24% of businesses cite revenue growth as a top strategic objective when it comes to IA and 30% claiming that improving customer service is their primary concern.

 

In such a volatile era, there is no choice but to re-invent at every opportunity and agility becomes a sustainable advantage. Adoption of intelligent automation (IA) is one of the most cost-effective routes to expansion for a modern business and it can mean growth at all levels and all areas.
 
24% of businesses cite revenue growth as a top strategic objective when it comes to IA and 30% claiming that improving customer service is their primary concern. This proves that, whether you’re looking to develop your business brand, your bottom line or both, it’s a strategy and a tool that no business should overlook.
 

The key attributes of an agile operating model
 
There are seven key attributes to focus on if you wish to develop an agile and more adaptive operating model for the future that involves both human and digital workers:
  1. Adaptive purpose-led strategy - A strategy that focuses on responding quickly to changes in the market and seeing these changes not as challenges but as opportunities.
  2. Customer-centric design - A system design built to benefit the customer first and prioritises the customer experience above all else. This means optimising the customer journey from end-to-end and connecting front ends with back end legacy systems to deliver an experience that’s seamless, simple and user-friendly.
  3. Organisations configured as networks - The traditional ‘front, middle and back’ office paradigm that has existed for generations needs to be seriously rethought. The teams of the future need to be more fluid and able to be assembled and disassembled as the market dictates without missing a beat. The distinction shouldn’t be between front, middle or back anymore, but instead operate around different resource pools so that the business needs dictate the teams (or networks); not vice-versa.
  4. Platform marketplaces for distributed work - Marketplaces that are able to orchestrate digital and human capacity within and outside the enterprise are crucial for businesses operating with a combination of remote and in-house workers.
  5. Automation and modularisation - In order for a digital workforce to operate functionally as a strategic enterprise asset, it requires a Robotics Operations Centre - a unified approach to achieving strategic outcomes with automation at scale.
  6. Evolving technological architectures - Technology is constantly evolving and that evolution is getting faster by the year. Businesses need to be able to take advantage of this maturing landscape and bring these evolutions to all of their innovative projects.
  7. Human and machine decision-making - Decision-making is perhaps the most important component of any business and in the future, those decisions need to be made by humans and robots working together and utilising the best that each has to offer. The analytical power of a machine bolstered by the critical, creative and empathetic nature of a human workforce can lead to faster and better decision making.


The success factors of an agile operating model
 
Of course, every business is unique and not all are going to adapt to automation in the same way. Businesses will be investing in IA for several reasons. We’ve already established that 24% do so to drive revenue growth, but 12% wish to use it as a springboard to a new operating model and 18% wish to use it to improve how they are utilising their data analytics. As far as results, meanwhile, 23% wish to streamline their customer services and less than 1% are doing so to eliminate headcount. So, generally speaking, businesses are well aware that the goal of IA is not to get rid of employees.
 
There are also many factors at play when it comes to determining how an organisation chooses to tackle automation. Of course, any automation strategy needs to align with the overall business strategy to ensure that different steps are prioritised, but there are four critical areas for organisations to consider when extending scale and reach of automation by adopting Intelligent Automation:
 
Opportunity assessment - Understanding from day one where the opportunity lies. Do everything within your power to ensure your methods are engineered and standardised across every level of the organisation and are based around achieving and capitalising on these opportunities.
 
Operating model - Setting up and utilising a reliable, competent and capable operating model for your digital workforce. The Robotics Operating Model (ROM) can be enhanced to help drive scaling using a rapid delivery and operations method drawn from a leading automation partner.
 
The IT environment - Getting the infrastructure in place and ensuring it’s scalable and secure. This might require a lot of investment and will also mean ensuring everything is structured alongside cloud computing policies.
 
Operational readiness - Are your operating units prepared and ready to operate in a completely new way? If everything is not planned and everyone is not prepared, then you could be looking at a potential disaster. Remember, your digital workforce is a major strategic asset, not just a ‘cool new toy’.
 

Managing change
 
Whilst workers should be aware of the significant changes lurking on the horizon, it is the job of business leaders to protect and prepare their people for the fundamental changes coming their way.
 
Everyone needs to be taken on the journey together and some will undoubtedly require more support than others when it comes to re-skilling. Change is not going to happen overnight either - it will come in waves. It will, however, be a challenge; a worthwhile challenge, but a challenge nonetheless.
 
The important thing is to make sure you are accurately communicating your vision for how automation will change the lives of workers for the better and what critical steps are necessary to help you all get there, as well as what steps each individual needs to take. It’s a big ask, but as long as your communications are relevant, human and real, you should encounter little residence and you could soon be well on your way to creating your own successful digital workforce.

 
Need some support? Discover more about how Hydrogen can help your business implement a digital workforce >>
 

 

About the author

 

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Chris Tin

Managing Consultant, Hydrogen Group

Chris has 7 years recruitment experience in placing Business Change and IT professionals. He’s currently focusing on Robotics Process Automation (RPA) projects placing RPA Developers, Analysts and Consultants, running RPA training programmes and embedding Digital Workers with various clients.