Automation Pathfinder Program

Setting the Stage for an Automation-First Organization

  • 28 September 2022
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The Vision for an Automation-First Company Culture

 

Many of the lessons from this journey--from the production of bots, to a robust pipeline where anyone is encouraged to submit ideas, to the ongoing promotion and evangelism efforts--are designed to ultimately support an organization adopting an “Automation-First” company culture. An Automation-First company culture represents a shift for many organizations in the way that they view their processes, their people, and the platforms that they use daily. Knowing how an Automation-First organization views these assets can help set the stage for where your organization can go along its automation journey and can empower you with a vision for how the future of your organization’s digital transformation strategy can be empowered through the expanded adoption of automation.

 

  1. Processes - Objectively looking at the processes that make up the work that individuals are doing across functional areas of an organization, one theme seems to repeat itself over and over: Multiple Applications--without logical integrations with one another--are used to complete the tasks individuals are asked to do daily. An Automation-First mindset for an organization means identifying those areas where individuals are being asked to be the “bridge,” connecting these applications and creating automations/integrations that can relieve them of this redundant and often times repetitive work. An Automation-First mindset also gives an organization the freedom and tooling to evaluate existing processes to understand if those processes are efficiently done or not, and automate the process in part or whole as the process continues to be improved/optimized.

  2. People - An Automation-First mindset means viewing the people that make up the organization as capable of more than operating like robots to be the link between disparate systems. An Automation-First company culture means providing opportunities for the employees of an organization to participate in the digital transformation process in a way that benefits the organization as well as benefits the employees themselves. This can come by way of upskilling/reskilling opportunities for individuals who have an interest in building out low-code automations for processes they are most familiar with or it could come by way of providing employees with digital assistants that can be leveraged to take on repetitive tasks, enabling the employees to focus on higher value work and improving the customer experience. Finally, an Automation-First culture provides clear and simple ways for employees to suggest improvements in the way work gets done and tasks get automated. In the Pipeline feature of this journey, we cover what it looks like to make an automation submission form available, which empowers employees to identify areas for automation within the processes that they are most familiar.

  3. Platforms - Every organization uses multiple platforms for multiple purposes in an effort to do the work that is needed to deliver excellent customer experiences. From CRM platforms to the platforms that are used internally for communication, to platforms used for storing and validating customer/product details, every organization does its best to make the right decision in selecting a platform to meet their needs. An Automation-First company culture not only looks to meet the needs of the business, but is also digging into how new and existing platforms integrate with one another, expose their data, and the potential of the platform to be automated (via API or Screen Scraping). In addition to the platforms that they choose for meeting the needs of their business, an Automation-First organization is selecting a single no-code/low-code platform that meets the needs of their users to create, execute, and interface with created automations. The combination of the process knowledge of an organization’s users combined with an effective, easy-to-use automation platform enables empowered individuals within the organization to prioritize their team’s needs and deliver high-value, reliable automations.

 

Conclusion & Actionable Takeaways

 

Setting the vision for expansion within your organization isn't something that has to wait until you have 50 automations delivered into production. It can start with just having that guidance of where you can go, where you can take this, and where you want your automation practice to be 6, 12, and 18 months from now. The vision of an Automation-First company culture shows great leadership and can start from anywhere within the organization, even with what may be an automation practice that is just getting off the ground. Just like a wildfire starts from a single spark, organizational change that can set the course for the automation component of a company's digital transformation journey starts with a motivated change agent who has a vision for something better ahead.

 

Actionable Takeaways

 

  • With an Automation-First mindset, pay closer attention to the way that work is getting done across the organization. As you start with the identification of some of your “quick win” processes, be sure to clearly document what the process was like before automation and what the process is like after automation.
    • Not only can this help others within the organization understand how to view processes with an automation-first mindset, but it also serves as some of the content you may use for your ongoing program promotional and evangelism efforts.
  • As you expand your automation practice and evangelize the success of your delivered automations, pay close attention to people who are particularly excited or empowered by those delivered automations. These individuals can be “automation champions” who can be great resources to leverage as you expand your automation efforts later on.
    • Keep these individuals up to speed and engaged on upcoming automations and tap them for opportunities to get involved. As you’ll see continuing on this journey, there are plenty of ways for people to get involved with your automation practice, from human-in-the-loop bot operations, to opportunity finders, or even to learning to build and deliver their own automations. There are lots of ways for individuals from all backgrounds to get involved.
  • Encourage decision makers across the organization to consider the impact that newly onboarded applications may have on the organization’s automation efforts. Equip other leaders with a general understanding of the capabilities of Automation 360, so they can be aware of the impact of some of those new platform decisions
    • Consider working closely with the developers for any internally developed applications. Is there an API they can expose for you? Can there be an agreement about adding ID’s to all objects of a web interface to make screen scraping more reliable? How can they keep you in sync for any upcoming changes that may have impact on created/deployed automations?

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