• Joe Lees

The Critical Components for Successful Automation Initiatives

What makes an automation initiative a success? More importantly, how can we avoid the large percentage of reported automation failures?

While many factors contribute towards the overall success of an automation project, there are three key aspects which need to be aligned before starting:

  • People

  • Processes

  • Technology

With the current focus on automation and digital transformation, these are more critical than ever.


People

The first step is to identify the people who need to be involved:

  • Stakeholders

  • End Users

  • IT

  • Automation Team or CoE (if applicable)


For a successful initiative, buy-in is required from all of these people. But more than that, some of these roles will need to be fully committed to the initiative:

In a bacon-and-egg breakfast, what's the difference between the Chicken and the Pig? The Chicken is involved, but the pig is committed

It can also help to identify ‘Champions’:

  • An Automation Champion is someone within the business who has a good knowledge of the people and the processes, preferably has an automation mindset, and can facilitate the required discussions.

  • A User Champion is a representative of the end users - whether they are internal or customers - who can see the bigger picture, make informed suggestions (especially around the processes) and has a desire to help drive the change from within.

Neither of these roles needs to have technical knowledge outside the remit of their current role.


Processes

Many automation initiatives are successfully deployed, but do not provide the expected benefits. Work needs to be done upfront to ensure that the processes selected are:


  • Aligned to the objectives

  • Feasible in their current state

  • Known to a good level of detail


This can take place at a high level (to gain an understanding of where the best benefit may be in terms of business areas or larger processes and services), and again at a lower level, investigating the potential ‘as-is’ processes in more detail and planning the ‘to-be’ processes.


Technology

Choosing the perfect technology is a tough decision - with so many vendors and different types of tools available, which tool is the right one?

Automation is not always a one-tool-fits-all approach. The tool you select needs to match the processes you want to automate, integrate with any critical systems you have, and be ‘future-proofed’ for the change in your business - this is the best fit tool for your business.

Do you want to automate your legacy systems? Or do you have a vision to upgrade these to modern API-driven applications in the future? Maybe you need both…

The most important advice when it comes to tool selection is don’t put the cart before the horse - before thinking about tool selection, ensure you have the people & processes aligned and a good knowledge of the processes you are looking to automate.

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