Roadmap for a Successful and Engaging Automation Journey without “Duct Tape”
Automation is the most critical part of any digital transformation initiatives in enterprises today. With vendors hyping up the benefits of hyper-automation, promises of productivity gains with LCAP (Low Code Application Platforms), automation has become one of those “trendy projects,” for organizations to take on, be it Robotic Process Automation (RPA) or its earlier version, Digital Process Automation (DPA). With automation projects offering savings, large ROIs, productivity improvements, automation seems like a silver bullet for enterprises. However, according to a study by Ernst & Young, 30% to 50% of (robotic) process automation projects will fail globally.
These failures are not because of technology, features or intentions, but missteps in planning and analysis and a proper strategy for automation. The failures are also result of the misconception that automation can offer a quick-fix solution to broken or bad processes. The failures point to missing definitions for success and the pressures of delivery. All these factors result in a “duct taped” automation effort which results in a loss of credibility among stakeholders.
In this blog, we will look into areas that need to be taken into account for a successful, engaging automation journey.
As a first step, for successful roll-out of automation initiatives, there is a need for process mapping, analysis, and redesign of work. Existing business processes are often complex, not fully understood by all stakeholders, and lack enterprise-wide best practices. Process analysis and mapping enables stakeholders to have a consistent view of processes, enabling users to redesign them to include best practices and update business rules as needed. Process analysis aided by process mining and insights helps stakeholders understand the context of a business process in an enterprise. Because business processes do not work in isolation and are interconnected, involving multiple people, teams, sources, regulators and stakeholders, process analysis enables enterprises to have a clear understanding of how various processes are affecting the entire organization, ensuring success.
Second, after a process is chosen for automation and its dependencies and connections are analyzed, it is critical to evaluate the process from an automation standpoint in terms of objectives, performance, customer and employee experience and engagement. Simply put, automating a bad process will only give you a faster bad process, and with it faster bad outcomes.
With a process chosen, analyzed and redesigned, the next step is to understand the components to be automated. There should be an evaluation as to which tasks should be automated and which should not. As part of process analysis and insights, some vendors provide mining of tasks and processes which provide you with a collection of tasks that can be evaluated.
A typical automation initiative starts with support from business leaders, but over a period they often take a step back from monitoring the project. This occurs for multiple reasons, like the need to understand complex technologies, and inability to visualize final outcomes. However, automation initiatives require involvement from the business throughout their entire lifecycle to be successful and any automation endeavor that does not have the support and involvement of the business is likely to overrun budgets, schedules or both, resulting in failures.
Most critically, many automation initiatives are considered a done-deal soon after roll-out. However, this is a recipe for failure. It is critical that automation initiatives are continuously monitored, analyzed, reviewed against the objectives, and incrementally reworked for continuous improvement.
Rocket, with its suite of automation products provides a comprehensive set of capabilities and tools to streamline the automation. Key capabilities of Rocket’s suite of solutions include:
- Automated process mining and discovery capabilities that surface processes as they are executed in systems across the enterprises, which ensure all stakeholders have a clear understanding of all business processes, enabling them to determine which are best suited for automation.
- Low code/ No code application development capabilities allow business users, including process owners and business analysts, to collaborate with IT developer teams throughout the lifecycle of automation. This approach allows for an agile and engaging experience to address any gaps in understanding requirements.
- Single click packaging and deployment together with version and patch management capabilities allow IT administrators to visualize existing environments and manage versions. Support for Kubernetes enables scaling and availability of applications as per set Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
- Support for real time monitoring allows full visibility and control of the production environment. With Role Based Access Controls (RBACs), users can visualize all deployed applications, schedule new deployments, view status updates and sign up for alerts to quickly respond to any operational issues.
- Ability to configure key metrics on automations run as well as estimate business value to calculate return on investment provides the ability to answer executive questions quickly and easily, and to continuously improve the project.
For a successful, engaging and continuously improving automation journey, it is critical that the correct processes are chosen for automation, which requires all business processes to be understood, business leaders to be involved and engaged, deployments to be continuously monitored, and outcomes to be measured and calibrated against objectives.
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