Technology’s evolutionary cycle is as unforgiving as they come. As enterprises race to keep up with new technology in order to automate and innovate, business models are following suit, rapidly changing to remain competitive. In order for enterprises to truly survive in today’s digital age, however, businesses must think beyond simple technology and its infrastructure. Put simply, businesses must prioritize business process transformation. More specifically, there needs to be a constant focus on rethinking and rebuilding business processes to match the speed and demand of today’s customer-centric world. But how? To start, embracing both automation and analytics. Together, these serve as the key drivers for greater efficiency and business value.
Today’s IT market is hurtling toward automation as the be-all, end-all solution for replacing legacy systems and transforming business processes. Because automation is making every business process more digital, it should be the core of an enterprise’s digital strategy. Still, while technology is an invaluable resource, it does not replace human thinking and strategic business decision-making. Without a clear set of process transformation objectives and goals, investing in automation tools will make little difference—automation for automation’s sake will fail. To succeed, enterprises must leverage automation as a tool for transforming their processes and delivering outstanding outcomes for their business.
However, automation is not without its shortcomings, particularly when it comes to implementation of these tools and software. Despite the hype behind automation, it still remains incredibly difficult for many enterprises to successfully deploy these tools. Why? Rushed and reactive efforts trump proactive, cautious replies. When automation fails, it’s often because consideration of the how, where and why to implement it as part of a larger strategy gets completely overlooked.
To ensure effective end-to-end implementation of automation, businesses should consider the following:
The first step for enterprises should be browsing the market before buying, just as you would with any purchase. Look at all the tools that are out there and think of how they could fit into or revamp your existing workflows. Agile technologies like robotic process automation (RPA) are particularly hot right now because of their ability to improve a multitude of processes driven by legacy systems in an efficient manner while driving costs down.
Once processes start becoming automated, enterprises can allocate their employees in new, creative ways. Humans will always be essential for overseeing the proper functioning of automated processes, but a good majority will be freed up to perform more thought-based, strategic tasks. When enterprises lay out predictable transformation goals, they can fully automate menial, cumbersome tasks that allow for this creative reallocation of human talent. For example, accounting processes are fairly predictable, making them much easier to automate and delivering a more structured, higher impact value. This is particularly important for industries such as finance and accounting (F&Q), which is undergoing a massive transition due to the rapid adoption of automation tools. As businesses increasingly adopt automation as part of their business’ digital strategy, it’s the enterprises embracing F&A process transformation that are best positioned to survive.
Still, technology never slows down or stops changing. To combat this constant change, enterprises must be proactive in their forward-thinking when it comes to process transformation. Driving this is data analytics. It’s imperative that enterprises wisely implement automation, but that they also leverage data analytics systems to glean real-time insights, appropriately utilize their resources, inform decision-making and elicit the most impactful business outcomes. Technology may be unpredictable, but comprehensive data analytics will allow for smart predictions and better long-term preparedness.
Moreover, a robust reporting and analytics engine becomes an even more critical resource when considering the sheer volume of data that exists within a business. More important than the data itself, however, is leveraging this data. The lasting value of data comes from reaping actionable insights from it that can be monetized and applied elsewhere. With real-time data analytics, an enterprise arms itself with the most up-to-date information to better inform their business decisions. Implementation, once tested, becomes increasingly valuable, as enterprises can then feed these insights back into their digital strategy to determine which business processes to transform next for the best outcomes. When correctly deployed, automation and analytics create a cycle that constantly transforms an enterprise’s business processes to ensure that they survive in this rapidly changing digital age.
Our mission at Sutherland is to transform the way you do business. It is our unique approach to process transformation—combining data analytics and design thinking with process-level automation—that recently gained us recognition as a market leader in financial and accounting services (F&A) by ISG’s “FAO Digital Outsourcing Services 2018 Archetype Report.” Learn more about our services here.
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