Adopt low-code application platforms to carry out processes in an agile way that allow experimenting with future customer experiences.

• Use iBPMS to automate, orchestrate, and choreograph complex business processes.

• Provide application integration services to avoid information silos within the organization.

• Use tools to analyze and extract meaning from structured data and unstructured and semi-structured content.

• Make use of communication and participation platforms to enhance collaboration among knowledge workers.

• Analyze ad hoc interactions to identify more opportunities for automation.

• Assess the impact of automation at role and skill levels.

Jessica Mauro
jessica.mauro@auraquantic.com