How to Scale your Automation Capabilities

By: Intelligent Automation Week

Implementing Intelligent Automation is never an easy process; even RPA can cause businesses a number of problems - from straight-up failures to cultural challenges. So, how does an organisation take a simple automation initiative to the next level? We have compiled the top four practices needed to implement Intelligent Automation at scale. Discover how to create the best strategy for the scaling project, how to define your project and how you should support your workforce as the change rolls out across the organisation.

1. Make Automation a Strategic Priority 

A number of reports and surveys have been completed that show organisations who are more successful in scaling their automation capabilities are the organisations that are more likely to set strategic priorities. This means that of the scaling projects that have been successful, most organisations had set scaling as a strategic priority in the planning stage of their project. Before even simple automation tools were implemented within the organisation, they were already planning to scale them. By having this idea at the back of your mind at all times, organisations are more likely to tailor their initial steps to fit a scaling project, making it simpler.

According to a survey by Deloitte, in 2016 just 15% of respondents reported that their automation program was part of a corporate strategic initiatives. In recent years, this figure has risen to 65%. More and more organisations are understanding the importance of having strategic priorities when it comes to technology implementation.

2. Take a Systematic Approach to Scaling 

According to McKinsey & Co. only 5% of respondents at successful companies say their deployment was ad hoc, or only completed when very necessary. In unsuccessful companies this number was almost 20%. Successful companies were far less likely to begin their scaling project without planning out each step. Instead, they took a systematic approach making sure each step completed to the best of their ability. In the past, waterfall implementations have been successful but since this project is more complex, it's recommended that organisations take a systematic approach. This includes defining your desired outcomes and working through the processes in a systematic way that will help you achieve them in an agile manner.

'Having clarified the goals, the next step is to assess end-to-end processes. This helps to build the business case for IA including the return that could be achieved and other gains.'

3. Define Governance

Working around governance can be difficult in simple automation projects, never mind scaling. Therefore, in order to ensure the project is successful, governance needs to be defined as early as the planning stage. When it comes to scaling, McKinsey & Co. report that organisations who are successful are more likely to tailor their governance to individual functions instead of a centralised team. Failing organisations will be the organisations who will use a centralised team.

When defining governance in scaling projects, governance needs to be more flexible. According to Deloitte, this governance should:

    • Enable control
    • Not be treated like an ERP or a Core System
    • Be flexible
    • Not obstruct change

4. Support the changing Culture and Workforce

Scaling your automation capabilities will lead to a number of workforce and cultural changes. In order for your project to be successful, you and the organisation need to support the changes and ensure that you are building a culture and workforce that aligns everyone with the new technology. According to McKinsey & Co. only eight per cent of organisations think they won't encounter skills gaps. From a different angle, 27% of companies report successful projects when hiring goals are based on tech needs and are three times more likely to put culture and workforce as a top priority.

'This change requires effective change agents, new capabilities and a culture that embraces automation; this should not be limited to a central team.'

Interested in learning more about how to scale your Intelligent Automation capabilities? Intelligent Automation Week 2019 will be providing numerous insights into scaling and growing your abilities, discussing real-life case studies of how organisations have worked and grown successfully. Discover more about Intelligent Automation Week 2019 here.