- Portman Partners
The Changing Role of the IT Function and Driving Digitalisation Through Robotic Process Automation
Author: Kuldip Sandhu
Would you like to live in the future and experience the power of RPA? With decision-making being more challenging and increasing scrutiny for business value, the CIO team is keen on looking for areas to leverage digitalisation to drive business value and enable value streams, maximising standardisation with optimal resource utilisation.
It is ideal to understand people, processes, partners, technology challenges, and opportunities before you embark on an RPA journey and ensure RPA maturity development. This robust approach helps identify the right candidates for automation from a business and technology perspective. If you are wondering how to kick start the RPA journey and why IT functions need to work very closely with the business on digitalisation, you have come to the right place.
Digital Disruption, Accelerated Pace of Technology Adoption and Business Agility
Let us start by understanding what digital disruption is and how it influences the technology changes and landscape changes that influence technology adoption and business agility. Typically, it takes a significant amount of time for each product to gain 50 million users. For instance, it took 68 years for airplane users to reach 50 million users, but it took just two years for Twitter to achieve the same number of users.
According to Martec's law, technology changes exponentially fast, yet organisations change logarithmically slowly. This change in gap widens over time, which requires a reset of the organisation. To counter this issue, the management must strategically choose which technological changes to embrace, given the highly constrained bandwidth for absorbing organisational changes.
For your organisation to become high performing and agile, you need to follow six steps encompassing organisational design, organisational culture, people engagement, ways of working, management & leadership, & governance & funding. The organisational design has to be horizontally focused in a matrix way & has to be cross-functional. The environment must keep the consumer as a priority & function to satisfy them. The technology for developing products has to provide good feedback & personal engagement with consumers for ways of working. From the management & leadership standpoint, framing the right vision & strategy is highly essential. Lastly, governance & funding are crucial aspects that are added support for the organisation.
Digitalisation and Its Impact on Business and Its Function
Trends for the new digital world will help you scale your business as rapid adoption impacts business and the ability for IT to transform and deliver. This allows you to deliver and gain a competitive advantage. However, all these activities can be condensed and made much easier with digitisation, improving and developing business processes, and automation from robotics to give you efficiency.
Bear in mind that there is a distinct difference between digital transformation and digitisation by RPA, see the figure below:
Let us learn how you bring RPA alive and demonstrate that through our frameworks and tools. Digitisation with RPA will help you achieve business process improvement with effective and efficient automation.
RPA, robotic process automation, is an application of technology that allows a robot, i.e., a computer software, to be configured to intelligently process a transaction, enrich data, and communicate with other systems. We often see CIOs straddle the line between driving innovation and maintaining everyday business operations. Digital transformation, creative strategy, and disruptive initiatives need time away from the IT function's daily operations. Enabling automation and machine learning to perform repetitive, low-value tasks daily will help CIOs unlock time and focus on digital transformation.
Machine learning and RPA technologies enable CIOs to develop initiatives and tech-driven business strategies for the future. It's time to make you work smarter through robots as they can help you automate manual, repetitive high volume, high-intensity tasks flawlessly. You can better manage your staff and deploy them effectively. Automated business processes help CIOs gain more bandwidth and focus on other crucial aspects that better drive the business.
How has business demand shaped it over the years?
In the 1990s, businesses relied on IT enablement driving small tasks being enabled by IT and IT as a provider. Whereas in the 2000s, IT task outsourcing, infrastructure, service desk, applications, and network strongly influenced the market, which resulted in cost-saving and flexibility. After 2015 however, IT industries could save more costs and add agility with business value through managed services and business processes thanks to digitalisation. With emerging business opportunities and increasing competition, SAP services, financial platforms, ServiceNow, etc., played an important role during the 2010's to cope with the needs.
What are the pillars of RPA?
Interconnected transformation pillars build complexity by creating challenges to drive RPA programs across the organisation. The main key pillars include business process & value streams, people & culture, IT processes & technology, partners & suppliers, and measurement & maturity (see the diagram below). These five pillars support the organisation's strategy and governance. These attributes are founded on organisational policies, frameworks, and guidelines:
This is more of a transformation journey on a new digitalisation path as we cannot leave out the people, IT processes, and business processes. The primary focus has to be the key business processes that drive a significant value and also based on the regulatory guidelines. No two RPA or digitalisation processes are going to be the same as each organisation has different business processes, different suppliers, and different cultures.
We agree on the business case, assess what needs to be implemented, and look at each of these seven pillars and gauge the organisational strategy's maturity. We automate the business processes through RPA and implement a proof of concept. This implementation will depend on the business value streams that include your organisation's IT processes, measurement, partners, and organisational guidelines. We improve the implementation based on technological factors, competition factors, and market factors that influence your organisation.
Plan your RPA journey with an RPA Maturity Model
With the RPA maturity model (see figure below), you can determine the start and endpoint, develop a roadmap for change, measure progress, and ensure the change sticks. This model helps you ensure seamless business integration, service-driven, continual improvement as culture and optimised IT and innovative business processes:
We do an RPA assessment that ensures readiness in terms of strategy, organisation, and technology by understanding the people, process, partners, and technology. We see the right candidates that can be automated by identifying the right candidates for automation from various dimensions of business, technology, and adaptation. You can arrive at the right start point for the RPA journey through a well-thought approach. Throughout the RPA journey, we conduct workshops to help employees understand the automation process and provide assessment services for easy understanding.
Key Benefits of RPA Implementation
A business-driven RPA journey will encompass proper automation for your business. Employees need not worry about their job security as robots will not steal their jobs but make them much easier and simpler. A well defined RPA strategy will consider a strong involvement from partners and IT, RPA sponsors, people, and the right processes to be automated.
With RPA, you can reap many benefits (see diagram below) from improved availability of services, optimised human capital utilisation, process simplification, and leveraging data for decision making. Employees would be pleased to see standardised business, and IT processes with easy predictability, data hygiene, and operational assurance. They will also have additional bandwidth with reduced manual tasks and focus on value-adding activities with improved collaboration and teamwork. You can also see optimised resources, increased savings from automation, scalability for growth, speedy delivery, less rework, and business and IT alignment:
If you are looking to transform your business and IT function to support automation and digitalisation, the RPA maturity model is the right choice for you. With an organisational wide RPA strategy, you can define areas of high return. RPA and BPM work hand in hand with driving business effectiveness and efficiency from an IT and business standpoint.
Businesses can perform and function more efficiently with increased productivity, thanks to RPA. It deals with repetitive low-value, high volume and high-value, high volume tasks within a business process. RPA also helps you drive standardisation and higher compliance with processes, regulations, and reduces manual error.
This blog was written by Dr Kuldip Sandhu, a Digital / IT Transformation and Change practice development adviser and consultant with 25+ years working in IT. You can find his original blog here.