A look at how automation technologies can be drivers of transformation – from simple process improvement to true process transformation.
According to Deloitte’s 2018 global CIO survey, 96 percent of the 1,437 responding executives consider going digital a strategic priority. The top priority for primary focus areas of digital transformation in their organizations was process automation and transformation, 69 percent voted for it. Meanwhile, ServiceNow, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based software company found that 52 percent of the 500 CIOs surveyed said they’re moving beyond the automation of routine tasks and now targeting more complex processes, in its 2019 Global CIO Point of View report.
Mere enthusiasm for automation, however, won’t get organizations anywhere. Organizations aiming to get the most out of their automation programs need to seriously understand the processes they identify for automation, understand how the work flows and what can be transformed.
So, experts say CIOs need to be aware of the following, to be able to best leverage automation technologies.
Work on what’s practically possible
Most organizations are now adopting artificial intelligence, machine learning and RPA to re-engineer sophisticated processes within their enterprises. But the technology leads need to understand, the reality of what’s possible and what’s not. The CIO has to play an orchestration role here, helping other teams to identify the transformation opportunities in each, and the changes that will be involved. Of course, they have to be a champion in their own departments first, use automation technologies to streamline their department first, and prove how it is helping in the complex tasks within IT
RoI in automation
Automation and process transformation are critical components for creating a competitive advantage. Together, they increase efficiencies that reduce costs and allow more skilled resources to shift their focus to higher-level tasks. There needs to be a strategy to this activity, though. CIOs need to showcase early wins and showcase the advantages automation will bring.
Garner a Clear understanding of the process to be automated
Automation is not a magic wand that is only about optimizing and modernizing processes. Organizations must understand all the steps in an existing process; identify which steps are necessary, where bottlenecks exist, and whether the process can adjust to new requirements as they evolve. That knowledge, along with automation technologies, is what will help organizations get up a notch- from simple process improvement to real process transformation.
Visualise the workflow, then automate
It will not be possible to deliver a success automation function without starting from a point of complete clarity on the process. So before anything, the CIO needs to visualise and understand every step of the process. It’s the ways to improve bracket where automation will be inserted! Identifying areas for workflow improvement, accuracy or areas with repetitive tasks will put the organisation on the path of automation that adds value
Legacy infra needs to go, get on a modern IT stack
Automating some tasks requires new technology inputs like cloud computing, sophisticated data analytics, application programming interfaces (APIs) and, of course, some level of AI capabilities already working in the IT environment. These could be the base for in support of the automation initiative.
Be ready for Change
As with any kind of transformation, there needs to be a very strong change management strategy in place, to ensure that the repercussions of automation do not impact the base teams adversely. The people who are impacted also need to be adjusted to the new work flow. Managements need to convey to workers that automation of processes will not necessarily mean loss of job only that the current teams will get to do work that has higher value addition. In this manner, a bulk of the success around an automation initiative is about great change management.