Automation Scaling: Avoiding the pitfalls

Automation has started becoming an integral part of digital transformation initiatives

Digital transformation initiatives have been a major part of boardroom conversations for several years and enterprises have initiated their digital journeys through investments in automation, analytics, cloud, etc. The current crisis has expediated organization to focus firmly in adopting Digital technologies to aptly demonstrate the urgency of digital adoption and readiness to embark on the Automation journey to define effective measures as a response to the COVID-19 situations. Digital transformation plans are being accelerated across organizations as they prepare for post-Covid recovery and growth. Automation is poised to be at the center of these digital transformation programs as an important catalyst for immediate response and recovery measure as well as a key component of redrawn business strategies, new business models and growth plans.

Automation investment plans across industries are being re-evaluated and automation spend is expected to increase by ~55% CAGR between 2020-2025 to $40 billion1. In addition to unlocking efficiencies at a process level, enterprises have started recognizing and realizing other automation benefits such as employee experience, customer experience, improve process KPIs etc.

Enterprises in industries such as BFSI, Healthcare, and CPG & Retail, which have been the early adopters of automation have realized tangible benefits such as – average cost reduction by 35-45%2; increase in productivity by 40-50%2. Following the path are industries such as travel and hospitality and manufacturing which are expected to drive the next wave of adoption. As more and more success stories of automation emerge, it is clear that automation has definitely moved from being just hype to a real technology measure delivering tangible benefits. However, there are certain challenges that impede scaling up of automation efforts.

Enterprises need to avoid certain pitfalls while planning their automation efforts

Automation efforts usually originate in silos in enterprises and typically struggle to scale across different business segments and geographies. There are some commonly observed pitfalls associated with automation scaling that enterprises need to avoid:

Unrealistic and Inconsistent ROI expectations among stakeholders – Difference in expectation setting, especially in the first few weeks which usually involves consulting bills and process discovery hours rather than the immediate FTE time saving promised, might lead to loss of confidence and dissatisfaction in the technology among the decision makers.

Inability to automate end-to-end use-cases – which are fragmented across geographies and functions – Use-cases spanning different locations and BUs may involve several stakeholders and different approaches for running the use-case. End-to-end standardization and automation may not be possible is such cases.

Undefined ownership and accountability between IT, BUs, and Ops teams – Lack of a strong governance structure heading the automation drive may lead to conflicts surrounding the objectives and timelines of the automation initiative.

Presence of organizational siloes – Organizational silos can lead to inadequate sharing of use-case knowledge among BUs. This can create a culture of disconnected automation sprawls, that are unable to scale across services and geographies.

Long deployment cycles of automation – Onboarding of bots, training, conformance – integrating RPA with the existing technology and customization needed as per the organization, RPA tool/vendor platform selection, employee training and reskilling are aspects that can usually extend the planned automation deployment cycles.

Inability to automate use-cases with unstructured data (requiring ML, NLP, AI, IDP, Computer Vision) – Several automation implementations involve web portals and workflow systems, AI/NL algorithms, IDP and process mining tools, especially for use-cases with unstructured data. Difficulty in managing the complexity of these technologies in conjunction can lead to scaling up of automation in use-cases with unstructured data.

How ITC Infotech can help

ITC Infotech is a leading global technology services and solutions provider, led by Business and Technology Consulting. ITC Infotech provides Business-friendly Solutions to help clients succeed and be future-ready, by seamlessly bringing together digital expertise, strong industry specific alliances and the unique ability to leverage deep domain expertise from ITC Group businesses.

Automation is a focus capability and our vision is to ‘Amplify Human Potential’. Our market offerings pivoted around –
a) Enabling organization in their enterprise Automation journey
b) Digital personas delivering people centric automation and elevating the end-user experience, and
c) Digital workplace where we bring integrated solutions with ISVs

ITC Infotech has deep expertise and hands-on experience in delivering end-to-end consulting led RPA services leveraging the Automation CoE capabilities.

Process Discovery: Powered by Industry Playbooks, Process catalogs and E3 framework (Efficiency, Effectiveness and Experience) for value modeling, prioritization to create the automation business case and roadmap.

Implementation and Support: Our tool evaluation framework helps in identifying the best fit RPA platform based on business requirement and technology landscape. Certified BPM, Process mining and RPA resources enable to lay foundation for client engagements.

CoE As A Service: A well-established RPA CoE supported by Domain Consulting, Engineering, Data & Analytics, and Customer Experience experts for scale and depth in delivering end-to-end Automation services.

Value Measurement: Our value measurement framework measures the set of KPIs which were identified to be achieved from automation.


Co- Authored By:

Soumya Nandy
Senior Principal Consultant, ITC Infotech

Nikhil Kulkarni
Principal, Zinnov Management Consulting

A V Ruchir
Project Lead, Zinnov Management Consulting


Reference:

  1. Zinnov Hyper Intelligent Automation Landscape Report, 2020 – https://zinnov.com/hyper-intelligent-automation-the-new-avatar-of-rpa/
  2. Based on Zinnov Research & Analysis

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