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Secrets of process automation success: Start small, think big and scale fast

In this blog from Pedro Guimaraes, he addresses some the key concerns around scaling automation initiatives in order to get best results from your investment in automation technology.

Many businesses are looking to transform the workplace to enable fully digital processes to reduce errors and streamlining operations across the organisation. According to an analysis by the McKinsey Global Institute:

· Globally, almost half the activities employees perform—which account for nearly USD 16 trillion in wages—could potentially be automated.

· Automation will transform far more jobs than it will eliminate.

· Among the industries studied, the automation potential ranged from 27 to 73 percent.

Many companies are already enjoying the benefits of automation, but few are seeing the enterprise-wide gains. There are key limiting factors that the industry leaders face, these are not limited to technology but limited workforce and skills.

“In some cases we see clients start an automation project with a small team to simplify one or two processes with the business operations. More often than not this team is too close to the process to be able to envision how the use of automation could be extended to benefit other parts of the business. This is where the benefits of the technology plummet”

Says Pedro Guimaraes, Ireland Country Manager

Some of the main challenges organisations face in their journey to scaling automation are:

1. Lack of Business and IT collaboration can significantly hamper automation adoption. It creates an environment where no one takes ownership of outcomes and decision making. Resulting in either delaying or completely ignoring the opportunities that can have a deeper and wider impact.

2. Selecting the right technology: can be the difference between success and failure. Often the right solution to resolve a complex problem, is a combination of complementary automation technologies working together

3. Lack of Top-down approach: can lead to a mindset of only being able to see the problem at granular level with no “Big-picture” vision.

4. Value-based approach to success: to create a vision so that your automation drivers are not limited to just cost and savings.

At an early stage of the automation journey, organisations can really benefit from establishing a centre of excellence (COE). Partnering with an automation consultancy such as ABP to oversee the expansion of the technology within business operations, can help you maximise the returns on your investment. This team has a helicopter view of various business processes and helps to:

- Identify the right processes for automation

- Acts as the centre of knowledge, skills and standards, ensuring success of all automation projects

- Supports existing automations through their lifecycle

- Provide insights into various processes and maintains tight governance

Transforming through automation takes effort and investment, the prize can be very significant if you get your ambition, foundations, and agility right. Automation can provide numerous benefits including process efficiencies, better customer and employee experience, and increased revenue. This along with helping to improve the processes that are labour intensive and need lot of manual effort.

Key benefits that Automation can achieve:

1. Reduced operational costs

2. Faster and Better customer service

3. Improved quality with lower risk

4. Increased Flexibility and business agility

Adoption of automation is not always about performing cheaper and faster rules-based administrative tasks, it is also an opportunity to create a foundation that helps accelerate digital transformation and creates a strong partnership across the teams.

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