Dear enterprise transformation leaders
Our latest research on the state of intelligent automation (IA) yielded an almost paradoxical set of findings about your adoption of critical change agents and their application to your business. One on hand, we are delighted to see that your strategic and operational objectives for IA are focused on driving new revenues and delighting customers. However, you also told us that the majority of actual investment has been in back-office process areas such as finance and accounting, with investment in customer service coming in dead last.
We also noted with interest that your leading concern about deriving value from IA is the ability to scale, but you also shared with us that you are supremely confident that you can achieve enterprise-wide IA scale within two years, despite deep-seated fears about lack of talent, data quality, and ability to drive effective organizational change.
The happy hype-busters here at HFS would like to point out that despite your increased adoption of IA technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA), permutations of AI such as machine learning or natural language processing, or smart analytics (aka the Triple-A Trifecta), there is a still a substantial gap between the reality of what you’re achieving versus the rhetoric of what’s possible. We agree that there is exponential potential in IA; the outcome is the achievement of the Digital OneOffice. But if you keep applying the same linear, technology-centric thinking to achieving your objectives, you will just have more technology rather than a competitive advantage. Exhibit 1 shows an interpretive representation of how enterprises are applying and executing IA initiatives across enterprises today.Exhibit 1: An interpretation of how enterprises are applying IASource: HFS Research 2019
Bottom line: Integrated automation is HOW you drive IA execution
We recommend that you take a step back from all the cool tech and ensure you have a firm grasp on WHY your enterprise is investing in IA and WHAT it plans to achieve. With that in firm check, we then strongly suggest embracing an integrated automation philosophy. Integrated automation is the effective melding of technology, talent, organizational change, and leadership to achieve exponential outcomes. It requires the integration of the Triple-A Trifecta change agents in your toolbox and their application across the original trifecta of people, process, and technology (Exhibit 2). Integrated automation is HOW you drive IA execution.
Remember, intelligent automation is not just new technology—it enables enterprises to fundamentally change how business operations are executed, creates new ways to work with hybrid digital and human workforces, and enables new business models. Your ability to unlock this potential requires both the fundamental belief that there is massive change afoot and a practical, proven way to embrace the change.