The Impact of Doing Nothing

by | May 26, 2022 | Business Process Management

Embarking on an intelligent automation journey can stem from multiple intents — process out manual tasks and leverage human capabilities, drive efficiency of operations due to high manpower turnover, gain a competitive advantage in speed to the customer.  There is no shortage of ‘why’, in fact, it’s safe to say it’s increasingly a question of ‘why not?’ or at the very least ‘where do we start?’.  An organization most certainly needs a plan of implementation to mitigate risk and maximize return, whether it takes a form of hours back to the business, cost savings, or efficiency.  Partners and tools that harness the art of execution are alive and well.  If there is no shortage of ‘why’ and an abundance of resources, why is there still hesitancy in execution?

Enter the other, presumably “safe” option: doing nothing.

Doing nothing is always an option.  Indecision is a decision.  There are a variety of reasons that organizations, or departments within an organization that has already embraced Intelligent automation, refrain from taking the first step – budgetary, culture, maturity, leadership, vision.  But what is the true cost?  What is the cost of pushing a pilot program to the next quarter?

As one might imagine (and as you can likely gather from the undertones), doing nothing is costly – both literally and organizationally.  Entire organizations or departments often state that they are too busy to change.  (I’ll let that sink in.)  While there is likely some truth to this short-term blocker, it’s a perfect example of sacrificing tomorrow’s efficiency and profitability for today’s busy work and comfort.  Call it an exercise in priorities for long-term gain.

Do Nothing – Pay The Price of Lost Time and Money

Our time is our most precious resource; leverage is the differentiator.  Elon Musk has the same 24 hours as the rest of us, yet SpaceX has (darn near) mastered reusable rocketry, docked with the international space station, and is on pace to land astronauts on Mars within the decade (yeah, Mars!). 

RPA, process mining, and machine learning are leveraged to shift manual tasks and eventual full end-to-end business processes to bring speed in decision making, improved quality control, and deliver massive efficiency.  Make no mistake, businesses are taking full advantage and optimizing through full integration of their existing workforce siting metrics like ‘active automation participation’– the percentage of employees that have discovered, shared, developed, or built an intelligent business automation.  Engagement exceeding 50% of total staff is becoming common.  Automation potential by business function is a great place start in visualizing where to engage first.  However, we can also harness discovery with classic continuous improvement methodology to capture savings.

As stated in a recent webinar, anytime a continuous process improvement group [insert six sigma, lean, CI, etc.], leaves behind a manual process, they should look to RPA or an IA technology as a solution.  They should at least entertain it in providing greater leverage to an otherwise successful plan.

Regardless of the value engineering method – automation potential by business function or RPA by way of CI, the opportunity lost in the form of savings delivered, quality improved, and even revenue generated, is significant.

Do Nothing – Pay The Price of People

Employee Engagement is no longer a buzz word; instead, it is tied to the quantifiable metric of retention that has a lasting effect.  Human Resources is increasingly firefighting the “The Great Resignation” with employees taking on non-traditional forms of employment, retiring early, starting their own businesses, or simply taking a break.[1]  Layering upon that, the cost of onboarding a new employee stacks up – relocation, equipment, training, and time invested.  Employee churn and the talent gap can create a never-ending rat race unless a proactive plan is initiated. 

What can you do?  Innovate and create a day-to-day environment that is value-driven rather than task-heavy.  Put the human back into [Finance/HR/Operations/Supply Chain].  It’s a balance, sure, but it’s frankly not an option.  Proactively shifting manual tasks off the plate of our human workforce while driving cost savings, greater quality control and innovation, can provide the opportunity to finally tackle that supply chain incoming quality project that has been pushed off five quarters in a row.  Adopting an automation fabric provides the ability to reengage the workforce.

Do Nothing – Pay The Price of Obsolescence

You can’t rent a movie from Blockbuster, buy a gadget from Toy “R” Us, or enjoy a coffee and a good book from Borders.  These brands may have a warm place in your heart, but they no longer exist in reality.  Perhaps these are extreme examples, but the lesson rings true.  These businesses failed to innovate and folded.  IA has the potential to increase an organizations efficiency by 20-60%[2].  It provides the ability to do more with less manual effort, time and expense.  ‘More’ in reference to what many resources refer to as the ‘CEO agenda’ – expand new growth opportunities, control costs and improve productivity with technology, and enhance digital skills for executives.2  It’s safe to say that IA is a competitive advantage and should be considered a business imperative.

Do Something – Execute

There is no shortage of use cases, resources, or value drivers.  Enlist a colleague, team or partner and decisively execute. 

[1] The Great Attrition: What to do about the labor shortage;

[2] Intelligent Automation, Welcome to the World of Hyperautomation, Pascal Bornet, 2021 (Bornet, 2021)

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