When it comes to realizing the benefits of digital automation, maturity matters. Here are four ways to mature your digital automation strategy.
Connect applications and process
Immature strategies focus on simple tasks. It’s a great place to start, but it needs to grow to get the most out of automation. To evolve these task-based automations into automated workflows, applications and systems need to communicate. Steadily adding connected systems provides the opportunity to build increasingly complex, end-to-end workflows.
As more processes are connected, you will need a platform to manage the increasing complexity. Fortunately, vendors in different segments of enterprise IT are converging with offerings of business process automation (BPA) suites that include integration libraries and automation and workflow capabilities. This trend supports organizations building out their strategies and validates the importance of automation paired with connectivity.
Use RPA sparingly
RPA bots are prevalent because they are powerful and easy to use. This is both a blessing and a curse because RPA is often used when it shouldn’t be, leading to poorly designed processes.
Designed to mimic human behavior navigating an application’s UI, RPA is very brittle and cannot scale across an organization. When the UI of an app changes, the RPA can break. If there are multiple RPA bots dependent on each other, a single target UI change can cause the entire process to stop. Pinpointing the RPA breakdown point to make the fix is also difficult, which is contrary to the goals of automation to simplify workloads.
Use more AI
AI can be beneficial in incorporating less organized information into the automation process. For example, AI can recognize characters on a paper document using optical character recognition (OCR) or understand the meaning of a document using natural language processing (NLP) and convert unorganized information into digital forms that can be automatically processed by computers.
With access to more data and more data science tools, predictive models can also be more readily integrated into unsupervised automated processes for simple decision-making. This more sophisticated implementation of AI can free up more expensive human resources to focus on higher-value tasks.
Build symbiotic relationships between humans and computers
As automation strategies get increasingly sophisticated, humans are less involved and may no longer be at the center of the process. This doesn’t mean that people are no longer needed. It still takes humans to ensure sophisticated automations don’t get out of hand with edge cases that challenge established operating patterns, making them too complex or nuanced for a machine to handle.
Enabling people to engage with machines efficiently is a key component of a very mature system. The most sophisticated automation strategies will allow people to manage edge cases without leaving the environment or application they are currently working in.
Automation strategies will constantly evolve and get more sophisticated. The secret to automation success is balancing processes that enable machines and employees to work together to achieve business objectives effectively.