How to Future-Proof Your Business with Intelligent Automation

How to Future-Proof Your Business with Intelligent AutomationAutomation has become a staple in IT operations. Yet, despite its prevalence, many of the automated processes currently being used are antiquated. The fact is, IT infrastructures have evolved substantially over the past decade or so, and continue to do so at a rapid pace. In order to maintain a high degree of integrity, automated processes must also adapt. Adopting more intelligent automation will not only dramatically improve internal operations, but it will position your organization leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors.

What is “intelligent automation?”

Unlike conventional automation tools of the past which were capable only of executing simple, manual and easily defined processes, intelligent automation and orchestration platforms are able to undertake tasks and workflows that are far more complex. Not only is intelligent automation capable of making decisions without the need for human input, but it can also evolve and improve itself over time.

Why is intelligent automation beneficial to IT operations?

IT ops has long been tasked with the overwhelming duty of doing more with less. Today’s IT teams, however, are also being depended on to drive innovation, and at a much more rapid pace than ever before. Intelligent automation facilitates both of these things by streamlining operations and freeing up skilled staff to apply their expertise to more innovative business initiatives. Furthermore, automation is dramatically improving the delivery and integrity of information, which paints IT ops in a positive light.

What are some of the biggest challenges IT ops face today?

Among the many challenges IT operations face in the digital age is the need to increase agility while maintaining as little disruption to existing processes as possible. IT teams must continue to meet (and in many instances exceed) business demand while also looking toward the future and finding newer, better opportunities to grab onto. It’s a delicate balance between meeting the needs of today and anticipating what the needs of tomorrow will be.

Why aren’t more organizations adopting intelligent automation?

Automation in its traditional form has worked well for IT ops, mainly because it can be leveraged on an ad hoc basis, such as with custom scripts and job scheduling. These days, however, things are becoming far more complex, with many different layers of virtualization and applications stacks of varying ages, along with combinations of public and private cloud solutions, all of which must be aggregated to deliver a single, streamlined IT service. In this environment, the concept of integrating intelligent automation can seem overwhelming. The good news is, it’s not nearly as complicated as it may seem.

What’s a good way to get started with intelligent automation?

A great way to introduce intelligent automation into the mix is to start small. Identify the big wins – or those routine, manual and time consuming tasks and workflows that when automated will produce the greatest return on investment quickly. Figure out what your IT operations team is wasting precious time and resources on, and then start deploying robots to do the dirty work. Keep in mind, however, that in order for intelligent automation to truly be beneficial, it must eventually become an integral part of the entire infrastructure. It’s ok to smart small, but make sure you’re working toward the big picture.

Without question, adding intelligence to automation will facilitate far greater productivity and innovation, while simultaneously setting the bar higher in terms of speed and agility for IT operations. Organizations that successfully deploy intelligent automation will easily surpass their competitors who do not, ultimately positioning themselves at the head of the pack.

Where do you want your company to be? Get a jump on the competition and future-proof your business with intelligent automation. Experience it for yourself by taking Ayehu for a test drive today.

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7 Tips to Win the IT Talent War

7 Tips to Win the IT Talent WarAs any IT leader will acknowledge, attracting top talent is only half the battle. It’s keeping them on that’s the real challenge. And with an average employee tenure of only about 3 years, it’s a serious concern for many organizations across the globe. Add in the complex, fast paced and highly stressful role of IT support and you’ve got quite the conundrum. So, what’s the secret? How can you do things differently so that your company remains as safe as possible from cyber-attacks while your talented employees stay on for the long haul? Here are 7 tips to point you in the right direction.

Keep them challenged. The last thing you want is for your IT support personnel to become bored and stagnant in their current positions. Avoid this by investing in ongoing training, setting up mentoring programs, and offering opportunities to learn about and master new strategies and technologies. The more you keep your IT employees engaged and involved, the less likely they’ll be to look elsewhere.

Rotate project time. Being stuck on the same project day in and day out can lead to fatigue and frustration. Consider rotating employees onto various IT projects so that they don’t feel stuck. This will provide exposure to and the opportunity to learn about new skills and also open up the door to be able to approach long-term projects from differing perspectives – both of which can benefit your organization.

Give them the tools they need. These days, keeping up with the onslaught of cyber-attacks is nothing short of exhausting. Don’t leave your IT personnel out to dry by making them handle this monumental task manually. Arm them with the technology they need to do their jobs better, faster, more efficiently and more effectively, such as intelligent automation.

