Today’s robotic process automation (RPA) platforms deliver intelligent automation (IA) that does more than automate repetitive tasks. The software solution constantly learns and performs increasingly complex decision-making.
If you’re already using IA, you’re enjoying the business benefits it brings and will want opportunities to extract more value from the platform. One of the advantages of rolling out more IA is that it doesn’t need to be a long IT project every time. The power is in the hands of line-of-business leaders who spot an opportunity to automate one or more of their processes, from financial transactions to customer communications.
IA offers unlimited potential for change. Not surprisingly, the IA software market is the fastest-growing enterprise software segment that research analyst Gartner tracks, growing 38.9 percent in 2020. Download Gartner’s Report.
When you’re looking for a cloud IA provider, line-of-business leaders and the center of excellence (COE) will want to join IT and procurement, ensuring that the solution works for them too. Here, we provide a buyer’s checklist for the COE, line-of-business leaders and IT stakeholders.
What the COE should look for in a cloud IA solution
Business agility is vital to respond to change and keep ahead of the competition. Your IA solution should let you edit processes and add new ones quickly. It should be easy to see performance data. You need to know that the business can scale quickly, without incurring compliance risk — good visibility of your business processes will reduce risk.
Agility also comes from empowering business users to be directly involved in IA, so they can identify and action the automation required, without the need for a major IT project. With little or no training, line-of-business leaders must be able to get up to speed with IA through simple and intuitive interfaces.
In a young technology sector, with many new and emerging players, it’s important to invest in a partnership with a service provider that will go the distance. Look for well-established, secure providers. One way of identifying likely candidates is to check out suppliers that analysts, such as IDC and Gartner, have placed in the top quadrants of their industry reports. Talk to current users and partners. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant report, for example, mentions that the partner and customer ecosystem is a key strength for Blue Prism.
According to Gartner’s report, “Blue Prism has more than 168,000 active RPA users (including over 2,000 enterprise customers with RPA bots in production environments) and a community of more than 50,000 DX users across 5,000 companies. It also has more than 10,000 certified partners across all regions. … It has a strong vertical-market strategy, with industry-focused experts, campaigns, partners and accelerator tools.”
Functionality and availability are key attributes of an effective IA solution. Cloud delivery goes a long way in providing reassurance on those points because upgrades, support and security are baked in. You’ll want to look beyond that, ensuring that there’s strong alignment between the people and systems in the business and cloud provider. Defining roles and responsibilities is important from the start.
If you’re keen to automate certain processes, time to value (TTV) is important. At the same time, assess growth potential. You want to select a vendor that’s got great functionality now, while also investing in future enhancements. Look at their pipeline and a willingness to re-evaluate and change direction where needed.
What IT leaders should look for in a cloud IA platform
Security is the number one concern for IT leaders when it comes to putting business-critical processes and data outside the corporate network perimeter. There must be rock-solid certainty that the cloud platform is safe and secure. You’ll need to work with the IA cloud provider to secure connectivity in full compliance with your business’ security and governance requirements.
If you’re already using IA, you’re benefiting from the fast deployment of new process automation. Cloud solutions accelerate that further and provide newcomers to IA with a fast track to adoption. Don’t take our word for it. Gartner recommends accelerating IA adoption by subscribing to cloud versions of IA platforms, which reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO) and infrastructure barriers to IA scalability.
Cloud IA lets you start to automate processes instantly and demands less effort to set up, manage and maintain. You can move at speed with limited technical resources and scale up quickly when things change. IT leaders must work alongside cloud providers to deploy and maintain their digital workers in the cloud, so it’s a good idea to define these responsibilities from the start.
Connectivity and integration
CIOs and CISOs are responsible for connecting their business to the cloud IA solution and for securing those connections. Preconfigured cloud deployment of digital workers that stand ready to carry out many processes, goes a long way to reducing the in-house IT workload.
What line-of-business leaders should look for in a cloud IA platform
Measurable business performance improvement
If you’re a line-of-business leader, you probably have a clear idea about which processes will benefit from automation. Digital workers that can handle financial transactions or customer communications, for example, can work round the clock, freeing human operators to carry out tasks that add value to the customer relationship. Measuring cost efficiency for this use case is straightforward.
However, IA-powered business performance improvement goes beyond achieving cost efficiencies. You’ll see a fast return on investment, not just from full-time equivalent savings, but in the shape of key performance indicators, such as customer service. More efficient processes will enhance customer satisfaction and retention. This will drive better customer satisfaction stats, such as Net Promotor Score and customer satisfaction score, and ultimately higher sales and profits.
The return on IA investment will flow quickly from several directions — from high availability and uptime to reduced risk of downtime and security breaches. You’ll also benefit from operating 24/7 and allocating more digital workers quickly to a particular process to meet demand.
High business impact
IA goes far beyond automating routine processes. It now offers real potential for proper business transformation. You’ll be able to think beyond automating existing processes and dream up innovative, intelligent processes that can deliver high growth or disrupt the market, leaving rivals playing catch up. The right IA cloud solution offers you an opportunity to deliver high business impact. One way to identify this potential is to review the Artificial Intelligence and machine learning features of the solution, as well as the availability and sophistication of preconfigured digital workers.
A business-critical decision
IA is fast becoming critical for many businesses. And there’s no doubt that cloud solutions are the best bet for scalability and flexibility. The vendor landscape for cloud IA services is quickly maturing — but this is far from an off-the-shelf purchasing decision. And the switch to cloud IA is not solely an IT project. The COE, IT and business leaders must have input into the choice of cloud solution. Working together, your stakeholders will deliver the sophisticated capabilities that allow them to make transformational change.
Want to learn more about how to choose an IA provider?
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