In “The State of Intelligent Information Management: Getting Ahead of the Digital Transformation Curve,” AIIM made the case that every organization is on – or should be on! – a Digital Transformation journey. The heart of this Transformation journey is understanding, anticipating, and redefining internal and external customer experiences. AIIM believes that Digital Transformation effectiveness is imperiled by a rising tide of information chaos and confusion, and that rising tide of information chaos and confusion is creating a demand for new information management practices that extend beyond traditional Enterprise Content Management.
Our research in the State of the Industry report identified Digitalizing Core Organizational Processes as currently the most important of the 4 practice areas for organizations relative to achieving their Digital Transformation goals, and so our objective in this Industry Watch was to probe more deeply into how organizations view process automation and to determine whether the reality of their current efforts is enough to achieve true Digital Transformation.
Our research leads to these three core findings:
1 – True Digital Transformation requires more than just digitizing back end processes.
2 – Many organizations have yet to do the very basic work of process automation, putting them at a severe disadvantage in their efforts to embrace Digital Transformation. Despite the relative maturity of many core process improvement technologies, there is still significant market opportunity here for solution providers, although this kind of basic process standardization should not be confused with true Digital Transformation.
3 – New technologies – like Robotic Process Automation, Blockchain, Low and No-code Process Engines, and Intelligent Capture – open up opportunities to not only improve process, but to totally rethink them.
This is the third of 3 posts covering each of these questions. For more information, make sure you download our new Industry Watch report — “Digitalizing” Core Business Processes — it’s free until AUGUST 1. After that date, it will go behind our member paywall.
Organizations have yet to fully grasp the potential impact of the new wave of process technologies. It is growing increasingly clear that while new technologies become available, and terms like multi-channel intelligent capture and RPA are bantered about by consumers and evangelized by suppliers, there will not be widespread adoption in a short period of time unless the operational value of the technologies align with the goals and vision of the organization.
Understanding of the potential transformative impact of RPA and intelligent capture technologies is still in its very early stages, indicating a need for basic industry education on the technologies and development of use cases to better understand its content-specific applications.
In order to gain consumer acceptance and grow their confidence, education must be provided on both the technology and the benefit they deliver to the organization as a whole and the groups and individuals impacted by its introduction. An important question to answer is how the technology will support information security, operational efficiency, regulatory compliance, and improving the customer experience.
The relative importance placed on the four core technology building blocks tied to Digitalizing Core Organizational Processes reflect a legacy focus that needs to evolve in the years ahead. Over 40% of survey participants either already have an ECM or BPM solution or are actively looking at one. The corresponding lower percentages for multi-channel intelligent capture and RPA indicate a set of technologies that are not yet mainstream but offer a significant set of capabilities for moving from tactical process improvement to strategic process transformation.
When asked about the most important benefit they hope to achieve over the next 12 months from process automation, organizations reflect the dichotomy between the traditional process management focus on cost reduction (42% = “lower the costs of processing”) and a more transformative goal of value creation (46% = “visibility to information sooner in the business process” and 36% = “gain more insight through analytics”)
The top two priorities for new process automation capabilities – “process analytics and reporting” and “user defined process mapping and modification” – reflect a desire to move process improvement to a more strategic level and to better democratize its capabilities.
Opportunities abound for RPA, but it is still in the very early stages of adoption, particularly among those with a “content” focus. Less than 50% of organizations are aware and understand RPA; Only 30% have actively embraced RPA and are moving to implement RPA. Potential desired RPA targets closely align with current points of process pain – internal reviews and approvals, HR processes, sales processes and contracts, customer correspondence, and finance.
Increased spending plans over the next 18-24 months indicate a degree of confusion about process management platforms (should be investing in in-house capabilities or focus on leveraging best of breed?).
Increased spending plans over the next 18-24 months for specific processes indicate rich opportunity for RPA and Intelligent Capture solution providers – all of the targets would benefit from these next generation capabilities.