Provide a safe place to vent. Without question, the job of keeping an entire organization safe from breaches and outages can be incredibly stressful. Additionally, IT security personal often feel tense due to the amount of classified and confidential information they are entrusted with. Provide an opportunity and a secure avenue for these employees to vent their feelings.

Encourage time off. Everybody needs a little down time, but given the fast-paced and highly stressful field of IT, these employees could probably use some time off more than anyone else in your organization. This is where technology can help. By automating a good portion of tasks and leveraging the cloud to embrace more flexibility, your team can take the much needed time off they deserve without the company feeling any negative impact.

Use realistic metrics to measure success. One of the biggest reasons IT professionals find themselves dissatisfied at work is because they feel they aren’t being adequately recognized. This is often due to a lack of clear and specific metrics for success. Management should set realistic expectations, communicate openly and routinely measure progress. Good work should be rewarded and areas of improvement identified and addressed in a positive, productive way.

Empower them. If your employees feel that their only option is to come in every day and put in 8-10 hours of labor, they’re not going to develop any kind of connection or loyalty to your organization. On the other hand, if they know that the work they do plays a direct role in the “big picture” and that their achievements are tied into the company’s overall success, they’ll be much more plugged in, which means they’re more likely to stay on for the long haul. Empower them by inviting ideas and encouraging autonomy.

Are you doing enough to keep your IT personnel satisfied, engaged and plugged in? If not, you could be facing higher turnover, which can negatively impact your company’s bottom line and also leave you more vulnerable to things like outages and cyber-attacks. By implementing the above tips, you’ll create a more positive work environment that fosters longevity. Happy employees will work harder to ensure that your organization remains strong, secure and successful.

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

4 Steps to Intelligent Process Automation Breakthrough

Intelligent process automation is rapidly transforming the global economy, delivering momentous gains to enterprises that adopt it at scale. One recent article by McKinsey revealed that some organizations have been able to automate 50 to 70 percent of their workflows, generating ROI that reaches into the triple-digits. In addition to cutting costs, intelligent process automation can also deliver precision, speed and enhanced customer experience.

In order for organizations to enjoy the full value of intelligent process automation, IT leaders must be willing to take a guiding role. Unfortunately, many IT executives find this challenging, whether due to the increased complexity of IT processes, lack of understanding and/or clarity, inconsistent or fragmented tools that hinder scaling, or the misconception that intelligent process automation cannot be adopted without major re-engineering of existing processes.

How can these challenges be overcome? And how can IT leaders succeed in their automation initiatives? The answer to these questions lies in the following four key steps along the intelligent automation journey.

Step 1: Evaluate the high-level potential value

The first step in becoming an intelligent process automation leader starts with the development of a clear business case. This involves assessing the potential high-level value of the company’s main IT activities. Some examples of what these areas of value might look like include:

Incident Response – A significant number of IT incidents are initiated through support desk requests. These typically result in tickets being created and assigned to Level 1 support agents. While these are the obvious candidates for automation, the portion of tickets that are escalated to specialized L2 and L3 agents are also ripe for the picking, thanks to the advanced technology behind intelligent process automation. And since these activities are generally well-documented, categorizing and prioritizing them by automation potential should be relatively straightforward.

Planned Activities – In addition to the one-offs and unexpected support tickets that crop up, IT is also responsible for performing a number of planned activities on a regular basis. These activities typically include things like backups, upgrades and patching. They may also involve more complex security audits. The amount of time and resources required to perform these duties can collectively add up to around 20 percent of the IT budget. Calculating this figure can help determine the potential savings intelligent process automation can deliver.

Introducing New Applications – From a business perspective, this activity is often viewed as the one that produces the most significant value. It can also account for an additional 20 to 40 percent of the time and resources put forth by IT. These activities are not exclusive of application development, either. They also include such tasks as testing and hosting. This places increasing demand on both the application team as well as the infrastructure group.

Step 2: Dig deeper to identify which specific use cases are best suited for intelligent automation.

Determining how to effectively implement intelligent process automation requires a deep dive to uncover the root causes of issues. It may also involve the untangling of complex systems and the development of an accurate picture of how to leverage automation to extract the greatest value. In other words, the process is a complicated one and requires a certain degree of commitment. Let’s take the three potential use cases above as an example.

