We recently shared five critical reasons why every CIO should consider intelligent automation. But recognizing the value-added benefits this technology has to offer and actually taking the necessary steps to implement it at scale are two entirely different things. In order to get it right the first time and achieve rapid and sustainable return on your investment, there are certain things you should know heading into such a project. Let’s take a look.
Understand what’s most important to your organization.
In the IT realm, a lot of time is spent quieting squeaky wheels and putting out fires. As CIO, one of your most important tasks is determining whether those wheels and fires represent a potential to introduce intelligent automation.
Rather than reactively responding to complaints, proactively evaluate where and how automation could make the biggest impact, such as on productivity or customer experience, and build your deployment around those high-return areas. This will take much of the heat of your busy IT team and produce savings that can then be utilized to fund other value-added projects.
Know what intelligent automation tools are available to you.
As a key decision maker for your organization, it’s important to gain a clear understanding of the different types of automation tools that are on the market today, as well as which are mature enough to be quickly and seamlessly deployed into production. Get to know the difference between robotic process automation (RPA) and cognitive software. The former enables rules-based automation while the latter is intelligent with machine learning capability.
While both categories are beneficial, intelligent (cognitive) automation is far more advanced, providing capabilities for processing massive amounts of unstructured data, identifying patterns, understanding complex processes and predicting outcomes based on previous scenarios. Intelligent automation will evolve and improve on itself over time, something that RPA does not do. Recognizing and fully understanding these key differences is an essential part of choosing the right automation platform.
Determine how deployment will work.
If you approach automation from a singular solution, such as reducing the number of man hours a certain process requires, not only will the return you get be modest at best, but deployment will likely end up being a much longer, more arduous and more frustrating experience. Instead, shift your thinking to an end-to-end approach. Ask yourself how intelligent automation can be deployed on a larger, more holistic scale. That’s where the real value and return will lie.
Bear in mind, also, that the traditional ways IT leaders evaluate their technology budgets employ a more functional perspective. Most intelligent automation opportunities, however, are naturally end-to-end. As such, the traditional mechanisms of evaluation will not be capable of revealing and unleashing the true potential of intelligent automation.
Focus on process design and documentation.
Implementing intelligent automation involves a lot more than simply plugging technology in place of human workers. It will inevitably generate entirely new questions, particularly as they relate to process design. To achieve maximum impact, taking an intentional view of organizational business processes is strongly recommended.
Keep in mind, too, that there will be a certain degree of institutional knowledge loss as automation begins to replace humans in the day-to-day tasks and workflows. This loss of skills or knowledge may be ultimately cost you some of your workforce, which is why it’s important to have good process documentation in place beforehand.