Digital Transformation really is about reducing the cost of doing business, improving business agility, developing new revenue streams and improving customer stickyness.
Robotic process automation is best done natively, from the ground up.
Here are 15 steps to follow for best Robotic Process Automation results.
- Drive Robotic Process Automation (RPA) from the highest level in your organisation. It is imperceptive for RPA to driven as an integrated corporate project with support from all internal stakeholders. Silos MUST be broken down.
- Establish an automation innovation group – include a change agent, business, IT, auditing and compliance representatives.
- Identify business areas where automation makes sense and those areas that are best left to human roles.
- Identify processes or process groups as automation candidates.
- Design training and change management programs to ensure your staff do not see automation as a threat, rather to see it as an opportunity to learn something new and to play a different role in the business.
- Completely re-engineer them for maximum automation effectiveness whilst adhering to governance and compliance regulations.
- Ask probing questions and make sure the processes, business and compliance rules and data flows are not based on human design roles.
- Remove those processes or process groups from the ERP domain and manage them within the automation domain.
- Integrate with ERP and line of business systems where appropriate.
- Send ALL source and result data as well as all automated process execution data to your secure big data store.
- Use machine learning and other advanced analytics techniques to develop patterns of normal process behaviour given each possible process scenario.
- Implement a stream analytics pipeline that will monitor every automated process in real time. Flag normal vs anomalous process behaviour and feed the machine learning engine to improve the monitoring algorithm.
- Build visualisations to show automated transactions in progress, outcomes, statistics and to highlight potential anomalous transactions. Support the visualisations with secure database tables containing all details for auditing purposes.
- Implement alerts for high risk anomalous process behaviour patterns.
- Select the next process or process group and repeat until you achieve the correct balance between processes that are managed within your ERP domain and those that are automated.
The role of a change agent in Digital Transformation endeavours
Digital Transformation is first and foremost an innovation program. It is not called the Fourth Industrial Revolution for nothing. It is an opportunity to break the shackles of “we have always done it this way” and outfox your competition. Digital Transformation should be a strategic and NOT a technology initiative in your business.
Change agents challenge the status quo, they ask what-if questions, they are not vested in the current paradigm. Change agents spend their time on research, on prototypes, in open learning conversations and most of all, change agents spend their time thinking about what is wrong with the current paradigm, about the future and how we can evolve our current situations into a better future. It is all about the art-of-the-possible.
So, how do you best approach Digital Transformation endeavours in your business?
You start by establishing a strategic innovation committee. The members of this committee must include at least leaders representing all your lines of business, risk and compliance, finance, operations, marketing, strategy, an agile project specialist and most importantly, it needs to be chaired by a change agent.
Establish a code of conduct for your digital transformation program and get all participants to sign the code of conduct.
- Arrive prepared, apply your mind, do not be a passenger.
- Everybody has a voice. At some point, the whole world believed the earth was flat. A few people thought differently. So, one person seeing it differently to the rest does not automatically make the one person wrong.
- An opposing view is an inspiration to innovate, not a criticism.
- No defensive posturing.
- Digital Transformation programs are a team sport – it is something we are doing together – it is in all our best interests for this program to succeed – so – blame game is not productive.
- On time for meetings.
- Project meetings are an opportunity to collaborate for the benefit of the endeavour. People using laptops and other devices during a meeting and only paying attention when directly spoken to, detracts from this goal.No open laptops in meetings except.
- For the person taking minutes
- if specifically required for reporting or presentation purposes
- Understand, deeply, that failure is part of this process. Embrace it, learn from it.
- Think big but act incrementally. Agile is the way to go.
For Digital Transformation to succeed
Performance score cards should include “How many times have you failed at an innovation project?”. If the number is less than 5 in any one year, then you are not really trying to innovate.
Digital Transformation success requires an entrepreneurial company culture at all levels of leadership and management. Your team must wake up and be excited about the difference they are going to make today.
Leaders of today must embrace ideation and innovation as a day-to-day activity. The ideas box in the bathroom and the traditional annual strategy bush breakaway is outdated in today’s agile, customer centric world. Leaders must change the way they measure and reward their people and the way they structure their businesses. This is the only way that legacy thinking and legacy corporate behaviour will adapt to the challenges and opportunities presented by the fourth industrial revolution. It is almost as if the institutional knowledge, that has been a major asset to organisations with leaders and managers who have come through the ranks, is now that one thing holding back true innovation and corporate reinvention. It is this true innovation and corporate reinvention that will define those organisations who will thrive 5 to 10 years from now and those who will fade away. Embrace a strategic change agent and take your team on an exciting journey of reinvention.
Implementing Robotic Process Automation without first reengineering the processes to remove human role bias, is like strapping a V8 on a horse and expecting it to run faster.
Leaders of today must embrace ideation and innovation as a day-to-day activity. The ideas box in the bathroom and the traditional annual strategy bush breakaway is outdated in today’s agile, customer centric world.
Digital transformation and the fourth industrial revolution will only transform lives for the better if business leaders of today adjust their thinking on ERP.
Traditional approaches to ERP will hold you back, it will consume your attention, your budget, your energy, your team. These large, drawn out ERP projects will destroy your competitiveness and some very talented people in your business. ERP is not the silver bullet. It is no longer the platform that you build your business on. It is not THAT strategic ICT project that will define your future. Large all-consuming enterprise projects should be a thing of the past.
Keep your current ERP system and invest your time, energy, budget and most importantly, your strategic thinking, into how you should embrace digital transformation. How you should adapt your thinking on your business model on the art-of-the-possible, on disruption, on how you can completely reinvent your business and your industry by embracing, not fearing, the fourth industrial revolution. Take your people with you, get them excited – boldly go ….