Incident Response

Automating IR begins with identifying which incidents are the best candidates, which can be challenging. The goal should always be digging deep enough to uncover the “why” of documented incidents. Without this information, efforts are futile. Text-mining can help by automatically reading ticket descriptions and extracting the necessary insights to sort them into three categories:

  • Automatable
  • Requires machine learning
  • Highly cognitive/manual

This analysis should leave you with a prioritized list of incidents to automate and the type of automation best suited for the job.

Planned Activities

Most enterprise-grade IT departments rely on industry-standard tools to manage their infrastructures. Unfortunately, due to factors such as advanced customization, adjustments due to mergers and specific user requirements, managing these systems often requires a significant amount of manual effort, diminishing the overall value.

For instance, despite the widespread adoption of infrastructure and application monitoring tools, support teams are often unable to respond effectively to the logs being generated, either because there are too many of them or because of the many reasons why they are being generated in the first place. As a result, IT leaders are often unclear on how to approach intelligent automation implementation.

In situations such as this, machine learning technology can be “trained’ to identify the reasons behind alerts and then either recommend or autonomously make better decisions on which action to take. This eliminates much of the complexity for the IT team.

Introducing New Applications

Many IT executives fall into the trap of focusing solely on the reduction of manual labor. As a result, they fail to see and achieve the full value potential of intelligent process automation. Faster and more accurate delivery of applications requires the development and design of a new operating model, with an emphasis on DevOps and agile.

Reviewing this entire process to gain an understanding of how to make the most use of this new operating model can result in entirely new approaches to work. Intelligent process automation can facilitate some of these new ways of working. For instance, automating the testing process will enable applications teams to iterate more quickly. Likewise, developing a self-service model for things like automated server provisioning allows the operations team to become more responsive. The list goes on.

Step 3: Execute your proof of concept

In order to demonstrate the true value and validate your case for intelligent process automation, the next critical step is executing a proof of concept. A great place to start with this is incident management. Organizations that have successfully deployed intelligent process automation for incident management have been able to achieve substantial cost savings in a relatively short period of time.

Thankfully, there are many different incidents that can quickly and easily be automated to support your proof of concept, including such tasks as password resets and employee onboarding. In its most basic form, a proof of concept requires the following:

  • Collaboration with subject matter experts to identify where automation can best be applied and understand all the steps and systems involved in a particular process or workflow.
  • Careful selection of an intelligent process automation platform. Look specifically for products that can be integrated with existing systems and applications and offers pre-packaged, no-code options. (This will enable rapid adoption and time-to-value.)
  • Obtaining necessary IT and overall business approvals with regard to regulatory constraints, security guidelines and access limitations.
  • Ongoing testing and monitoring to capture results and document value

This phase is also an ideal time to consider building stronger internal intelligent automation capabilities; for example, developing a team to spearhead a future automation center of excellence (CoE). This team will ultimately become the foundation and engine that drives all IPA initiatives.

Step 4: Build intelligent automation capabilities to scale

Achieving the full benefits of intelligent process automation requires the development and nurturing of certain skills and capabilities, in addition to rolling out an entirely new company-wide culture. This is essential as successful adoption of IPA requires that automation become embedded into the very heart of the organization itself. There are plenty of ways to accomplish this, but generally speaking, companies that have been successful have done the following three things:

Build on success to expand into new areas of IT (and beyond).

Once the basic tasks and workflows have been automated, it’s time to move on to more advanced level-2 and level-3 activities. The IT team should be expanding beyond incidents to begin leveraging the AI and machine learning technologies to assist with things like analytics and decision support. The goal is to eventually roll out intelligent process automation to as many routine and complex processes as possible.

Spread the word.

With a strong foundation of capabilities and experience, IT leaders can begin to position themselves as subject matter experts for the rest of the organization. This process involves continued outreach, such as connecting with other leaders across the enterprise to advise them of the specific benefits IPA can have for them. This outreach also provides the opportunity to identify additional areas where automation might be beneficial.

Explore the advanced elements of intelligent process automation.

While the majority of organizations have thus far only focused primarily on simple process automation, the future belongs to those with an eye toward artificial intelligence and cognitive learning. These solutions are already making an impact on companies with forward-thinking leaders. The best way to break into this arena is to start working on small AI initiatives. From there, just like basic automation, you can continue to build, expand and grow.

Intelligent process automation is maturing rapidly and quickly becoming a core component of the IT landscape. IT professionals who recognize the importance and understand how to develop their automation capabilities have the potential to become respected leaders in the process – a title that will serve them well throughout their careers.

