Transforming or remaking processes is one of the key pillars of digital transformation. It’s a big reason automation has become a focus for business leaders across so many different industries.
We’re not necessarily talking about the kind of automation you see on a factory floor, with robotic arms and sensors (although it could certainly encompass that). The field of automation has expanded to include AI and machine learning that can handle everyday administrative chores, from paying invoices and managing payroll to processing orders and deliveries.
In many industries, the desire and budget for automation is there. But just ask any organization that has dealt with modernization initiatives. They can tell you that having budget and access to a modern IT toolkit does not automatically translate into success. In fact, sometimes it can do the exact opposite — flattering to deceive with initial successes only to fail at scaling and accommodating alternative use-cases.
Below we detail five best practice recommendations to streamline the adoption and deployment of intelligent automation within your workplace:
1. Obtain Strategic Buy-In
Despite an obvious need for automation, there must be a strategic focus for automation to succeed. Research from McKinsey found that the overriding factor in successful deployment is leadership’s identification of automation as a key strategic priority. Make executive level acceptance of automation a strategic imperative — above and beyond the specific functional benefits it may bring — to create clarity and the foundation for long-term success.
2. Perform a Process Audit
Research from CRM-giant Salesforce shows that mapping out complex processes is the biggest automation challenge for 54% of organizations. Failing to gain a clear view of the process landscape and the detail associated with each process will limit any attempt at automation. Ensure that detailed audits are performed across all relevant processes and departments to get the best from intelligent document processing.
3. Invest in People and New Ways to Work
While considering the technical aspects of automation it is easy to forget the human components. Automation requires significant human skills, many of which are not readily available within the workforce today. Only 8% of organizations believe that they will not face automation-related skills gaps in their workforce. The vast majority will face training and talent acquisition challenges in the coming years. Again, ensuring executive awareness of this strategic need is critical, as is the development of an inclusive and effective roadmap for human resources to work with, and not against, automation initiatives.
4. Move to The Cloud
Intelligent document processing is an invaluable pathway to automation. One unstated requirement of that recommendation is the need to move to the cloud. While some IDP platforms are available as on-premise solutions, getting maximum impact from intelligent document processing means the platform must be cloud-native. There are numerous reasons for this including:
- The vast scalability offered by the cloud
- Ease of integration to multiple internal and external data sources
- Continuous innovation/continuous delivery (CI/CD) aspect of cloud-native solutions that remove the need for manual software updates and ensure the latest and most secure software
- Future-proofing offered by leveraging 3rd party cloud-services for any part of the IDP platform — such as new AI/ML models or innovation in areas such as low-code or visual environments
5. Involve IT
There has been a shift over recent years to business-led investment and roll-out of technology — largely fueled by the increase in Software-as-a-Service solutions that offer simple setup and onboarding. This transition is moving the role of IT within the business to that of enablement and maintenance as opposed to strategic and system advice. However, research from McKinsey shows that, for automation projects at least, success is driven by the early involvement of IT. Considering the roadblocks frequently hit by individual automation projects, early involvement of IT allows for a wider perspective on delivering intelligent document processing that uses multiple technologies in a unified platform.
Achieving success with automation requires more than just access to modern technology. It’s vital that your organization commits to an automation journey, leveraging the best across people, processes, and technology.
Want to learn more about getting the most out of intelligent automation? Read our blog post, “The Five Truths of Intelligent Automation.”
Jason Burian (VP, Product Management)
As VP of Product Management, Jason loves investigating new and exciting technologies that help customers solve business problems. He puts this research into action by designing, building and launching various software solutions for KnowledgeLake.