As the application of Intelligent Automation continues to grow, businesses in 2020 are finally looking to automate end-to-end operations rather than just implement minor process changes. Despite its proven benefits, companies have been extremely wary of Intelligent Automation, as shown in a 2019 Appian survey.
It was found that “86% of executives said intelligent process integration will improve customer experience”. The survey also discovered that “92% think it will make the employee experience more rewarding”. Despite this overwhelming positive view from the top decision makers, “less than half (46%) of organisations have deployed intelligent automation”. Why is this? What is stopping business leaders taking the plunge when the benefits are so clear?
These three figures show precisely the challenge that Intelligent Automation is facing. Business executives understand and believe in the benefits of the technology, yet there is still an air of scepticism in applying it and they are consequently holding back.
The companies that have implemented it have generally used it in low-risk areas so that if they fail, they will not have a significant impact on overall business performance. Implementing the solution on a large scale has only been done on rare occasions so far. This has in turn led to a standoff with companies waiting for others to see how well the application is working before trialling their own.
Having now seen the growing success of Intelligent Automation in these low-risk projects, big process changes are now after all becoming the obvious answer for business leaders. Knowing that businesses are now starting to shift towards a more strategic application of automation technologies, what are the predictions for Intelligent Automation in 2020?
1. Intelligent Automation will be applied to end-to-end business processes
Intelligent Automation can provide a solution for every step of a business’s office tasks. Most large businesses in the UK have now implemented a form of Intelligent Automation into their processes. However, as mentioned, much of these applications previously have only made minor changes. The most common example used across various industries is the automation of manual, paper-based processes. A clear example of this is a Blue Prism solution that could track and transfer patient data at an NHS foundation. This immediately saved staff time and eliminated the risk of human error when transcribing. By reducing staff resource used on such processes, many back-office tasks were made easier for the human workforce. Thanks to the success of these types of projects, it looks likely that business executives are now willing to embrace Intelligent Automation across their whole business. Once implemented, such business will realise that this decision was long overdue.
2. Digital workforce management is a necessity
Along with the growing need for businesses to delve into the Intelligent Automation world, business executives are still conscious of the potential effects it may have on the human workforce. Despite RPA and Intelligent Automation being adaptable and very much a valuable benefit to the staff that work alongside, there is a dumbfounded general misconception that these solutions will lead to mass staff turnover. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A digital workforce instead allows teams to grow and learn themselves to help improve the processes of the integrated background technology. Clients are now looking for businesses that employ agile talent to learn on their feet and problem solve. Without this type of workforce alongside Intelligent Automation, the solution will not work as efficiently. For example, if a particular bot fails at any point during the process, an alert will be triggered, and the bot fixed. Without the option of this human intervention, processes can be left offline causing significant detriment to the business. Also, the combination of human/digital workforce allows for customised solutions to be developed to suit the company’s current needs. Combining these benefits make a digital workforce the only option for firms wanting to excel in 2020.
3. Single-use RPA is dead and will evolve/migrate into Intelligent Automation
RPA solutions implemented alone are now redundant in the significant benefits they can provide. But by integrating these RPA solutions with new tools and connections, they can become a lot smarter and more useful. The drive from business owners is to have a scalable and agile platform that can analyse and extract vast amounts of data. This is not to say that RPA is now seen as useless, but instead needs to be utilised and combined further to create an Intelligent Automation solution. Businesses are no longer looking to acquire the traditional IT/RPA solution as they have shown to reach their limits. The sensible option is to opt for technologies that are result-based, delivering a good ROI and business value. Having an integrated Intelligent Automation solution is the best way forward to achieve all of those results.
4. Efficiency is key, operations must now transform to drive this.
One of, if not the main outcome business executives want from Intelligent Automation is to achieve operational efficiency. This goal is set as businesses strive to improve the customer experience. Intelligent Automation provides this and does so by improving various areas of the processes that will benefit the customer. For example, a bot within the automation solution can be installed to pre-fill forms, send out automatic updates or look up information. These tasks may seem minor, but the amount of customer time saved makes a significant improvement to the overall customer experience.. From a business perspective, automating mundane processes reduces overhead costs, freeing up resource for staff to take advanced training on more complex tasks. Once these basic automated processes have settled into the business, and the staff have adapted to work around them, the background bots become a norm within the business. If monitored regularly, time and effort no longer must be put into those tasks. Removing these tasks and training staff in more complex areas allows the business in turn to operate more efficiently.
Having seen several successful trials of Intelligent Automation in business processes, company executives are now rushing to prepare their business to implement such technology. Additionally, many of the concerns around Intelligent Automation have been quashed thanks to the big organisations that took the initial step and are now benefiting massively. Improving customer experience while helping the current human workforce is making Intelligent Automations application in a business a no brainer. By driving efficiency and having the ability to adapt to changes within a company, Intelligent Automation no doubt become a vital part of businesses operations in 2020.