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3 New Roles AI Will Create for Humans

What if we were to tell you that robots are not coming to steal your job, but instead, they’re coming to give you a promotion? Would that change your perception of artificial intelligence? Probably. Thankfully, in most cases anyway, it’s the truth. While AI will, inevitably, make some roles obsolete, it will simultaneously be creating newer and even more lucrative opportunities for humans. In fact, we’ve pinpointed at least three distinct job categories intelligent automation will open the door for. Let’s explore each of these below.

Trainers

Artificial intelligence is just that – artificial. Yes, it is capable of improving autonomously, but someone still has to be there to tell the program what to do and ensure that everything is moving along as it should be.

For example, before you can tell your virtual assistant Amazon Alexa that you want her to call your spouse, you first have to “teach” her who your spouse is and what phone number should be used. Once AI tools and platforms have the basic understanding of what’s expected of them, they can then continue to self-learn, but just like any student, they need to be taught those basics first.

Evangelists

Like it or not, artificial intelligence isn’t going anywhere. In fact, according to Gartner, 70% of organizations will assist their employees’ productivity by integrating AI in the workplace by as early as next year.

Yet, despite this looming proliferation, not everyone is quite comfortable with the concept of AI. Fear of the unknown is still a very real problem for many organizations. That’s where AI evangelists come in. These are human experts whose role, at least in part, is to explain computer behavior to others.

Having champions of intelligent automation will enable the enterprise to overcome fear and resistance, clearing the pathway to successful digital transformation.

Managers

As smart as AI is, it’s not necessarily something you can simply set and forget. To the contrary, human oversight is still very much needed to ensure that systems are working properly, securely and responsibly.

The fact is, while chatbots have the capability of learning and communicating, they lack many of the characteristics that are innate to humans. One need only look back to the Microsoft Tweetbot debacle of a few years ago to understand this.

In March of 2016, the computer mega-giant introduced its interactive chatbot named Tay to the world of Twitter, with the goal of engaging 18-24 year olds with the concept of machine learning. The chatbot was taught to interact with other users like a real human through reading and processing actual tweets.

Unfortunately, within hours, savvy Twitter users had transformed the formerly innocent bot into something vile and offensive. Simply put, AI has the potential to run amok without adequate human oversight.

How Humans Can Prepare

Within these three categories there will be numerous positions and opportunities for human workers to future-proof their careers. The best place to start is through education. Learning new skills and gaining a fundamental understanding of intelligent automation technology can make you an invaluable asset and catapult your career possibilities.

Ayehu’s Automation Academy is designed to provide individuals of every level with the up-to-the-minute knowledge, experience and tools necessary to develop and expand their automation knowledge. Best of all, it’s available completely free of charge. Develop your skills today to become a trainer, evangelist or manager of tomorrow. Enroll for free today!

Introducing Ayehu NG v1.6 – New Advanced Features

Author: Guy Nadivi

If you’re an existing user of Ayehu NG, or even if you’re just thinking about trying us on for size, you probably know that one of the core strengths of our solution is how easily and quickly you can plug Ayehu into various ITSM platforms, cyber security tools, operating systems, messaging and notification solutions, and increasingly chatbots and AI services.  Almost all of these integrations can be activated seamlessly without writing a single line of code. 

And the purpose of providing you with all these pre-built integrations and connectors that make up our ever-expanding ecosystem, is to simplify your ability to orchestrate automation across any platform in your environment.  All from a single pane of glass!

We add new integrations and their accompanying activities to Ayehu on an on-going basis, but sometimes, that hasn’t been quick enough for some of our customers and prospects. 

In our last release of NG, v1.5, we introduced you to its new Activity Designer.

This new functionality allowed you to build your own activities from scratch, in Python, C#, or .NET.  Many of our customers use the Activity Designer to create activities for actions against external systems that we don’t currently connect to. For example, you can use it to connect to Dropbox, Google, or any other third-party system that has accessible APIs.

SDK

In this new version 1.6 of NG, we’ve added a software development kit.  This new SDK means that now, in addition to being able to build custom activities, you can build entire custom integrations!  So if you’d like to integrate Ayehu with a platform we don’t currently have an integration with, you can do it yourself.  This might be especially helpful if you’ve got a homegrown application that’s the only one of its kind, and you want to automate certain tasks for it.  You can do that with the new SDK, and orchestrate the workflows from right inside Ayehu NG, just like you do for your other platforms.

