Level up your process automation.
Automating business processes can simplify an organization’s work and create efficiencies that save on time and costs. Repetitive, low-level tasks that are typically required by employees are shifted to technology to complete. This allows business processes to be streamlined, and for the human workforce to do more high-level work.
However, there are barriers on the road to automating processes. The intention to drive change—no matter how enthusiastic and embracing—doesn’t necessarily translate into real digital transformation. The following concepts explore some of the hurdles and solutions CIOs should take into consideration when undertaking an automation process program.
Stake out a vantage point—and share it
Executives and staff who are not part of the IT team may not be aware of, or understand, the potential of automation technologies. Part of the CIO’s role is to search for, and investigate, that higher vantage point – the perspective that reveals the possibilities for the enterprise. From there, the CIO’s responsibility is to assist the executive team in seeing the potential of that vision.
Dig below the surface
Once the decision is made to undertake a digital transformation project, if CIOs, and their team, don’t do the serious forensics of examining existing workflow processes, efforts to transform will flounder. The deep work of analyzing and evaluating workflows will reveal where automation can deliver optimal results. However, if only a cursory investigation is attempted, there’s the danger that inefficiencies will continue, risks will increase and errors will be made.
This excavating, analytical stage demands that the business analysts clearly define the steps of existing processes, and establish which of those steps are actually required. Examine the process end-to-end, and delineate whether there are choke points, obstacles or discordant legacy systems in the process stream. Ask whether the system your business built a decade ago is still relevant now. Finally, determine whether a new, automated process has the capability to adapt to emerging realities as they develop.
Present the vision
After a picture of the state of the system’s performance has been established, it’s time to present the findings and future possibilities to executive colleagues in a way that makes sense for the business. A visual representation can be useful in demonstrating how disparate functions and processes across multiple departments lack continuity.
Hire the digital talent for the change effort
IT departments may find implementing an automation program is more difficult than anticipated. Often, enterprises don’t always have the talent or expertise within the business to lead the change at scale. Faced with the technical challenges related to the complexities of cloud computing, and the various architectures spanning from the cloud to on-premise, firms may need to hire a Fractional CIO with the commensurate technical competencies to lead an in-house mid-level IT team through digital transformation.
Have a strategy for change
A lack of buy-in from staff can be a roadblock to improving business processes. Tackling a small, first project well can create trust and motivate staff when they see the positive impact of automated processes.
On the flip side, employees may worry that they are going to be replaced by automation. It’s wise to remember that successful digital transformation has more to do with the strategic change management of people than it does technology. Therefore, it’s important to be transparent with workers about how their roles will change. Be sure to create a timeframe that offers them the time to transition to higher-value tasks and understand the new processes.
The benefits of pursuing process automation, when undertaken within a framework of change management strategy, will deliver a greater capability to scale, build a higher capacity for the workforce and take advantage of advancing technologies.
About the Author
Ashiq Ahamed is the Founder & Managing Partner of SolvedAF Consulting Inc., a boutique consulting firm providing IT consulting, growth advisory, and digital transformation services. As a strategic, delivery-focused leader, he works with organizations to change their thinking when it comes to technology, implementing solutions that achieve organizational efficiencies and improve the end user experience.
Known for his ability to see the big picture, Ashiq draws on his expertise to help organizations align their technology with their business goals.
Learn more about SolvedAF at www.solvedaf.com.
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