Over the past two years, we’ve seen digital players enter verticals with astonishing speed, introduce radically new offerings, disrupt the way businesses interact with customers, and raise the bar for simplicity and personalization. . Driven by this rapid change, traditional businesses are looking to reinvent themselves, stay relevant and thrive.
A set of disruptive technologies are maturing in the business operations space, enabling companies to improve the way they create and deliver value. Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) is emerging from the back office to help businesses create adaptive, resilient, and efficient operating models and deliver seamless experiences for customers and employees.
McKinsey defines IPA as “a set of business process improvements and modern technologies that combine fundamental process redesign with robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning ( ML) and cognitive technologies such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) It helps organizations redesign processes and workflows by aligning them with customer journeys for better fluid experiences, digitize data for personalization and insights, and automate mundane tasks to achieve breakthrough increases in productivity.
In the world of operations, IPA is a Swiss army knife. CEOs love its power to transform customer and employee experiences; CFOs appreciate its potential for exponential efficiency growth; line-of-business leaders appreciate the clear results it delivers; CIOs are embracing it as a digital accelerator and way to demonstrate business results.
A US health insurer, after adopting IPA across its business, found it could process claims six times faster. An agriculture and agribusiness company improved productivity by 75% with a fourfold return on investment. And one of the world’s leading providers of consumer credit and debit card services has saved more than $160 million by automating its accounts payable, accounts receivable and purchase order workflows.
At best, automation also makes tasks more human, empowering employees with new capabilities through analytics and AI and freeing up time for creativity and critical thinking.
Successful automation adopters invest in effective talent and change management programs that close skills gaps and enable frontline employees to understand and adopt related technologies. Amazon’s multi-year automation program, Hands off the Wheel, has elevated the roles and responsibilities of its employees by reducing their focus on algorithms, which ML handles more efficiently, and freeing them to imagine and innovate, while by increasing productivity.
Five Emerging Automation Themes
To understand how increasingly sophisticated automation tools can handle repetitive tasks and create smarter process flows to tackle business complexity and foster resilience, Cognizant recently surveyed 4,000 global executives in the framework of the study The work ahead. Five key themes emerged from our research and analysis:
- Automation is coming of age. Automation is already an integral part of modern business. Respondents also cite AI and analytics as crucial to enabling intelligent automation.
- More and more process work is turning to machines. The volume of work performed by intelligent machines is growing rapidly, and many organizations are leveraging automation to make sense of a deluge of process data. Respondents expect the volume of complex, routine decisions performed by machines to increase by approximately 50% between 2021 and 2023. As automation approaches incorporate AI and other cognitive technologies, organizations will move even more processes to machines.
- Large-scale automation deployments are rare (yet). Only 8% of respondents say they have deployed automation at scale. Most organizations implement automation piecemeal, targeting process pain points rather than integrating processes into a workflow. This strategy will change as companies understand the value of implementing increasingly sophisticated automation tools across all business functions and focus on supporting employees in the new way of working. .
- The more processes you scale up, the greater the returns. Respondents who augmented more business processes through automation, AI, and analytics perform better than those who augmented fewer processes. Areas of higher performance include operational efficiency, decision making, risk reduction and better customer experience.
- Scaling automation requires new skills and organizational models. As workplace automation grows, organizations will increasingly need soft skills such as decision-making, learning, and creativity. The sea change will occur when automation moves beyond a series of isolated initiatives to become the defining factor of a workflow, reshaping the way the business does its work.
A powerful competitive advantage
“Companies with advanced automation programs will annihilate — not just beat — the competition,” Forrester Research recently predicted. Yet many companies still take a siled approach to automation, unable to realize the full potential of IPA to help them transform their business.
To accelerate scale and achieve lasting advantage, organizations must make automation across all functions and beyond IT a strategic board-level priority, a critical enabler of an adaptive and scalable operating model.
Chart a step-by-step path to the future with intelligent process automation at cognizant.com/neuro.