NG-to-NG Migration Tool

In the past, migrating an NG workflow from a pre-production environment like DEV or TEST was a bit challenging.

In release 1.6 though it becomes a breeze with our new NG-to-NG Migration Tool.  This tool makes moving workflows from a DEV or TEST environment much simpler because it brings over almost all the entities associated with that workflow into your PRODUCTION environment.

BTW – this comprehensive migration can be done on a single workflow or an entire folder of workflows.

Slack Bot

Many of you have been taking advantage of Ayehu’s integration with Slack to build intelligent bots which provide your end users with powerful self-service remediation capabilities, that have eased the strain on your service desks.

In version 1.6, we’ve greatly simplified the process of configuring a Slack bot to just one click.  On top of that, we’ve also activated an “Add to Slack” button on our Slack Integration page so you can easily register your bot with Slack.

Configurable Password Policy

Ayehu NG v1.6 now has enhanced security for configuring default password policy. This means that passwords for all new accounts will be much stronger.  You can now set your own default password strength and parameters based on your organization’s security needs.

So if your password standard requires 12 characters, two special characters, and a number, you can now set this as default and it will be enforced across all local accounts in your environment. If you prefer synching accounts from your Active Directory, then NG will default instead to the password policies you’ve established in AD.

Updated Installer

Another improvement NG v1.6 introduces is an updated installer, which simplifies installation while also providing greater visibility into the process.

In the image seen here, you can review all the components to be installed on a component selection tree.  The most popular components are selected by default, but you can easily toggle the ones you don’t want. We’ve also added a pre-requisite screen check to ensure that the installation will complete successfully, and to let you know if any minimum installation requirements are lacking.

Refreshed Login Page

This new feature is more about aesthetics than anything else, but we’ve refreshed the login page with a bit more of a dynamic look and feel to it.

image001

BMC Helix Remedyforce Integration

Finally this newest release of NG includes an integration for BMC’s Helix Remedyforce.  It’s basically a duplicate of the existing BMC Remedyforce integration capabilities but on BMC’s Helix platform. This new integration allows you to Create, Update, and Get records from Helix Remedyforce, as well as execute SOQL queries.

If you’re interested in test driving NG v1.6 with all its cool new features, download your very own free 30-day trial version here.

To watch a replay of the live webinar and see these new features in action, click the image below.

5 Biggest Blunders Organizations Make with AI

According to Gartner, implementation of artificial intelligence has skyrocketed by 270% over the last four years, with spending on AI software and hardware anticipated to soar from the present amount of $37.5 billion to a whopping $97.9 billion by the year 2023. There’s no argument. AI is here to stay, and it’s going to become a truly integral part of our everyday lives. As such, business leaders in every industry are wondering what AI means for their organizations and, more importantly, how they can capitalize on the tremendous opportunities this innovative technology presents.

In order to be successful with AI, however, it’s imperative that leaders not move forward too quickly without adequate awareness of the many obstacles that could delay, limit or even completely destroy their efforts. Specifically, here are five common traps many organizations have already fallen into that you can hopefully avoid with your own AI initiative.

Being misled.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but not every AI product on the market is what it’s presented to be. In fact, many less-than-forthcoming and often downright dishonest service providers are selling what amounts to glorified automation tools. Automation is great, but the true value of AI lies in its ability to become smarter and more autonomous over time. Don’t be led astray. Do your homework and, if possible, take potential platforms for a test-drive before you invest. Trust us – you’ll know the difference.

Putting the cart before the horse.

Once you’ve got a true AI platform at your disposal, it’s easy to get so excited about the potential artificial intelligence presents for your company that you end up getting ahead of yourself. Keep in mind that AI isn’t an end, but a means to that end. Achieving big-picture goals often requires accomplishing smaller milestones along the way. Focus first on identifying specific business issues, pain points and areas of the business where AI can provide fast, measurable wins and then scale from there. Slow and steady wins the race.

Forgetting data.

The fact is, the outcome of an artificial intelligence engine is only as good as the quantity and quality of the data it is able to ingest. You can’t expect an AI platform to start churning out valuable insights or begin learning and improving contextually if you don’t adequate data to begin with. It’ll work to a degree, but it’ll produce substandard results, so what’s the point? Start by determining whether or not you have the right architecture in place, and if not, focus your efforts there first.

Leaving silos.

