January 6, 2023
By Mickey Hackett, Senior Account Executive, CPP Associates
What is the future of automation in information systems? Simply put, it is the future.
The proof is in the rapid adoption of automation across all sectors of business and the mind-numbing ROI figures that are being reported as a result. A simple search on cnbc.com for “automation” provides thousands of examples of organizations adopting automation and staking their financial futures around AI and automation innovation.
Business automation is a term for the use of technology applications that perform repetitive tasks, freeing up employees for higher value work. This includes business process automation (BPA), robotic process automation (RPA) and AI-powered automation.
Years ago, automation required massive mainframes and a team of experts to maintain them. Today, with the convergence of big data analytics, AI and machine learning, entire business processes are now automated. For example, credit unions can automate new member sign-up from the moment the potential member completes the application, from identity verification to address verification, to credit checks, and upselling additional services. Individually, these processes are easily automated; the ability to perform these tasks in an intelligent, sequential process is what the new generation of automation offers. Everything from data scraping, verification, and allowing human QA processing is included.
Robotic process automation (RPA), as defined on Wikipedia, is a form of business process automation technology based on metaphorical software robots (bots) or on artificial intelligence (AI)/digital workers. Digital workers are forms of software bots that are trained to execute specific actions in specific applications. Some automation technologies offer machine learning to identify patterns of real workers. The built-in intelligence identifies repetitive human processes and creates the bot needed to complete the task or even business process. Gartner defines this technology as follows: “…(it) appears to emulate human performance typically by learning, coming to its own conclusions (and by) appearing to understand complex content.”
Improved efficiency, reduction in errors, increased revenue, etc., are all important benefits of RPA; however, a key takeaway is RPA allows business leaders to focus on people. Outside forces weigh heavily on every organization (the most recent examples being the global pandemic, inflation, and heightened security threats). As Nancy Hauge, Chief People Experience Officer of Automation Anywhere, states, “If you’re a business leader, with so many external forces working against you, it’s imperative that you focus inwardly to improve, modernize, and reenergize your organization.” Allowing employees to focus on business value and working with customers improves worker satisfaction and reduces turnover rates.
The Central Role of Automation in Digital Transformation
All of this allows business leaders to focus on delivering digital transformation quickly and efficiently by choosing the right goals. The article, For CIOs, it’s a critical time to deliver value on IT investments (cnbc.com), outlines the four ways in which CIOs can deliver digital dividends and demonstrate the financial impact of technology investments. “One is to prioritize the right digital initiatives. Survey respondents ranked their executives’ objectives for digital technology investment over the last two years, and the top two goals were to improve operational excellence and improve customer or citizen experience.”
An experienced RPA team (like CPP Associates working in concert with our strategic partner, Automation Anywhere) can assist in uncovering a wide range of opportunities to apply automation in your environment. (Examples of automation and transformation of the back office can be found here.)
Automation of a process is not always siloed either. The ability to create cross-departmental processes enhances the value of any automation. Another way to think of it is to start with the question, “What applications do I want to automate?” Most RPA systems have integrations into popular enterprise applications such as Salesforce, ServiceNow, Office365, Adobe and so many more. Most platforms also work with on-premises systems and cloud such as Azure, AWS and Google. The key is start with a planning session with an experienced team of automation professionals and identify small areas that can grow into larger ones.
As an organization, CPP and our customers have seen tremendous success with automation of business processes. In one case, we were able to deliver savings of more than $1 million on a $200,000 investment. More details on our success can be found on the CRN website at: Why RPA Is Driving 10X ROI For Clients: CPP’s Pat O’Dell | CRN. Contact us directly at email@example.com to set up a no-obligation, complimentary consultation.