Business drivers to implement Intelligent Process Automation
Under unprecedented pace of technological development and increasing pressure of competitors from across the globe, businesses’ digitalization of some degree is inevitable. Companies are altering their offerings, processes as well as operations to keep up with the changing environment and grow their business further. As with every investment, the decision to devote company’s resources into process automation and digitalization must add value to the business. What are the most relevant aspects and general drivers of such business decisions, related to intelligent process automation?
Companies strive to maximize revenues and minimize costs, and every investment into new equipment should facilitate either decrease in costs or increase in revenues, leading to increased efficiency of a firm’s resources. Thus, looking at the drivers from the perspective of business’s operations, decrease in cost is doubtlessly one of the key motivators when implementing intelligent process automation.
Process automation allows people and companies to focus on their most valuable work such as creative thinking and product crafting, customer service and leadership. When robots perform an organization’s supportive activities reliably and seamlessly, its human workers are enabled to do the work that is most valuable to the organization. It’s easy to consider how this change might improve both a customer’s service experience and a worker’s mood when they no longer have to be distracted by things such as registering data in various systems, searching it up and interpreting it whilst trying to serve their customer. Simply put, companies can benefit from a more sellable higher quality service/product without an increase in costs.
On the other hand, employing a secure and uniform robotic workforce can significantly cut operational costs as the robots are not subject to human error. Smart solutions can also dramatically increase operational efficiency through better optimization of resources, like decreasing a machinery’s downtime or cutting overlapping activities. Besides the obvious savings due to optimized use of resources, manufacturing firms may expect a significant drop in maintenance costs thanks to the potential of predictive maintenance, accompanied by savings in inventory costs and logistics, while service companies may benefit from more accurate reports and interpretation of data through better risk management, design of KPIs, internal training and services that accurately address customer needs.
Intelligent process automation enables companies to optimize their processes in real-time. This increase in productivity will not only bring higher levels of output, but also potentially much broader product/service spectrum of a better quality, targeting new segments of customers with tailor-made propositions.
BUSINESS AGILITY & NEW MODELS
Process automation in a reliable way enables the companies to direct their attention to high-margin parts of their offerings, or to completely new areas of business. Driving enterprises to explore untouched market opportunities, new digital technologies are bringing complex changes to the current business models. Core resources together with the central value proposition alter, enabling the firms to extend their portfolios. Additionally, hand in hand with business agility goes the idea of customer centricity. In case of a successful extension of the product portfolio (or of the offer as such thanks to additional customer-centric services), companies will grow their business, welcoming new revenue streams to their business models.
MASTERING THE DATA
The issue companies have today is not how to collect data – but rather how to make sense out of all the data available. Everybody is talking about terms such as Big Data and Internet of Things – yet only a few actually knows how to crack it. Thanks to a significant drop in costs of computation and the development of smaller and smarter sensors, the ever-expanding connectivity allows for unprecedented insights, assuming the data are correctly analyzed and understood. This combination of arising new hardware and increasingly sophisticated software holds an immense promise for businesses, eventually enabling physical objects to communicate autonomously among each other. The potential added value hidden in all the data a company produces but not yet fully understands is truly tempting.
With increased process reliability thanks to the data processing, companies can benefit from enhanced accuracy of operations once a system of smart process automation is in place. Eliminating the potential risk of a human factor, especially when talking about routine, standardized and non-creative processes, having an intelligent automated system in operations would enable the companies to redirect their most valuable resources – the human resources – towards more business-value-adding activities.
IT INFRASTRUCTURE & ARCHITECTURE
As much as a driver, the IT infrastructure can also be the most challenging factor when shifting towards more automated and digitalized processes. Digitalizing company’s operations will require more than a simple upgrade of current IT systems – rather, the companies must be ready to review their automation and digitalization processes in a deeply complex way.
Given that some form of computation technology is incorporated to virtually every organization active on the modern markets, companies might be motivated to unify their various systems, uncovering unexpected advantages and synergies. Creating a completely new IT infrastructure is demanding in terms of time, human as well as financial resources and oftentimes the readily-available solutions on the market are not sufficient. Overcoming this challenge through a highly customized solution would ensure the company retrieves the most relevant insights, enabling for flexible reactions.
Besides these key categories, there is one more crucial driver for companies to implement intelligent process automation and related technologies – the company’s culture. Through their leaders, companies must evolve a certain level of digital literacy and a corresponding company culture. To fully benefit from the intelligent process automation, firms should develop a strategy and a company-wide vision of a strong digital business culture, both customer as well as employee-focused.