If you’re looking to store grain, silos are great. If you’re trying to implement an organization-wide AI initiative, not so much. Why? Because an effective, end-to-end AI strategy inherently depends on integration of data and collaboration of teams. You may have mapped out areas within your organization where AI might help, but if you don’t break down the roadblocks that exist within your infrastructure, don’t expect good results. Data gathered from one team that isn’t shared with the data scientists managing AI models is useless without seamless collaboration.

Failing to invest in skills.

Sure, the beauty of artificial intelligence is, well, that it’s artificial. Implemented properly, AI can run circles around human employees, performing work faster and eliminating error. That said, humans are still very much needed. In fact, some would argue even more-so now than ever before. Without the right team to ensure everything is running smoothly, you’ll quickly lose ground. Thankfully, fighting the war for external talent isn’t necessary. Oftentimes, reskilling in-house employees is not only sufficient, but a much better approach. In either case, an intentional investment in skills is equally as important as choosing the right AI platform.

Artificial intelligence presents tremendous opportunity for organizations of every size and industry. But in order to be successful with AI, leaders must apply their own human intelligence to the process. By knowing which common blunders to steer clear of, like the five listed above, successful implementation and the business value that follows will be well within your reach.  

How NOT to be an intelligent automation failure

How NOT to be an intelligent automation failure

According to a recent survey by IDC, of the organizations already using artificial intelligence solutions, only 25% have developed an enterprise-wide AI strategy. What’s holding them back? Well, according to that same survey, most failed AI projects occur due to lack of skills, staff and resources, as well as unrealistic expectations. So, how can you avoid and/or overcome these common roadblocks with your own intelligent automation implementation? The following five tips should help set you up for success.

Start with the right partner/product.

First and foremost, you want to make sure the technology vendor you choose to work with is reputable and offers a robust, agile and scalable product. The right intelligent automation platform can easily make up for three of the main causes of implementation failure: lack of skills, resources and staff. But remember – not all products or vendors are created equal. Look for a partner that has a proven track record with other satisfied clients and offers plenty of support after the sale, not just before it.

Assemble the right team.

If enterprise-wide proliferation of intelligent automation is your goal, then handing it off as a part-time project to team members who are already juggling a full workload won’t help you achieve it. Being successful with AI requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, and for that, a dedicated team is necessary. If you can’t afford to hire experts? No problem. Train and reskill your existing staff. Just don’t make it an afterthought, or the results will suffer.

Align your goals (and be realistic).

As mentioned, one of the main reasons an intelligent automation initiatives fails is unrealistic expectations. If you’re heading into the project thinking you’re going to automate everything right out of the gate, there’s a massively good chance you’re going to end up disappointed. Instead, start slow and work your way up. Identify and automate the areas of your business that will produce the quickest and most impactful ROI, and that directly support the company’s overarching goals and objectives.

Take time to understand AI decisions.

When adopting artificial intelligence, it’s crucial that you are able to understand the ‘why’ behind each decision made by AI. Taking a lackadaisical approach simply won’t cut it. For instance, if your AI is automatically approving some applications but declining others, you need to be able to confidently point to the factors that went into those decisions. This is important because while AI has come a long way, it’s not 100% infallible. Being able to quickly and effectively address and correct mistakes is key.

Keep it real.

Let’s face it. Change can be a scary thing. And perhaps nothing is more fear-inducing to a human employee than the idea that intelligent automation is going to render them irrelevant. You can’t expect to successfully achieve organization-wide AI if you don’t have the support and cooperation of everyone – especially those who will be directly impacted. People will inevitably have questions. Be open, honest and transparent. Communicate clearly and consistently how the impending changes will not threaten but instead improve their lives. Change doesn’t have to be a roadblock, as long as you manage it.

Without question, intelligent automation, powered by AI and machine learning, is poised to become a complete game-changer. The challenge lies in an organization’s ability to effectively implement it. By following the five tips listed above, you can avoid the common pitfalls plaguing so many others and position your company a step ahead of the game.

The best time to start is now! Download your free 30-day trial of Ayehu NG and put the power of intelligent automation to work for you!

Three Steps To Prepare The Enterprise For The Digital Workforce In 2020

Article originally published in Forbes Technology Council.

There’s no longer any uncertainty or ambiguity. Automation absolutely, positively will impact the way every one of us works. The degree to which that impact occurs will vary, but make no mistake: Humans in every industry and position, from warehouse workers to C-suite executives, will someday soon be working alongside digital workers (a.k.a. virtual agents).

