McKinsey & Co’s 2020 global survey* of business leaders. from a wide cross-section of industries, revealed that 66% were piloting solutions to automate at least one business process – this is up from 57% two years earlier. In addition, the survey found that 31% of businesses have fully automated at least one function, which indicates that automation is accelerating.
IT organisations have long focused on automating manual tasks and activities, using automation tools, workflow management systems etc. to take out repetitive manual tasks, deliver speed and agility of service provision and ultimately provide greater value to the business. Here are just two ways in which automation makes a difference:
• Workflow Automation which uses rule-based logic to automate manual activities, files, and processes into a centrally managed and controlled set of services.
• File Management Automation which includes managed file transfers across the hybrid infrastructure (Cloud, Distributed, Virtual and Mainframe), is a safe and secure transfer of submitted files via a managed file transfer portal.
In recent months, smaller organisations have been moving towards making automation a strategic priority, aligning the automation strategy with overall business strategy and placing automation high on the C-suite business agenda. With this shift to business focused process automation come several advantages, resulting in significant improvements in delivering operational value for money, reducing the likelihood of business critical errors and boosting productivity.
How are they doing this? By focusing on three key elements:
• Business Process Automation which automates rafts of business processes with dependencies between systems, applications, databases and machines and integrating them together in a centrally managed, seamless, end-2-end solution.
• Workload Orchestration (i.e. ERP). Coordinating processes across the whole estate, even with multiple instances, servers and time zones and orchestrating processes with business logic that links critical transactions and ensures data integrity. This overcomes many limitations of built-in scheduling tools and enables the orchestration of SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Infor, Workday and other ERPs natively.
• Process & Workload Monitoring, resulting in a unified view of application and file transfer workflows providing visibility, reliability and data security.
However, despite the improvements in automation, many organisations fail to look at the whole picture. Successful automation is no longer just about automating what is currently being delivered. Instead, over 74% of respondents* who reported successful automation efforts, indicated that the number one enabler was “systematic process redesign” – what we like to call ‘process re-engineering’ of business processes.
This concept of ‘process re-engineering’ means taking a holistic approach to the existing business process landscape and reviewing what is currently being delivered manually, what is currently automated, which key business processes are needed for future business models, and what needs to be stopped as it’s no longer needed.
In the same survey, 65% of the smaller companies reported success with automation, compared with 55% at large organisations.
This clearly shows that automation is delivering significant business benefits to smaller organisations. There is one extra element that stands out for smaller organisations – as part of their automation strategy, focusing on considering the entire organisation under the scope of automation efforts. This means putting in place tactical milestones across the organisation and measuring their success.
Here at MDB Service Consulting, we are actively helping clients – both large and small – with optimising their existing automation solutions so that they extract the most value from what they have already purchased.
We are also working with other clients on developing business focused automation services that meet their future needs.
If your business is facing either set of challenges, get in touch. We’ll carry out a FREE health check to see where you could successfully switch to automation solutions guaranteed to save you time and effort.
• * McKinsey Survey reference: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/operations/our-insights/the-imperatives-for-automation-success