UiPath has published its report, “Towards The Fully Automated Enterprise” which was co-authored by CIONET. Based on interviews with European enterprise CIOs, the report aims to understand the role of a CIO in business transformation. It examines how leaders are integrating intelligent automation into their enterprise application to improve performance and productivity.
In this survey of leading CIOs, most agree that adoption of intelligent enterprise automation is still in its early stages. However, technologies like robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), no code/low code implementation are heralding a change in business operations. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of Intelligent automation at enterprise level. Old legacy systems were replaced by modern solutions, RPA and comprehensive process reengineering.
The report highlights the advantages of integrating intelligent automation and also suggests that its early adoption will lead to long term business gains. CIOs have the fundamental responsibility of initiating the change and transforming the business through innovative IT solutions. Most CIOs believe that in the next 5 years, adoption of intelligent business automation will level the playing field between digital leader and incumbents.
Post Covid-19, businesses around the world had to reinvent themselves and the way they operated. Disruptive technologies, competitive threat, better production process and customer demand have fueled this business transformation. Any business’s success is measured on 3 simple yardsticks. These are – operational excellence, product/service innovation and customer loyalty. Intelligent enterprise automation helps achieve all these KPIs. As per the report, CIOs are using software and intelligent automation for the following:
- Repetitive human tasks could be assisted by or completely removed with the use of software and robotics.
- Maintaining a relationship with loyal customers and attracting new ones is the key for business expansion. CIOs are using the vast amounts of data generated online to understand customer behaviour.
- Innovative and better products/services to its customers. Open platforms, new development tools and ecosystems are helping in product/service innovation.
Respondents of this survey do agree that intelligent business automation and transformation is still in its early days. Most agree that old legacy systems and business processes, time-taking decision making, and a clear lack of skills is hindering the process of full enterprise automation. However, there is the most suitable pathway to automation which can be implemented by organization. These are the three major initiatives which lead and transform an enterprise to fully automated business.
1. Application of short-term fixes
As the overhaul business transformation will take years to complete, companies must be able to find short-term fixes to decrease costs and increase productivity. Most CIOs are following tactical approaches like implementation of RPA to eliminate repetitive tasks like data entry & manipulation. Bridging legacy ERP systems by transforming on premise to cloud storage and adoption of robotic software.
2. Strategic process redesigning
Most interviewees are of the view that despite the need for transformation, there is a need for a staged approach towards automation. Organizations need to identify two or three operational flows from the existing ones to move towards full automation redesign. For e.g., WiZink bank develops a fully automated frictionless customer on-boarding for a better customer experience.
3. Adopting holistic approaches
Adopting holistic approaches in implementing business automation can alone ensure that businesses can survive the digital onslaught. Radical moves like migrating to cloud technology and adoption of SaaS often open new possibilities for better business workflows and processes.
As per the respondents of this survey, RPA, AI, ML and associated technologies provide an effective pathway towards full enterprise automation. Some companies are already reaping the benefits of their early adoption of intelligent automation. For example, Orange Spain has saved 34M euros in over two years and DHL achieved ROI from a pilot RPA project in just one month. This shows how enterprise automation can help improve a business and its operations. Business automation will need careful governance to ensure favourable and beneficial outcomes.
CIOs should take on the role of a caretaker and custodian of intelligent business automation. They need to actively assess and deploy automation, provide platform support, and education to business partners. In order to make the implement successful business automation, CIOs need to do the following:
- Evaluate AI, RPA, and process mining via controlled pilots. For instance, inspecting appropriate platforms which can scale up RPA or AI once the business value is proven
- Educate peers and colleagues in the C-suite about the potential benefits and opportunities of full business automation. Coming up with an agreed pathway for its implementation.
- Engage with other lines of business to explore/test no code or low code systems for intelligent enterprise automation.