The best business process improvements don’t introduce their digital tools and updated steps all at once, but prorate changes and find ways to integrate, not dispel, in-house technology with the new. A gradual digital transformation can solve automation problems with minimal or no disruption. Using this approach, an enterprise can automate all of its processes from end to end, starting with the most urgent processes first. Automating one project at a time gives the opportunity to test new technologies and strategies that can grow within the organization. In other words: Work with the old, take advantage of the new and tie the two together seamlessly.
For example, a telecommunications company could take manual tasks run by customer service representatives and automate some of them with RPA bots. That’s step one in the gradual transformation. Step two might be orchestrating these RPA bots to tie together into actual business processes that may include multiple bots, other IT systems, or supervisor approvals. Step three might be to sunset one of these bots and replace it with a modern, microservices-based application that’s much more robust and can be easily plugged into the existing end-to-end process.
Keep in mind that RPA seems promising at first when it comes to automating small tasks, which can delay deeper digital transformation by giving the illusion of efficiency and cost-effectiveness. In the long run, delaying the next steps in a gradual digital transformation effort can be costly when an underlying legacy system breaks down and undermines otherwise superficial forms of automation.
Instead of making surface-level changes alone, try to map out the entire ecosystem of processes and choreograph their parts — including the people, systems, and devices behind the scenes. Start by modernizing the highest-visibility processes that have the most impact on your customers. Then design a process that fits the business’ or customers’ needs — not the needs of your technology stack.
History would have us believe that companies are either fast or slow. You either automate like Amazon or die trying. In reality, there are a whole lot of companies in between. An overlooked part of “being agile” is finding more effective ways to work with what you have, while reinventing what you don’t. There are millions, even billions of dollars in efficiency that can come from automating enterprise processes one by one. It’s a new type of silent industry “disruption” that doesn’t have to be disruptive.