By Tyler Suss, Product Marketing Director at Kofax
There are new operational realities for enterprises, given the current uncertainties, making “automation at scale” critical for creating frictionless customer and employee experiences. Yet many initiatives have so far focused only on automating distinct processes.
An intelligent automation approach can put organizations on the fast track to digital workflow transformation. But to support rapid adoption of end-to-end automation, business owners – the ones closest to the operations – and IT, must collaborate. This is because business owners bring a new perspective to automation requirements. These “citizen developers” understand how processes fit into the broader strategic operations, and so, working with IT, they can offer insights to speed the design and deployment of intelligent automation across the enterprise.
A new mindset for “automation at scale”
Many enterprises start the automation process in one area and then proceed from there in a piecemeal fashion across departments, functions and regions. This disjointed approach creates very real challenges for the business.
In a recent commissioned Forrester Consulting study, respondents revealed a siloed approach resulted in high technical debt (46%), delays in successful outcomes (35%), and difficulties solving large operational challenges/scalability (34%). However, the positive is enterprises also know how to overcome these obstacles, with 99% of respondents attesting to their belief that a single-vendor platform approach to automation is the answer. These findings are based on an online survey of 450 IT automation and AI decision-makers at global enterprises and 450 individual contributors across business departments at global enterprises.
Moving from point solution to platform
The move from a point solution to a platform is necessary if enterprises want to adapt to ever-changing market conditions and customer expectations. Note that IT cannot do it alone as the demands for automation are simply too great for technology teams to tackle with traditional coding approaches. This is where business line managers, as citizen developers, can offer a distinctive perspective on automation needs. Working together collaboratively ensures automation initiatives move faster and makes the business more agile.
What should the platform look like?
An intelligent automation platform needs to meet the requirements of a broad user base in the enterprise, and so must be intuitive and easy to use, as well as support advanced users working in technical and complex design and emerging technologies. It should also be based on a modern, cloud-first architecture.
Therefore, an intelligent automation platform capable of supporting this broader user base should contain specific features and functions:
- Low-code capabilities enabling citizen developers to play an equal role with technology teams in the design and development of automation solutions
- A non-programmer interface so citizen developers can build their own automations
- Visual modelling
- Reusable components and connectors
- Mobile device support
- An intuitive drag-and-drop design environment
- Training enablement resources
Additionally, the automation platform should also have native cognitive capture capabilities to identify, extract, process and transform structured and unstructured data. The majority of data within most enterprises is unstructured – existing in PDFs, emails and social media posts, yet it’s crucial to achieving true digital workflow transformation.
“Automation at scale” benefits to enterprises
The ability to automate quickly offers substantial benefits to enterprises including increased productivity, improved collaboration, better customer experience and service, and enhanced operational efficiency. All this combined will help enterprises weather current and future crises more effectively. A cross-functional collaborative approach will accelerate digital workflow transformation and promote agility. With the right platform, enterprises can begin working like the digitally enabled company of tomorrow, today.
A word of caution however – when assessing intelligent automation platform vendors, include citizen developers in the selection process. They have valuable insight into automation needs. More crucially, as they’ll be spending a lot of time working within the platform, by being involved in the purchase decision, they’re more likely to be satisfied with the technology.