For many organizations, COVID-19 has been both a wake-up call and a point of reflection about the need for digital transformation across industries. During this time of disruption, hyper-intelligent automation (HIA) has played a key role in future-proofing critical operations, streamlining back-end processes, and providing high-quality customer experiences. While the ongoing health crisis will eventually subside, there’s no telling when the next global event or disaster will force companies to rethink their IT strategies. Considering how important adaptability is in the digital age, HIA will continue to play a major role in business process automation in the months (and even years) ahead, as the need for greater resilience and the enablement of digital operations is only growing.
The role of intelligent automation
To automate or not to automate is no longer a question in today’s fast-paced business landscape. Enterprises will have to integrate some level of intelligent automation (IA) for their own benefit and survival. Digital leaders must focus on investments that deliver short-term value but also provide a sustainable basis for continuous optimization and transformation of business operations. The automation of business operations allows companies to rewire their workflows and align their IT strategies with their long-term goals. Increasingly, enterprises are adopting end-user process automation via the robotics process automation (RPA) route, which is the foundation block of the IA journey.
This modern approach offers a variety of benefits - one survey of executive decision-makers found that digital transformation initiatives (including cloud, IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc.) have helped increase efficiency (40%), accelerate time to market (36%) and keep pace with shifting customer expectations and preferences (35%). However, to stay ahead of the competition, enterprises must simplify their business processes, reorganize their IT systems and invest in the right automation tools to support their long-term optimization goals.
Intelligent automation explained
Business process automation is the practice of mechanizing complex operations using modern IT systems and platforms to improve the customer and employee experience. By automating repetitive, day-to-day tasks, enterprises can increase the productivity of employees and free up more time for revenue-generating activities. Business process automation can also help accelerate decision-making, create more integrated computing environments and improve the digital customer experience.
This approach typically falls under the umbrella of HIA, which also includes other IT concepts like RPA, data analytics and system orchestration. Integrating operations with automation tools offer far more agility, resilience and elasticity compared to traditional systems - it can also help reduce operating costs and streamline complex workflows. In terms of specific benefits, one survey from UiPath found that business process automation has allowed enterprises to eliminate repetitive, mundane work duties (91%) and extend their operational capacity to better handle volume fluctuations (91%). That said, before organizations can capitalize on the automation of business operations, they first need to create a comprehensive implementation plan that will help guide their improvements.
Best practices in intelligent automation
Intelligent automation can take many different forms, depending on an organization’s specific needs and long-term implementation goals. More important than the IT itself is the overarching automation strategy - without a comprehensive roadmap, business leaders may struggle to build sustainable digital operations that can be scaled alongside shifting market conditions. According to research from the consulting firm Zinnov, 40% of current Fortune 250 enterprises operate an RPA Center of Excellence (CoE) using either a centralized or federated structure. As HIA increasingly becomes an enterprise priority, many experts anticipate that a greater number of CoEs will be established in the next 12 - 18 months
Analytics process automation also plays a key role in HIA initiatives by making it easier to share data between employees, identify trends and conduct predictive and prescriptive research. These activities are vital for use case discovery, intelligent document processing and all kinds of reporting and dashboarding tasks. In a way, APA represents a codeless form of data science by incorporating AI and ML capabilities into the core functionality of business intelligence software. This type of optimization is particularly important in big data environments, where companies collect, organize and study a massive amount of customer and market information. As noted by Forbes, users around the world currently generate around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day, an estimate that will no doubt continue to grow in the years ahead. To turn this raw data into truly actionable insights, organizations will need to incorporate APA and other automation services into their digital transformation roadmaps.
Here are a few business process automation best practices every digital leader should keep in mind when leveraging HIA solutions:
- Identify the right mix of optimization and transformation opportunities: When it comes to business process automation, it’s important to assess which operations can be fully automated and which may need some form of manual intervention.
- Assemble the building blocks of a digital operations strategy prior to integration: Integrating operations with automation features requires a strong IT foundation and a process-based deployment strategy.
- Increase ROI by redesigning siloed business processes and legacy systems: To ensure all investments deliver real value, business leaders must modernize their existing systems and processes to prepare for automation and digital transformation.
- Maximize business outcomes by leveraging a fully integrated automation framework: Intelligent automation is most effective when it’s fully integrated into IT systems, applications and management processes. When automation is able to span every business-critical platform - ERP, CRM, accounting, HR management, etc. - users receive one source of data truth and a streamlined knowledge-sharing framework.
- Combine RPA and Low-Code platforms to optimize and transform business operations: Traditionally, workflow optimization has required software developers to create a list of predefined actions and an API to help control and manage automated tasks. With RPA systems, machine-learning algorithms develop a custom action list based on observations of user behavior. When paired with a low-code platform, RPA can alleviate the need for tech-savvy developers and empower normal users to effectively leverage AI features. This combination makes the automation of business operations more intuitive and accessible, allowing enterprises to incorporate HIA into every facet of their business strategies.
Value creation using intelligent automation
As businesses look to transition to digitizing operations and leverage integrated automation, they need to look not just at RPA experts but people who know process modeling, AI/ML and core technologies. iOPEX has helped enterprises across industry lines boost their efficiency, control costs and achieve true digital transformation by providing hands-on support from end to end. Through Stratosure, we offer expert IT assessment, strategy, design, implementation and support that can prepare organizations for business process automation. From capitalizing on back-office automation to improving front-end digital customer experiences, we have the insight and expertise you need to stay ahead of the market.
For enterprises that are already committed to the automation of business operations, iOPEX has developed a workflow assistance system that includes specialized automation packages for different functions. Take your Ad Operations, HR, finance, supply chain and IT processes to the next level with our customized automation solutions.