I – is for Intelligent Automation | Investment | Infrastructure | Integration (IA | RPA | Smart Analytics) | Insight | Ignore Your Customers
Welcome to the NINTH part of a 26 part series charting the A – Z of Robotic Process Automation, Intelligent Automation and Digital Transformation (DT). Today’s letter is the letter ‘I‘.
Intelligent Automation: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is not intelligent automation. RPA allows companies to automate repetitive, mundane tasks that would otherwise be completed by a person (i.e. the automation of the ‘clickety-click’).
“RPA can be used very tactically for specific and niche use cases within an organisation and for short term transformation of predictable and repeatably processed. Intelligent automation tools can be applied strategically as part of an overarching automation platform strategy (e.g. AI, OCR, SDK, APIs, etc). Both require different levels of investment and both have quite different use cases.”Gourav Data – Intelligent Automation Delivery Lead
Intelligent Automation involves the application of automation and artificial intelligence to enable the automation of end to end ‘decision dependent’ processes (i.e. the replication of human ‘thinkety-think’). Artificial Intelligence allows software to learn and use that acquired knowledge to make decisions and complete tasks.
“RPA alone is not enough to scale automation across an enterprise. An Intelligent Automation toolkit is required to enable automation at scale; RPA is simply not enough. Firms need to apply a range of technologies to help automate end-to-end processes and these should include; artificial intelligence, chat bots, business process management or workflow software, APIs, OCR, machine learning, natural language processing, smart analytics, SDKs, etc.”Pavani Koudri, RPA & AI Architect
Investment: There is no such thing as a free supper. But if you are hungry you don’t need to eat in a 5 star restaurant either. Digitising and intelligently automating operations takes time, hard work and money.
“Digital transformation need not be excessively expensive nor time consuming. Organisations can approach digital transformation in different ways. For example, they may choose to run hard and deliver big bang change. Alternatively organisation may choose to deliver value in waves. Waves of value can be released from processes by quickly eliminating redundant steps within processes (i.e. pick off the low hanging fruit the quickest). Released value can then be reinvested in re-engineering other processes to optimise them for digitisation and automation.”Gourav Data – Intelligent Automation Delivery Lead
There are no short cuts too excellent but a digital transformation program does not have to cost excessive amounts of money either. For example, massive cloud computing power and cloud applications are available at the click of a button on a monthly subscription basis e.g. AWS, Azure, G-Suite, AWS Chatbots; Azure Cloud Analytics.
But do remember, investment is not just about investing in new computer equipment. People make businesses not computers. Experience in large-scale digital operations transformations demonstrates that transformation programs are highly people-centric. They rely on high workforce engagement to achieve any kind of results. So firms want to suceed in the digital age they must invest in ups killing and re-skilling their people too (i.e. new digital, data and analytical skills.). As this generation is likely to the first to live and possibly work to they are 100 then investment in life long learning will be essential.
“When companies invest in new technologies what is sometimes overlooked is the investment in talent and the skills you need for a successful programme. Whether you invest in your current employees or invest bringing in external talent, this mustn’t be overlooked as it’s just as crucial for success as the technology itself.”Harrison Goode, RPA and IA recruitment specialist.
Infrastructure: Whether an organisation operates in the cloud or on premise it needs access to infrastructure. Firms may choose to invest in their own physical infrastructure (i.e. buy and install software or servers on premise) or someone else’s in the cloud (e.g. Amazon Webservice, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure). Essentially, the fundamental difference between cloud or on-premise software is where it resides. On-premise technology, is quite literally put in a companies physical office (i.e. in their computer | server room). Whereas cloud software | technology is hosted on a third party vendor’s equipment or server and is usually accessed via a web browser.
“Cloud is simply someone else’s computer equipment.”Kieran Gilmurray, Global Automation Lead
There are many advantages to cloud computing (e.g. scalability, anywhere access, quick deployment, worry free maintenance, no up front costs, predictable monthly payments, etc.). But there are disadvantages too (e.g. reliance on good internet connectivity, less customisable, etc.).
