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Enterprise Automation: The Worst Performing Thing is the Most Important Thing


The more automation leaders we talk to and the more we look into our research data, it’s becoming abundantly clear: companies are stalling out in their automation initiatives, usually once they have automated around 20 processes. In essence, they’re hitting the “RPA wall.”

There are several reasons for hitting the wall, but we’re finding it’s primarily due to organizational resistance to change and a lack of automation process and technology standards. The former is out of your control but must be carefully managed. The latter is well within your control but is hard to do when you’re constantly fighting fires.

The good news is that we’re seeing a few companies successfully break through the wall. What’s the secret? I think it’s a high-performing automation center of excellence (CoE). The CoE is the engine within the company that helps people get ready for automation, ensures that the pace of automation can increase as the business demands more, and makes sure the business is realizing the value of its automation investments.

That said, creating a high-performing center of excellence is not easy. In our Bot 3.0 Study we fielded last year we looked into several different areas of enterprise automation capability. And, by a long shot, the statement that leaders identified with the least was this: “We have a high performing automation center of excellence.”

Some of this is due to the fact that automation centers are new, and people are just figuring out what they are, who should be staffing them, and what their charter should be. Just over half of the companies in our study had launched a CoE within the last year, and 16 percent had not launched one at all, so this is still a very new organizational concept. We see companies trying all kinds of new approaches to ensure the value of automation, but unfortunately, it often just boils down to just trying to automate more, faster.

But this is not a recipe for success. Eventually, most companies will hit the wall. To avoid it, organizations need a way to manage and prioritize demand, build hardened bots that won’t fail, measure and communicate business value, make sure that the people who are impacted by automation know what to do and have new tasks waiting for them, and govern all this change that is introducing a fundamentally new way of getting work done.

I just published a research note on this important topic. I’d love to get your feedback on how you’re making the most important thing the best performing thing!

About the author

Stanton helps enterprise clients maximize the value of their digital investments. He is also lead analyst for the quarterly ISG Index Insider, helping service providers understand how disruptive technologies are transforming the IT services market. Stanton is a recognized expert in emerging technologies and services, and has been quoted in CIO, Forbes and The Times of London.