Covid-19 is accelerating automation across multiple industries such as healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, banking, retail, etc., and digital adoption has leaped at both the organizational and industry levels. Organizations are relying on hyperautomation to automate business, IT processes to drive operational efficiencies and improve employee, customer engagement. Gartner defines hyperautomation as “an approach in which businesses automate as many business and IT processes as possible using tools like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Robotic Process Automation(RPA), event-driven software, and other types of the decision process and task automation tools.”
“Hyperautomation is irreversible and inevitable. Everything that can and should be automated will be automated.” – Brian Burke, Research VP, Gartner
As per Gartner’s IT Automation predictions for 2021:
- By 2024, organizations will lower operational costs by 30% by combining hyperautomation technologies with redesigned operational processes.
- By 2024, 80% of hyperautomation offerings will have limited industry-specific depth mandating additional investment for IP, curated data, architecture, integration, and development.
- By 2024, more than 70% of the large global enterprises will have over 70 concurrent hyperautomation initiatives mandating governance or facing significant instability.
Automation Center of Excellence
Business and IT leaders understand the necessity of automated processes with more organizations creating fully automated value chains. However, the one that focuses on “how they do it” builds a competitive edge. Automation Center of Excellence (CoE) provides direction and vision for the organization’s automation program. Although this term may be relatively new, forward-thinking organizations have already leveraged the CoE model to transform the way they operate. For instance, insurance organizations with automation CoEs have drastically reduced the cost of complicated processes like claims processing and underwriting. Automating manual processes and letting the workforce focus on more value-added activities has allowed enterprises to grow without adding FTEs.
“I predict that, because of artificial intelligence and its ability to automate certain tasks that in the past were impossible to automate, not only will we have a much wealthier civilization, but the quality of work will go up very significantly and a higher fraction of people will have callings and careers relative to today.” – Jeff Bezos
Why Use an Automation Center of Excellence
Without a well-governed CoE, the Automation Program will stagnate, lose direction, and cannot be scaled. Below listed are some key reasons why automation fails to produce desired outcomes in the enterprise.
- Lack of Governance: Not investing inappropriate management and oversight for the program
- Choice of Automation Candidate: Choosing the wrong process and focus on basic task automation
- Scaling Challenges: Not having a forward-looking strategy and innovation roadmap
- Maintenance: Undermine the importance of maintaining the digital workforce
- Poor Change Management: Fail to think holistically about the organization’s culture and readiness
Building a Automation CoE
Businesses across a variety of industries are taking note of the failure/success stories and moving towards implementing or scaling their own centers of excellence.
How you scale your automation program plays a key role in the overall success of the outcome. It is important to start small, validate the results, and establish a strong foundation prior to expanding.
Implementing and scaling Automation needs proper planning, engagement with key stakeholders, clear management of change and communication, all supported by new operating models and frameworks to function optimally. The automation framework illustrated below outlines key pillars required to run a successful Automation Center of Excellence.
Strategy & Vision: Build a forward-looking Automation roadmap that aligns with organizations Automation Program goals and define measures of success. Choose the right processes to automate.
Governance: Establish a steering committee responsible for providing strategic guidance and decision-making. Define funding model and overall automation team structure, roles, and responsibilities.
Operating Model: Define the operating model (centralized, hybrid, or federated) based on the organizational structure and automation program roadmap.
People Enablement: Assess the current skill set and develop a training roadmap to upskill the team
Digital Workforce: Strategize ways to maintain and integrate digital workforce (bots) by placing the right level of monitoring capabilities
Innovation & Change Management: A strong innovation channel is critical for the automation program to scale. Define and execute change management strategy tied to people, processes, and technology to enable successful adoption of automation.
Establishing and running a successful automation CoE is required to identify and drive enterprise-wide automation use cases across business lines and geographies to maximize ROI. As organizations rush to reap the benefits of digital transformation, there is a risk of introducing new risks to the enterprise if the right governance structure is not in place. According to a new McKinsey Global Survey of executives, their companies have accelerated the digitization of their customer interactions, internal operations, and adoption of digital technologies by several years- and that many of these changes could be here for the long haul. Hence, creating an automation center of excellence (CoE) ensures that you are automating your enterprise with strategy and vision!