As with all disruptive technologies, intelligent automation has the potential to bring about tremendous transformation, both in how organizations operate, as well as how the human workforce carries out various day-to-day business activities. Because of its massive and relatively rapid impact, however, there can also be a number of potential issues that can arise along the way, slowing down or even stalling progress.
Whether you are just starting out on your intelligent automation journey or you’re already in the thick of things, here are a few of the most common challenges that you should try to sidestep.
Lack of Definitive Strategy
Adopting new technology is no small feat. Organizations often get themselves into hot water when they try to accelerate the process of implementation without taking the time to lay the framework first. Before proceeding with an intelligent automation initiative, it’s essential that you first assess the current state of your business so you can accurately identify primary areas of focus.
It’s also important to decide on the scale and scope of automation (i.e. small pilot projects vs. organization-wide adoption). Having a definitive plan in place will help you measure progress and stay on track.
Another important point to make when adopting intelligent automation is that initial ROI projections are really just educated guesses. Understanding this helps to avoid setting unrealistic expectations and dealing with the aftermath when things don’t pan out quite as hoped.
This is one of the major reasons we strongly recommend starting with smaller projects – the lower hanging fruit, so to speak, as this enables you to more quickly achieve quantifiable ROI that can then be used to make more accurate estimates.
It’s no secret that the IT field has been battling an ever-widening skills gap for many years now. Rapid advancements in technology, including intelligent automation, have made a lack of talent even more of a glaring problem for organizations around the globe. Skilled IT professionals are hard to come by, and even harder to retain.
To address this, forward-thinking enterprise leaders should focus their efforts inward, looking to existing staff to upskill and reskill. There are plenty of low-cost or even free resources available to bring employees up to speed on intelligent automation, including our own Automation Academy.
Improper Use Case Selection
Determining which process or workflow to focus on as your first use case can certainly be a challenge. And, if you choose the wrong one, you could easily end up behind the eight ball with nothing to show for it as a result. Again, our strong recommendation is to start small and focus on tasks and processes that will yield the highest return the fastest. Once you’ve achieved success there, you can begin to scale upward and outward.
One area where many well-intentioned business leaders get tripped up is in choosing the vendor and/or intelligent automation platform for their needs. It can be incredibly easy to get caught up in a product or service that touts all the “bells and whistles,” but at the end of the day, if you don’t need all of those extras, it’s not really worth it.
The key to success here is to focus on ease of use and low-code/no-code solutions – especially if your long-term goal is to disseminate intelligent automation across the entire enterprise. You want a tool that can get you up and running quickly, doesn’t have a steep learning curve, is agile enough to grow and adapt along with your changing needs and doesn’t require an engineering degree to manage.
Poor Change Management
Just because the management team is gung ho about adopting automation doesn’t mean everyone will be equally as receptive. In fact, given the uncertainty and many misconceptions surrounding intelligent automation as a threat to human jobs, fear and resistance to change are almost to be expected.
To avoid this and gain as much buy-in and positive momentum as possible right out of the gate, invest in open, honest and ongoing communication. Educate your employees on the many ways that the purpse of automation isn’t to replace them, but rather to make their lives easier. Here are a few more tips for quelling end-user anxiety.
Without question, intelligent automation can be the catalyst for positive change in helping organizations achieve the three key elements of digital transformation: agility, responsiveness and cost-savings. The six tips above should help you avoid many of the common but unnecessary bumps along the road and set your organization up for a much smoother transition.
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