Maintaining a Competitive Edge in the New Age of Automation with a Journey-Centric Approach

Maintaining a Competitive Edge in the New Age of Automation with a Journey-Centric Approach

Whether or not enterprises anticipate hyper automation — the idea that every business operation that can be automated should or will be automated in the future — it’s evident that the vast majority of companies throughout the world have already begun to plan for it.

McKinsey & Co. conducted a global survey of business leaders in early 2020, and found that about a third of all organizations have fully automated at least one function – and this was before the pandemic. In the face of such volatility, most businesses have put their automation efforts into overdrive, seeking to future-proof as much as possible.

Many companies put specific process needs over user experience in their efforts to automate. Although an organization can save money in this way, such automations rarely fulfill their full potential.

Why? Because it runs the risk of alienating the very people it was designed to help, implying that few people would really use the tool.

According to a Zapier automation confidence report from 2020, nearly a third of workers aren’t confident that automation will help them in their current job. And 10% said it was extremely difficult to find time to learn the new skills needed to benefit from automated workplace apps.

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The drawbacks of a process-centric strategy

Companies used to evaluate automation prospects primarily based on process-driven criteria that prioritized the lowest-hanging fruit. Processes that happen frequently don’t change much, and prioritizing the biggest user base results in diverse automations that lead to poor adoption and ROI.

Consider the automations that go into onboarding a new employee. Human resources is a critical business function that has been revolutionized by new automated process integrations and interactions.

Everything automated in the future will be based on the customer or employee journey, utilizing a repository of automated task modules. Rather than telling the user what to do next, these automations will adjust to provide the best experience possible based on where they are in their journey.

What happens when businesses prioritize the user journey?

The new user experience takes a journey-centric approach, presenting all tasks in a single interface and offering context for each stage with a due date, status, and point of contact in a wizard-like UI.

The way information is displayed to users is one of the significant differences. It gives users context for the actions they need to take and displays them in the correct order. Even if the core automation remains the same as in the past, having a single, integrated interface for all process tasks might improve usability.

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How do businesses maintain a competitive advantage in this new era of automation  

To create a streamlined user experience, future automations should seamlessly knit together these formerly difficult process-driven operations. Instead of simply automating the easiest step or reproducing tedious manual processes, the design should re-architect the end-to-end experience, trying to make it better for the people who use it, not merely automate it.

That is exactly what the companies that are experiencing the most success in automation are doing. The future of automation is about to make lives easier in a variety of ways, from travel experiences to legal procedures to manufacturing and beyond.

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Prangya Pandab is an Associate Editor with OnDot Media. She is a seasoned journalist with almost seven years of experience in the business news sector. Before joining ODM, she was a journalist with CNBC-TV18 for four years. She also had a brief stint with an infrastructure finance company working for their communications and branding vertical.