Four Best Practices to Guide Your Intelligent Automation Journey
There is a growing disconnect in organizations between their desire for process automation and the information that is needed to drive those processes. 54% of the information needed within a particular business application is stored within the application itself rather than within a dedicated content repository, a percentage that has remained remarkably consistent over the past five years.
These kinds of content integration failures make it very difficult for process workers to view content in context, a prerequisite for business effectiveness. In 75% of organizations, simply managing the documents and content necessary for process workers to get their job done is a problem.
The intersection between Content Services (multi-channel capture, content integration and migration, document management, and records management and preservation) and Process Services (case management, business process management, robotic process automation, and decision management) is a critical one on the journey to Digital Transformation. A failure to map this intersection will result in siloed processes and content repositories that handcuff even the most well-intentioned efforts to transform customer journeys and enhance customer experiences.
Organizations that work at “the speed of paper” are increasingly being rendered non-competitive and irrelevant. We work and live today in an age where ubiquitous broadband internet and ever-more-powerful mobile devices combine to let workers work where, when and to some extent how they want to. But this means more than simply scanning paper and leveraging email in support of digitization initiatives. Rather, we think it calls for a fundamental rethinking of how we approach key business outcomes. It requires that information be digitized and that work processes be developed, or reworked, with a focus on digital-first and automation wherever possible. And it requires that organizations adopt a posture of agility and responsiveness rather than one of passivity and reactivity.
Leading organizations understand these four core Intelligent Automation best practices:
- Start with a Realistic Assessment of the Current State of Automation in your Organization: The reality facing most organizations is that despite many well-intended efforts, process automation lags far behind where organizations would like it to be. Typically, two-thirds of organizations report that their core back-end processes are less than 50% automated. As one banking executive said, “A big challenge is the maturity of the business and its processes. It’s hard to automate when processes are not standardized.”
- Integrate Process Automation Initiatives with your Efforts to Tackle the Rising Tide of Information Chaos - And Vice Versa: There are many reasons why efforts to automate are so problematic. But at the top of the list is the reality that across every core back-end business process, unstructured and semi-structured information (i.e., content) represents a significant obstacle to full automation. The high % of unstructured information engulfing business processes is important for optimizing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) because this information must be turned into structured data for RPA engines to be effective. Two out of three organizations say that “Documents create problems for most RPA tools” and 70% say “Unstructured information is the Achilles' Heel for many RPA implementations.”
- Educate the C-Suite on the Strategic Benefits: While cost savings are an important immediate benefit of process automation, don’t neglect to educate the C-Suite on the strategic benefits as well. Process automation has traditionally been directly associated with increased efficiency and reduced costs. And while these drivers are still important, it is also critical to position intelligent automation as a strategic initiative addressing C-level customer experience (CX) concerns. The top drivers for undertaking a process automation project – 1) improving data quality; 2) reducing manual errors; and 3) improving customer service – are clearly tied to the creation of seamless customer experiences. A failure to address these underlying concerns can often result in a CX “veneer” that can prove especially frustrating to customers once they penetrate the veneer and encounter ugly and manual back-office processes.
- Embrace the Next Generation of Process Services to Leverage your Existing ECM and BPM Investments: For many organizations, core back-office automation challenges remain. But those with existing investments in BPM and ECM technologies are now looking for new and additional process platforms beyond traditional BPM and ECM that are nimbler, more agile, and more easily deployed by the business to tackle the next wave of process challenges. Forrester talks about deep processes (“BPM grew up handling complex, long-running processes”) and wide processes (“the long tail of applications that codify the dozens, if not hundreds, of manual processes that can trip up customer experiences”). Both are important.
About John Mancini
John Mancini is the President of Content Results, LLC and the Past President of AIIM. He is a well-known author, speaker, and advisor on information management, digital transformation and intelligent automation. John is a frequent keynote speaker and author of more than 30 eBooks on a variety of topics. He can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as jmancini77. Recent keynote topics include: The Stairway to Digital Transformation Navigating Disruptive Waters — 4 Things You Need to Know to Build Your Digital Transformation Strategy Getting Ahead of the Digital Transformation Curve Viewing Information Management Through a New Lens Digital Disruption: 6 Strategies to Avoid Being “Blockbustered” Specialties: Keynote speaker and writer on AI, RPA, intelligent Information Management, Intelligent Automation and Digital Transformation. Consensus-building with Boards to create strategic focus, action, and accountability. Extensive public speaking and public relations work Conversant and experienced in major technology issues and trends. Expert on inbound and content marketing, particularly in an association environment and on the Hubspot platform. John is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the College of William and Mary, and holds an M.A. in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.