How to get started on a Intelligent Process Automation Journey

With the rise in the importance of data and the pressure of competition, developing an effective Digital Transformation Strategy has become more important than ever. Forrester has estimated that most technology-driven businesses are growing at a rate of 3 to 4 times their industry average; highlighting the significance of technologies such as RPA, Machine Learning (ML) and Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) to that success.

The benefits of a strategic Digital Transformation Journey include not only the ability to grow revenue and improve the bottom line through increased efficiencies but also improvements in customer service and operational insights leading to competitive advantage and business growth. 

Steps to starting a Digital Transformation Journey -

Step 1 – Start small

It is good to be ambitious, but when deploying any new technology, it is important not to ‘eat the elephant whole’. Look for opportunities with a positive business case in the first instance, demonstrate its success and replicate this success once the project is complete.

Step 2 – Identify a single use case

There will be many areas within a business appropriate for the application of Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) technologies, however choosing just one can be tricky. In order to narrow it down, organisations need to understand the end to end process, the daily tasks involved and establish where the current pain points reside.

Step 3 – Do your homework & identify the right technology

With technology, it can often be difficult to see the wood from the trees, so organisations need to look further than the ‘hype’. One technology might be effective for one use case but not another. In order to identify the right technology, companies need to apply their findings from step 2 in order to investigate Digital Transformation solutions. For example, processes with a high volume of repetitive manual work such as data input may be appropriate for RPA, however, Machine Learning software is likely to be the best solution to deliver the end-to-end process for Intelligent Document Processing.

Read reports, whitepapers and blogs and speak to analysts, existing users and as many technology vendors as possible to really understand the best solution for the individual use case.

(To help make sense of some of the technology applications and associated terminology, a glossary of terms can be found here.)

Step 4 – Get buy-in from the bottom up (it’s a culture thing)

Intelligent Automation is often thought to be a threat to the workforce; therefore, communication is key to the success of getting buy-in from everyone. In the use case analysis stage, operations teams need to be involved with the diagnostics to help demonstrate daily routines and highlight pain points; identifying areas that if improved would significantly benefit and enhance current roles.

In addition, clarity needs to be provided around the responsibilities of teams once the technology is implemented. As is the case with Celaton’s inSTREAM platform, operators are essential to its learning in a process called ‘Human in the Loop’. Through an easy to use Graphical User Interface (GUI) inSTREAM collaborates with operators who teach it where to find key information.  inSTREAM learns from every transaction it processes, therefore as the volume of documents increase, its confidence and accuracy improve to a point where Straight Through Processing (STP) is achieved. As inSTREAM’s confidence and accuracy increases, the amount of interaction needed with humans decreases enabling employees to focus on the complex, value-based and rewarding tasks. 

Step 5 – Emulate the success

Once the first use case has been successfully implemented, the process is repeated applying learnings and utilising organisation buy-in to rapidly deploy IPA into other areas of the business.

Continual optimisation of the process is key to the success of Digital Transformation initiatives, so regular reviews and service monitoring should form part of your evaluation of existing technologies for new process applications.

Fundamentally, Digital Transformation Journeys are based on strong relationships between key stakeholders, operatives and technology vendors. Through working collaboratively to achieve the goals of the organisation, successful outcomes can be achieved.

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