Next Level Automation

by Todd Oulton

The list of obstacles we need to overcome to automate are endless, however with so many companies having already embarked on this journey, we can leverage their learnings and ensure a smooth start and steady progress with high value deliverables. Understanding some very critical fundamentals up front will drastically improve your chances of success.

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As the industry embarks on its continuous automation journey, we find many methods to choose from when it comes to getting started. These include starting slow and methodical, while others attempt the big bang approach and many variations in between. Some of the main concerns we face when starting this journey is how to learn as we go and pivot quickly when it comes to the many headwinds. Some of the obstacles to overcome are as follows: 

  • Securing Senior Level support and preliminary investment 
  • Determining when your first success will be realized and how to measure its inherent value
  • Creating a scalable set of solutions to drive acceleration 
  • Tool selection and where do we find the resources to ensure success 

End-to-end automation - is a methodology that enables the delivery of automation solutions across an entire process/value chain, which may involve using multiple tools. 

The chart below depicts the journey and although it is proven successful for some to start with task based, the key is to focus on getting to the end to end as quickly as possible. You will find most of your business value as you enter that space.


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Let’s first start by understanding the benefits between task-based automation and end to end.

Many organizations start their automation journey with basic tools, such as OCR and RPA, to automate tasks in targeted areas, such as finance operational processes. These initiatives typically deliver value, but the limitations of using one or two tools to automate existing processes soon become apparent. Additional software tools were then added to the toolkit, and process redesign was brought into scope 

The end-to-end automation method of delivering automation allows organizations to achieve more significant benefits across the whole value chain. At the other extreme, task automation seeks to automate discrete tasks – typically fragments of an end-to-end process. The most advanced adopters of intelligent automation have steadily moved from task-based automation towards end-to-end.

End-to-end automation as a remedy for process fragmentation

  • Fragmented processes exist in siloes; a mantra often accompanies this situation: ‘This is just how we do things.’ Reimagination is a radical approach to process improvement that calls for the end-to-end rewiring of processes aligned to the organization’s objectives. It can also help organizations realize more significant benefits through designing automatable workflows across the entire process
  • Using the end- to-end automation approach, they can benefit from simplified business processes, an increased number of processes that could be automated end-to-end and an improved range of potential use cases

Reimagination forces business units to step out of siloes to understand and redefine how processes interact with each other. Instead of pushing the bottlenecks upstream or downstream, reimagination requires taking a step back and reviewing the whole chain of processes: remove all the duplication, waste, and complexity, and take advantage of the digital tools available to do things in a better way. 

Integrating different solutions

  • Leaders should be aware that while new technologies offer new possibilities, it is not the case that the more technologies, the better. Each technology needs to be connected. IT needs to be on board to ensure the new technology can be integrated and is appropriate for the overall architecture.
  • Intelligent automation teams should be plugged into the business, work closely with transformation teams, and be aligned on the process improvement initiatives taking place in each department. 

Intelligent Automation - has proved itself and is now firmly in the mainstream with organizations realizing a broad set of benefits: improved accuracy, increased productivity, enhanced customer and employee experience, and cost reduction. 

The diagram below illustrates the natural evolution that occurs in your automation journey and helps paint the picture for how best to navigate to AI-Powered Point of Arrival.