Organizations across the globe are scrambling to achieve the so-called holy grail of business optimization: digital transformation. But what does that blanket term even mean? Moreover, how can it be achieved in a way that is both successful as well as sustainable? The key is intelligent automation, but not just a one-off tool. To be truly transformative, IT decision-makers must focus on a platform and strategy that offers a genuine end-to-end solution. Those struggling in this area can deploy the following 3-step framework.
Step 1 – Conduct a “business readiness” assessment and optimize where necessary.
True, effective digital transformation requires an honest evaluation of business readiness, both from a technology as well as a process standpoint. The IT team plays an essential role in ensuring that advanced technologies, like machine learning and intelligent automation, will align with the existing infrastructure. This group will also be responsible for developing and implementing guidelines for securing and managing the tech environment.
In addition to IT’s central role, other key stakeholders throughout the business should also be engaged with the goal of evaluating and documenting their existing processes. This is because intelligent automation delivers maximum value when applied to processes and workflows that are well-defined and already working properly. Contrarily, automation deployed against processes that are undocumented or broken can actually negatively impact ROI.
Step 2 – Develop your business case for intelligent automation.
Once you’ve identified and optimized your technology and processes, the next step is to develop a clear and compelling argument that draws correlations between intelligent automation and business objectives (operational, workforce, financial, etc.). Then, rank all proposed use cases in order of priority based on their potential rate of return. This list will provide a guideline for intelligent automation implementation. Remember to look at the big picture and focus on end-to-end solutions, including:
- Data capture
- Process orchestration
- Artificial intelligence
What’s more, when evaluating potential technology partners, be sure to look for an integrated platform. This will prevent the need for IT to manage multiple tools and employees to learn several different solutions. Additionally, by adopting an integrated approach, costs and complexity will be reduced while time-to-value will be accelerated.
Step 3 – Establish an Automation Center of Excellence (CoE).
The last piece of the successful digital transformation puzzle is to create a complete operating model around intelligent automation. This is often referred to as a Center of Excellence, or CoE for short. The CoE team is responsible for managing all things related to automation. This includes everything from developing and maintaining standards to implementing training, managing vendors, establishing best practices and more.
There are several ways to structure an Automation Center of Excellence. Three of the most common models are as follows:
- Centralized (single team)
- Decentralized (multiple business units)
- Hybrid (combination of both)
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to building a CoE, however, we’ve developed several resources that can help to effectively lay a more solid foundation. Here are just a few:
In conclusion, with the right approach, accelerated, long-term digital transformation is entirely possible. The steps above should help you lay the groundwork for a more successful, sustainable outcome.
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