- How to decide between cloud, on-premise and As-a-Service (Network World)
“There is no right or wrong answer to the cloud vs on premise dilemma. Every customer is different. Each has different requirements that will influence the choice of the deployment strategy. Therefore, each company must make the decision which best suits their needs.”Kieran Gilmurray, Global Automation Lead
Integration: Whilst it would be wonderful were organisations able to run on one single, all encompassing platform, life is not so simple. Often, a plethora of digital tools and technologies are required to enable an organisation to work. While it will not be possible to create the perfect, scalable, and infinitely flexible platform from the very beginning, organisations must get started, integrate technologies and then evolve their design over time.
- A Framework for Digital Businesses (Cognisant PDF)
In the digital economy, the rapid pace of change in technology capabilities and customer desires means that business strategy must be fluid. Most established companies have deployed such digital technologies as the cloud, mobile apps, APIs, the internet of things, and artificial intelligence. But few established companies are designed for digital.
Video 1: What is an API? (YouTube 3m 24s)
Organisations that digitally transform should aim to implement a robust operational backbone (e.g. Oracle ERP) and a flexible, public facing digital layer. APIs, or other micro service technologies, can be used to connect both fabrics together (i.e. the operational and digital layers).
Companies of the future will need to test and adjust solutions continually to the every changing environment. Therefore, the public facing digital layer should be built with components that can be included or discarded as business needs change. The operational backbone remains unchanged holding everything together. This type of business design enables a company to quickly pivot in response to new competitive threats and opportunities.
- Designed for Digital (Book or Audio: Ross, Beth & Mocker)
“Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how an organisation (and its people) operate and deliver value to its customers. Digital transformation is not only a technology change but also a mindset change. Organisation need to plot their journey toward digital in every part of their organisation and bring their people on that exact same journey.”Edward Halsey, Insurance, Broker and MGA Technology Expert
Insight: Organisations of the future will make use of an entire range of digital technologies (e.g IA | RPA | Smart Analytics). Technology will enable smarter decision making, the delivery of personalised customer content, just in time product delivery, and exceptional customer experiences.
“The ability to gather, organize, interpret, and act on data and analytics will be the defining competitive differentiator of our lifetimes.”Pavani Koudri, RPA & AI Architect
Ignore your customers: Ignore your customers and they will ignore you. Too often digital transformation programs focus on the technology and ignore the customer. In the excitement to digitise firms can sometimes forget that the customer is the number one, and only thing, they should be focused upon.
“The delivery of digital technologies is not a businesses goal. The digitally enabled delivery of customer value is the business goal.”Edward Halsey, Insurance, Broker and MGA Technology Expert
Interaction in a digital age is key. Organisations must create exceptional digital experiences which involve staff engaging with their customers during key moments of truth. For example, a restaurant chain’s contactless delivery process should involve the delivery driver and customer having an in-person interaction. The driver should heartily greet the customer; wait to confirm that the food is exactly as the customer wanted it (the driver must be empowered to fix any issues there and then); and they should offer their sincerest, best wishes that the customer will enjoy a great meal before leaving. This interaction will encourage customer memory and loyalty over time.
“If firms move purely to digital they they run the risk of competing on a ‘me-too; same-as’ basis with price, not great customer service, as the only differentiator. Customers demand a great price, that is expected, but they also want exceptional, personalised customer experiences too. Firms that manage to deliver both in the digital age will win.”Kieran Gilmurray, Global Automation Lead
This article highlighted things relating to intelligent automation and digital transformation beginning with the letter “I”. There are many I’s organisations need to consider but what “I” do you think is the most important?
If you like this article then you may find these articles of use too.
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- 8 questions to ask to ensure you select the ‘right’ processes to automate using RPA | IA.
- 14 rules for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Automation (AI) success
- The A-Z of Robotic Process Automation, Intelligent Automation and Digital Transformation
- 14 rules for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Automation (AI) success
- The biggest lie told to RPA customers – 50 robots equals success
- 40 essential selection criteria to choose an RPA platform
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