Just what will this future digital enterprise look like? The answer to that lies in how organizations implement artificial intelligence.

The ‘How’ Vs. The ‘What’

For many workers, the way that automation and artificial intelligence technologies are adopted will be more effective than the technology itself. The same goes for organizations as a whole. To succeed in the digital age, business leaders must begin to shift their viewpoint from opportunistic to a more systematic approach. In years past, automating on an ad hoc basis was sufficient. Over time, however, that strategy led to silos that were not adequately governed, nor were they scalable.

The future of automation in tomorrow’s workplace must be rigorous and robust, policy- and data-driven, and, above all, enterprise-centric. In other words, it’s not so much about the “what” as it is about the “how.” This will be the main differentiator between organizations that succeed in achieving digital transformation and those that fall irreparably behind.

Three Steps To Success With Intelligent Automation

1. Build. New technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning will inevitably affect some workers in adverse ways. This has always been the case, as people continue to be displaced from one economic sector to another. In fact, according to one estimation by McKinsey, up to 30% of the global workforce (and between 400 million and 800 million workers) could be displaced by automation by the year 2030.

But while some jobs will ultimately be eliminated, the current and ongoing technological innovation we are experiencing will simultaneously create new opportunities.

Perhaps it is more than fitting that a fictional Borg from the futuristic Star Trek series uttered the infamous words, “Resistance is futile.” Like it or not, AI and automation technologies are already having an impact on the workplace, and they’re not going away any time soon.

The future of work will ultimately belong to those individuals who are willing to embrace and leverage artificial intelligence to their advantage. This may come in the form of self-automation — that is, the foresight and desire to automate portions of one’s own job in the interest of productivity and efficiency. Organizational leaders can and should meet them in the middle by seeking out key employees who show promise, optimism and a willingness to adapt and reskill, if necessary.

Investing in human capital with the ultimate goal of developing an automation center of excellence will create a compromise between top-down mandated automation and bottom-up, enthusiastic support and participation. This is the ideal scenario and one that will drive ongoing innovation and success. Some key roles to focus on for the future include:

  • Automation architects.
  • Automation engineers.
  • Site reliability and DevOps engineers (SRE).
  • API product managers.
  • Data scientists.

2. Standardize. With the right people and teams in place, the next step toward leveraging intelligent automation for digital transformation should involve the standardization of processes and the creation of best practices.

To start, the focus should be on delivering continuous value rather than aiming for one major change. This is achieved via strategic increments.

Centralized governance will then help to ensure ongoing compliance and support future growth and expansion.

3. Invest. Many will find it surprising that technology is actually the final piece in the automation puzzle. This is due in large part to the old-school, opportunistic way of thinking. The new recommended approach is one that involves a strategic cultural change and focuses on people and processes first, and then tools and technology.

Once these first two factors have been determined, the search for the right automation platform can begin. Ideally, the criteria should include no-code or low-code solutions that are both robust and agile. This will enable the eventual proliferation of automation across the entire enterprise while also supporting the future growth and changing needs of the business and/or industry.

Closing Thoughts

What will the workplace of tomorrow look like? For human workers, it will be markedly different and require new skills and greater adaptability. For the enterprise, it will be a composite of real and artificial intelligence — humans and machines — working together toward a common goal of innovation and success.

Dare to take risks despite your fear. Organizations and their employees who approach these challenges with eagerness and optimism, a willingness to adapt and evolve, and the ability to strike the ideal balance between humans and machines will ultimately be the ones who rise to the top.

Building Intelligent Automation Into Your Organizational Culture

In order for intelligent automation to be truly successful and produce sustainable results, it can’t be a one-off project that is exclusive to the IT department. It has to be woven into the very culture of the organization and fully embraced across the entire company. But changing corporate culture is much easier said than done. How can you incorporate automation so that it becomes an integral part of the everyday work environment? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Get buy-in from top leadership. Cultural changes typically start at the top and trickle downward, so make sure that everyone in a leadership role within your organization understands the benefits of intelligent automation and why it’s so critical that it become a part of the underlying atmosphere of the company as a whole. Once they’re on board, it’s time to start leading by example.

Sell the benefits. If you want your company culture to embrace automation, you have to make everyone in every position aware of how it will benefit them directly. In other words, show what’s in it for them. Otherwise, you will lack the support needed to make the final shift. Remember, intelligent automation isn’t just about those running your help desk. Things like self-service automation also provide enhanced flexibility, autonomy and empowerment to the end-user. Get the message out.

