Intelligent Automation (IA) success is not guaranteed. Various factors challenge efforts to establish and operate a successful enterprise IA services program. Factors such as the following may halt IA services in their tracks before they’re ever even started.
- No alignment to business outcomes
- Not operating as a service
- Too few IA resources and skills
- Ignoring the change impact of IA
- Allowing the pipeline to dry up
- Miscalculating development needs
- Architecture not aligned with demand
- Not considering the need for support
- Failing to fill gaps with new capabilities and/or technologies
If you’re not scared by the above list and still reading, then you believe establishing and operating successful IA services is possible. You’re right, it is. So, in the face of such challenges what is an IA services program to do to increase the likelihood of success?
Consider the following:
- Familiarize yourself with the nine pillars of intelligent automation
- Establish, operate, and improve IA services.
This blog will focus on the first of these points – the nine pillars of IA – and a subsequent blog will address the second.
The nine pillars of Intelligent Automation represent the fundamental, critical areas that define success or failure for IA services. Like a house sitting atop its foundation, the performance of IA services rests upon these nine pillars.
The Nine Pillars Are:
Each of these pillars are further described throughout the rest of this blog.
Solid IA services utilize a Strategy pillar that offers a clear vision, objectives, and measures in terms of enterprise business outcomes. When vision, objectives, or measures are unclear, there is no clear direction for IA services. This results in a rambling program that is unable to produce consistent and sustainable results.
|A Strong Strategy Pillar Looks Like:||A Weak Strategy Pillar Looks Like:|
|IA performance is defined in terms of business outcomes||IA performance is defined in terms of technology outcomes|
|Stakeholders actively support IA services||Stakeholders are not aware of IA services|
|IA is viewed as a transformational journey||IA is a project or program|
Effective IA services execute on an Operations pillar that defines the model to operate, deliver, govern, and fund IA services across the enterprise. The lack of this model produces an IA program that (1) does not have resources to deliver enterprise IA services and (2) operates in a constate state of uncertainty as to operational roles, delivery, governance rights, and longevity.
|A Strong Operations Pillar Looks Like:||A Weak Operations Pillar Looks Like:|
|Governance and control model is defined||No governance and control model exists|
|A services catalog exists||IA as a service is not understood|
|Funding model is defined||IA funding is unclear or “protected”|
Capable IA services capitalize on a Talent pillar that communicates the roles, resources, skills, and training paths to meet the enterprise IA demands and fulfill operational duties. The dedication of talent with defined roles, responsibilities, and training paths demonstrates a strong commitment to IA services by the enterprise. The opposite is also true. As long a IA is added to people’s existing day jobs, those people understand there is little commitment to IA.
|A Strong Talent Pillar Looks Like:||A Weak Talent Pillar Looks Like:|
|Clear roles and responsibilities defined||Roles and responsibilities are unclear|
|Roles explicitly assigned to individuals||IA roles are “in addition to” day jobs|
|IA talent developed and trained internally||No internal IA talent developed|
Resilient IA services embrace the Change pillar by proactively addressing the adoption and impact(s) of IA services across people, process, and technology. Change is often ignored, and this is not isolated to IA. Ignoring this pillar may impact the extent to which the enterprise and its leaders are viewed as trustworthy.
|A Strong Change Pillar Looks Like:||A Weak Change Pillar Looks Like:|
|Formal change approach exists||Change is feared and ignored|
|Automation mindset is standard||Automation is feared or viewed as a tool|
|Success communicated through stories||Little communication. No stories|
Enduring IA services exist atop a Discovery pillar that provides approaches, standards, and best practices to identify, evaluate, and prioritize automation opportunities. Discovery is a well-discussed activity of IA. What is not as well know is the criticality of this pillar to IA longevity. This pillar drives all work into the remaining pillars. In a real sense, Discovery is the “sales activity” for IA services. If the automation opportunities are plenty, IA services will have much to delivery. If there are little to no opportunities in the automation pipeline, IA services are viewed as unnecessary and no value.
|A Strong Discovery Pillar Looks Like||A Weak Discovery Pillar Looks Like:|
|IA services evangelize and educate regularly||IA services do not evangelize nor educate|
|Automation pipeline is healthy (50+ opportunities)||Automation pipeline is drying up|
|Opportunities evaluated based on value||Opportunities rarely evaluated|
Deliberate IA services construct a Development pillar that guides automation delivery through clear, simple, and concise methods, standards, policies, and best practices. A weak Development pillar invites chaotic and inconsistent delivery activities which, in turn, requires more support.
|A Strong Development Pillar Looks Like:||A Weak Development Pillar Looks Like:|
|Implementation is iterative||Implementations are siloed and/or waterfall|
|Automations are designed||Automations built without design|
|Development standards exist||No development standards available|
Towering intelligent automation Services erect an Architecture pillar that provisions, operates, and scales the IA platform through clear, simple, and concise standards, policies, and best practices. Ignoring the need for Architecture may mean (1) insufficient resources provisioned, (2) a complete re-build of automations, and/or (3) additional support.
|A Strong Architecture Pillar Looks Like:||A Weak Architecture Pillar Looks Like:|
|Architecture scales with business demand||Architecture is over- or under-built to business demand|
|Disaster recovery platform available||Disaster recovery is an afterthought|
|Platform access and security defined across the enterprise||Platform access and security not defined|
Sustained IA services tie-in a Support pillar that establishes clear, simple, and concise standards, policies, and best practices to support, maintain, and enhance automated solutions. Support – like the Change pillar – is often an afterthought. Planning and preparing for support and maintenance considerations ensures automations are viewed as valuable.
|A Strong Support Pillar Looks Like:||A Weak Support Pillar Looks Like:|
|Support standards exist||No support standards available|
|ITSM is available for automation support||ITSM is not available|
|Automations are support enabled||Support needs are not considered|
Inventive IA services ideate an Innovation pillar that identifies and fills gaps with new capabilities and advanced technologies. Ignoring the gaps, new capabilities, and advanced technologies may leave an enterprise in a less competitive position. Technologies such as document understanding, machine language, and process mining tools open the automation pipeline to new opportunities.
|A Strong Innovation Pillar Looks Like:||A Weak Innovation Pillar Looks Like:|
|Identifies and fill gaps as a standard practice||Rarely takes time to consider and fill gaps|
|Legacy processes are modernized||Implementations focus on automating the process as performed|
IA success is not a guarantee because there can be many points of failure throughout the journey. The nine pillars of intelligent automation offer a guide through the journey to increase the probability of success.
With a solid understanding of the nine pillars, you are prepared to progress to the second point introduced above – establish, operate, and improve IA services.