IT Automation uptake and solution capability are growing exponentially, creating opportunities for business disruption and fast-tracking transformation. Yet, whilst large numbers of organisations are progressing automation initiatives, success can still prove elusive.
IT, having grown organically from a business support activity and still struggling to achieve consistent executive-level sponsorship, has some particularly knotty challenges:
Automation exhibits natural evolution as capabilities across digital business have started to better integrate. A typical starting point, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) deploys software robots (‘bots’) that replicate user tasks. Intelligent automation then applies cognitive elements with artificial intelligence, enabling existing automation systems to adapt and enhance. The workplace of the future will increasingly feature intelligent technologies with digital workers augmenting human ones.
Automation consulting helps organisations understand the business, process and technology landscape to help modern business transform.
Solution choices will be markedly different between an organisation looking for general ‘all round’ automation which can be achieved using an integration platform (offering a good library of standard APIs) and an organisation anticipating specific customisation to key business processes.
In a rapidly evolving marketplace, business automation solutions include BluePrism, Automation Anywhere, Kryon, EdgeVerve, WorkFusion, UiPath, MicroSoft, and SAP. These are all generally robust offerings and some might have the edge against certain considerations: IPsoft (has extensive integration capabilities), BluePrism (leading governance and discovery services), Automation Anywhere (Bot design and development) UiPath (overall capability and strategy).
Automation solutions are evolving rapidly, integrating the capabilities of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning pushing data-driven insights and intelligent automation. The rapid adoption and availability of low-code automation solutions which support simple and intuitive, GUI-based solutions facilitate swift change, allowing expertise to flow into cross-functional agile teams. Building the bot is becoming easier.
Techniques such as data mining and process mining can reveal insights across the automation landscape offering the opportunity to automatically recalibrate activities to deliver greater efficiency and benefit.
The main benefits of automation are efficiency, productivity, and reducing costs.
The challenge though is where to start since at a practical level no single individual or function knows how everything works. There will be pockets of documented practice that could be ideal, but it is more likely that decisions (and executive sponsorship) will centre on well-understood, high-volume, repetitive activities that are to some degree critical and will therefore link to strategic objectives. It is important to be methodical in identifying which aspects may be automated, which roles and structures may be impacted and to have a robust organisational communication plan in place.
Although there is a wealth of automation-related technology and service providers willing to sell you the latest automation services, a focused proof of value activity involving organisation-wide, cross-functional representation remains a key starting point in establishing the right foundations for automation success.
Automation can drive improvements in organisational efficiency by replicating and optimising time consuming tasks often prone to human error and latency. Automated processes guarantee consistency of outcomes thereby driving quality assurance and demonstrating tighter adherence to compliance.
Automation is particularly powerful in supporting customer services especially when combined with intelligent features such as voice recognition, NLP and chat bot interaction that mirrors a customer journey. Systems can be designed to scale according to demand resulting in faster interaction times, better customer routing and validation. This also allows personnel to focus on value adding activities and interactions, thereby improving their personal skill set and enhancing customer experience.
Similarly, automation has the potential to drive greater throughput by leveraging digital capabilities to benefit activities which are otherwise time consuming. Automated document management capability can deliver an initial proofread whilst capturing and storing key data in associated systems to an agreed meta data format and structure.
Service management automation has an established pedigree in supporting IT resource provisioning, automating standard IT operations processes and helping drive proactive IT performance.
Identifying and automating key but repetitive activities allows professional skilled personnel to afford more time to their specialist activities increasing individual and company productivity.
To demonstrate automation’s value requires a mature measurement system capable of capturing and maintaining all relevant operational metrics so its impact can be attributed to typical business KPIs such as customer engagement (NPS), employee satisfaction, compliance, quality assurance and cost base. Its ability to scale, standardise and therefore simplify operations represents a major ROI opportunity.
As one of the leading UK automation companies, Peru focuses its automation consultancy to advance client solutions and future transformation.
Automation Maturity Index – understand how current operation meets the needs of an automation strategy by delivering a quantified maturity assessment and future improvement roadmap considering people skills, business enabling change capability, controls and operating model
Automation Landscape Readiness – understand the strategic intent and process landscape to identify and recommend tools for use, and help inform architecture decisions and understand implications of agile and potential cross functional working in the future
Process Opportunity Pipeline – help you develop a base process footprint identifying key, critical and well-known processes that informs a pragmatic roadmap to deliver ROI and drive automation strategy.
Centre of Excellence – work to develop the principles and practices that support the business automation portfolio and help motivate an Automation First mindset.