Identify and address obstacles. Change management is challenging, especially when it involves the evolution of an entire corporate culture, but it’s not impossible. You just have to understand what’s standing in the way so you can overcome those obstacles. For instance, if your employees are scared that intelligent automation will make them obsolete, they will resist. You have to address and quell that fear head on by showing them the opportunities it will bring for new roles, such as Automation Engineer, and the ability to do more with less.

Incentivize and reward. Culture change happens much more smoothly and effectively when it’s not shoved down the throats of your employees. Instead of simply telling them and expecting them to adapt, make them a part of your company’s evolution. Not only will this help them better understand the reasons behind the change, but the buy-in will create a much stronger foundation for the shift across the board.

Keep it fluid. The beauty of intelligent automation, and technology as a whole, is that it’s constantly changing and improving. A corporate culture is much the same in that it should be something that can be molded and enhanced as needed. Keep an open mind and make modifications where necessary. As long as you’ve got a solid foundation to work with, the only direction you can go is up.

Have you been successful in weaving intelligent automation into your organizational culture? Please share your insight, advice and tips in the comment section below. And don’t forget to launch your free product demo of our Next Generation Automation & Orchestration platform, powered by AI. It’s something you must experience for yourself!

Is AI Killing Jobs….or Creating Them?

Ask a roomful of people how they feel about artificial intelligence in the context of jobs and you’ll undoubtedly received a mixed bag of responses. Some will undoubtedly express their concerns that AI is poised to destroy employment as we know it today. Others will take a more optimistic approach, viewing AI as a tool to help us work more efficiency and accomplish things we couldn’t do with human workers alone. Even the various analysts and economists range widely in their predictions of what role AI will ultimately have in the future of work.

The truth, as is quite often the case, lies somewhere in the middle. There’s no question that intelligent automation will eliminate some jobs, impacting just about every industry and sector across the board. At the same time, however, AI will create new jobs, both in categories we’re familiar with as well as many more that have yet to be developed.

AI = Job Killer?

Automation is nothing new. It’s a technology that’s been embraced and lauded by organizations for decades upon decades. The key differentiator here is the introduction of the word “intelligent.” It’s the cognitive abilities afforded by AI and machine learning that will ultimately enable businesses to optimize their use of human labor. And that’s where the shakeup will inevitably occur.

In fact, a shift has already begun – particularly in areas where the work is highly repetitive, regulatory intensive and prone to error. Why pay humans to perform work that could easily be carried out by an intelligent bot – especially when that bot is capable of understanding the meaning and context of the information at hand?

So, does this mean people are being eliminated from the workplace entirely? Not so fast. In fact, there are plenty of categories of employment that will remain relatively untouched by AI. For instance, many professional services categories will remain intact as they still require a level of responsiveness that cannot yet be replicated by artificial intelligence.

AI = Job Creator.

Studies indicate a surprisingly positive view of AI’s role and ultimate impact on tomorrow’s workplace. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 75% of U.S. workers do not view their jobs as being at risk of elimination – at least not within the next decade.

Additionally, the vast majority (87%) of workers say they wish their employers would automate more tasks and processes. Why? Because they recognize the promise that AI brings in terms of improved efficiency and increased productivity. In other words, most people understand that AI will make their work lives better, not worse.

But, what about those repetitive, error-prone tasks that are already being shifted from human to machine? Won’t those workers end up in the unemployment line? Not if they are willing to change gears. In fact, the rapid adoption of AI and intelligent automation is already creating exciting new roles and opportunities.

Part of the challenge here is that it’s difficult to fathom jobs and employment categories that may not yet exist. Thinking back 20 years, the concept of a role such as social media manager was completely foreign, yet today it’s something most organizations have. Likewise, looking forward 20 years into the future, there will undoubtedly be whole new sectors of the economy that do not exist today. And along with those emerging opportunities, human workers will also need to adapt and evolve.

Without question, the world is experiencing a revolutionary shift, thanks in large part to artificial intelligence technology. Thankfully, the magnitude of the impact that shift will have on the future of work is still largely within our control. Those who are at the greatest risk of redundancy can provide themselves with a safety net by proactively reskilling and reinventing themselves.

Not sure where to begin? Our Automation Academy is a great place to start. Enroll today!