A recent Deloitte study found that over 50% of enterprises are planning to incorporate AI and automation in 2023. The challenge for many is how to connect teams and the myriad systems and tools they use. In a recent blog, Gartner recognized the role that I&O leaders can take in leading these activities.
Challenges to Cross Business Automation
Business process automation is vital for digital transformation, but even as IT leaders are charged with building the digital workspace, Forrester research suggests that only about a third of IT tasks are currently automated. The reason? The IT estate is complex and becoming ever more so.
As end users have become more distributed, the number of devices they use has grown and more cloud-based resources have been deployed to support them. You’ve likely added tools to address the growing complexities of asset management, digital experience, cybersecurity, and other challenges. But as you’ve done so, you’ve created more data siloes. These tools automate tasks within the areas they support, but don’t interact with each other. That means bridging gaps between them with manual processes.
If IT tools can’t interact with each other, how can we expect the myriad tools used by business teams to do so?
Orchestrate Tools with a Digital Platform Conductor
In its Market Guide for Digital Platform Conductor (DPC) Tools, Gartner explains how I&O leaders can take advantage of automation capabilities for the tasks they are responsible, explaining the potential of a digital platform conductor for addressing growing complexity within the IT estate. But the way that a DPC tool works means that it’s not limited to IT functions and can be leveraged by I&O leaders to address the challenges of cross business process automation.
What is a Digital Platform Conductor?
One Gartner blog highlights how enterprises can overcome the challenges of automating processes, suggesting success can be achieved by leading with the business outcome and aligning the required set of tools. A digital platform conductor is able to leverage the strength of existing tools, and it does this by connecting to disparate IT management tools, data repositories and other data stores managed by IT and around the business. It then leverages the information they contain to automate tasks and orchestrate system workflows required to manage change.
But can you rely on the data within legacy tools, point solutions, or spreadsheets to automate processes? According to Gartner, bad data actually increases the complexity of data ecosystems and leads to poor decision-making. For example, the accuracy of most CMDBs typically hovers around 60%. A DPC overcomes this issue by continuously analyzing data from all sources to ensure accuracy, completeness, and compliance with organizational standards. Based on business rules, the DPC automatically cleans the data and updates all systems. When clarification or additional information is needed, the DPC automatically queries SMEs and users to provide what is needed.
The DPC then uses this data to automate and orchestrate business processes across complex, disconnected systems. Using a DPC, IT can automate 80% or more of the workflows required for IT asset lifecycle management (ITALM), IT service management (ITSM), server migrations, OS upgrades, Cloud migrations, application rationalization, and much more.
So, how can it be extended to aid cross business process automation?
Using a DPC for Business Process Automation
According to Forbes, one main reason projects fail is the lack of integration within the business. By connecting with off the shelf tools and proprietary systems, a DPC can break through organizational siloes, allowing IT to lead business process automation initiatives including:
User onboarding and offboarding:
Working with HR and procurement, IT can define process triggers for action and leverage a DPC to automate workflows to acquire, build and ship devices, provision services for new users, and manage department moves to ensure users are equipped to work from day one in their new role. IT can also use a DPC to manage offboarding in a timely manner to ensure assets and data are protected and reduce security risks created when any delay occurs in offboarding employees.
Smart office and digital operation security:
Using a DPC, IT can work with teams such as site services as they implement smart office capabilities or operational teams as they manage their digital transformation. IT has the expertise and knowledge in updating and patching devices and applications to maintain performance and keep data secure, after all. IT can help other business teams implement new capabilities in the most efficient and effective way, and leverage automation to seamlessly incorporate new Internet of Things (IoT) endpoints within their wider endpoint operations.
Driving a better user digital experience:
Even as volatile market forces mean companies must make difficult choices about their workforce, many remain focused on retaining key talent. Since 2020, the digital workplace experience has become even more important, and using a DPC, IT can implement proactive digital experience monitoring, using monitoring tools to trigger workflows that solve issues before they impact users, and deliver a more personalized digital experience.
Enhancing procurement accuracy:
Using a DPC to connect to HR, IT, and procurement tools your organization can automate processes to improve procurement accuracy. For example, ensure the correct equipment is delivered on time to meet the needs of new hires, or that ensure refresh programs are handled successfully so to maintain productivity.
Allocating and reporting business costs:
IT can give business leaders access to reports that show real-time asset costs for their teams. These can be used for future planning and budget activities.
With business processes automated and recorded, teams can leverage data from a DPC to show how they are adhering to internal policies and meeting regulatory requirements without the last-minute scramble to gather information.
Teams no longer need to rely on calls, messages and emails that can be so easily missed, forgotten, or not managed correctly. Automated workflows help ensure process consistency and conformance.
Leading Cross Business Automation: Where to Begin
Ensure IT is involved:
Gartner suggests one of the biggest mistakes in enterprise automation is not involving IT. But, leveraging a DPC, IT is in a strong position to show how it walks the talk using automation and how that can be extended to other cross-business programs, working with identified SME’s.
See how a global financial services organization leveraged a DPC to propagate innovation across the company.
Explain the need for automation to increase flexibility and efficiency. Yinuo Geng, vice president at Gartner, said, “automation is essential for I&O to scale for the rising demands of digital business.” IT can show the benefits already achieved within change projects using a DPC and how that can be replicated to aid the business, such as how by removing unnecessary manual processes greater accuracy is driven into any program, to reduce cost and effort.
Use a data-driven approach to select potential programs for automation:
Work with teams to identify potential tasks or programs for automation and use risk levels or benefit scores to define which to implement first. You could use a DPC to assist by defining parameters for the score and using the DPC to assign the score. For example, risk could be measured by the number of teams or people involved in the program. Use these scores to demonstrate your data-driven approach to program selection.
Work with relevant teams to identify tasks that can be automated and workflows that can be orchestrated with a DPC.
Report and replicate:
By taking a phased approach, you can measure the success of your initial program and share real results with other teams before expanding automation to other business processes.
ReadyWorks is a digital platform conductor. Book a demo to understand how ReadyWorks can help you cut through organizational barriers and complexity to benefit from cross business automation.