Automation hits the C-Suite agenda

The next wave of disruptive strategic technology strikes

Is your business ready to take advantage of the advances in automation coming your way this year?

In the first of our series of blogs exploring the eight major trends we think will make their mark in 2021 and beyond, we look at how senior leaders are switching on to its potential.

If you are in the C-Suite and considering an automation transformation in your business, or you want to convince the people who are, keep reading to find out why now is the moment to take a technological leap into the future.

What’s happening across organisations like yours

Automation is moving out of the shadows. Rather than small-scale initiatives carried out independently by different areas of the business, it is now becoming a central part of organisation-wide strategy. This is made possible by rapidly evolving technologies providing tangible benefits that are hard to ignore.

We are already seeing this across our clients, and the number of savvy senior leaders who recognise the potential that automation brings is going to grow dramatically this year.

The pandemic has played its part in accelerating high-level enthusiasm for automation, by exposing the dangers of relying on out-of-date systems that struggle to cope with increasing and changing customer demands. In fact, 67% of executives agree it has upped the pace of implementation and 90% expect investments in automation to increase their workforce capacity over the next three years.

Some things may snap back once Covid-19 is under control, but automation won’t be one of them. It was already well on its way before the pandemic and with the advances of the last year, it’s firmly here to stay.

Why this matters to you

Executive teams like yours have a number of conflicting and complementary priorities to navigate throughout 2021. Automation is well-primed to support these priorities and deliver competitive, cultural, and cost advantages across your business.

Whether you are a Chief Executive grappling with the demands of remaining competitive, a Chief Financial Officer looking at which tech will generate the greatest return on investment, or a Chief Information Officer managing rapid digitisation to meet your customer’s digital needs, automation has the capacity to create comprehensive change.

When you bring all of these together it adds up to a huge positive strategic disruption, rather than a collection of piecemeal efficiencies. Going back to the three areas we mentioned above, here’s a snapshot of what that looks like:

  • Competitive advantage – Delivering better customer and employee experiences by providing faster ways of responding to, and dealing with, their needs, which in turn boosts revenue.
  • Cultural change – Preparing your workforce for the future so they and your organisation can overcome the fear of change, become more resilient, and build the necessary skills to thrive.
  • Cost efficiency – Doing more with less and freeing your employees to focus on higher-value tasks.

If you are in a role just below the C-Suite level and can see the impact automation could have on your organisation, strategic benefits like these will make decision-makers sit up and take notice.

No matter how hard you bang the drum for automation, without their support you will be banging your head against a brick wall much of the time. Once you have buy-in from the C-Suite, the investment and momentum you need to manage a full-scale automation strategy will follow.

A watertight strategy is essential if you want to bring key stakeholders on the journey with you and realise all the benefits of automation. To succeed it has to be robust, realistic, and enterprise-wide.

To enable this, your strategy should:

  • Have an automation vision that aligns with your company’s purpose and values. Automation should help you live these more fully rather than conflict with them. This will help people understand why you are embarking on this journey and buy into the change.
  • Treat this as a human cultural transformation rather than a technology implementation. A well thought-through change management and communications plan are critical to build interest and understanding while overcoming fear and uncertainty. You will get the most from automation when people are willing to adopt it.
  • Realistically assess the likely return on investment. Cost-savings are the obvious starting point, but much greater value may come from the hours you free up for your people, and the impact on your customer and employee experience. To maximise these benefits, consider the end-to-end processes you can automate and then commit money and people to the transformation.

By creating a clear strategy that addresses these points you will be laying the foundations for a successful automation transformation, as well as giving people a reason to embrace it.

What’s next?

With top decision-makers on board, comprehensive change is possible in any business. In our next blog, Automation scales up, we’ll look at why this change increasingly involves broadening your automation capabilities across an organisation.

But if you can’t wait until it lands to find out more, read about all the key shifts and innovations in the sector by downloading our Automation Trends 2021 eBook right now.

Tags: Process Automation, RPA