Many organizations are still experiencing the growing pains of trying to scale their automation efforts across the enterprise.
One barrier to scaling Robotic Process Automation (RPA) that we’re seeing across industries is what’s being commonly referred to as automation silos or islands of automation. In effect, these are disconnected automation initiatives that lack the infrastructure and enterprise architecture to fuel RPA at scale, preventing the organizations that invested in automation to realize tangible returns.
How Automation Silos are Created
There are two common root causes for the inadvertent creation of automation silos:
- A sequential, disconnected approach and strategy for identifying and implementing automation
- The tooling that organizations have overlooked or failed to acquire to support their automation efforts, operational effectiveness, and efficiency in general.
How Automation Strategy Contributes to Automation Silos
The majority of organizations that invest in RPA establish automation teams to implement and manage automation across the organization. In most representations, this includes one RPA lead or owner, a business analyst, and then one or two developers. The most common contributor to the involuntary creation of an automation silo isn’t necessarily the makeup of the team or number of members; it’s a waterfall approach to automation.
A sequential strategy to automation usually involves the following basic and generic schema:
- The business persona:
- Identifies the business process as an RPA opportunity
- Creates a business case
- Prioritizes the business process for development
- The developer:
- Receives all the technical documentation and instructions from the business analyst (normally in the form of a Process Design Document (PDD) which has also proved to be a barrier to scale)
- Develops the automated business process or bot
- Deploys the bot
This type of sequential approach limits the essential communication and collaboration needed between all the stakeholders involved in automation, preventing the agility required to scale automation and process excellence for impactful ROI. A sequential model that lacks continuous communication leads to misalignment between the business and IT, which creates misunderstandings, errors, and mistakes identified downstream that lead to delays and rework, driving up costs.
How Enterprise Architecture Contributes to Automation Silos
Automation silos are also a consequence of the automation toolchain an organization adopts.
Teams encountering barriers and delays in implementing automation at scale display similar characteristics—one of those being that they use archaic and disconnected tools in their automation operations. Email is the primary channel for communication and collaboration where PDDs are sent as attachments to be reviewed sequentially. ALMs are used to manage the development work and then an RPA platform is used for orchestration, yet there’s no focal point for convergence where all stakeholders can collaborate seamlessly and transparently.
In a recent report, Forrester advocated the need for multiple, specific yet essential intelligent automation technologies to drive the optimization and automation of complex, end-to-end processes that deliver the greatest returns and facilitate scale.
How to Avoid Automation Silos
Avoiding the creation of automation silos can be achieved by adopting the right automation strategy and investing in the right tools.
A flexible approach to automation is the best path forward. In this blog, we’ve strongly argued that a strategy that borrows from Agile principles can deliver automation at enterprise scale. Principles like upfront design and definition where business processes are identified for automation and optimized before any development work begins and maintaining a backlog of work are key.
An Agile model can make vital strides forward to ensure communication and collaboration is constant for all stakeholders involved in the automation initiative, however the right tools also play a fundamental role. Technology that promotes alignment where all stakeholders can converge to identify RPA opportunities, design and optimize processes for automation, connect those processes to all critical enterprise context while providing a centralized communication channel for real collaboration is essential.
The mix of an Agile approach to automation and the tools that foster continuous collaboration and visibility ensures that business processes in their current state can be rapidly identified as RPA opportunities, modified to optimize their to-be state, connected to all critical considerations like regulations, validated, and then developed and deployed, minimizing the risk of rework and errors downstream due to misunderstandings and a rigid, sequential approach.
The Blueprint Enterprise Automation Suite as an Automation Command Center
The Blueprint Enterprise Automation Suite personifies an automation command center. It is a centralized and collaborative place to design, optimize, connect, manage, and store all of the critical information for your automation initiatives. It delivers the solutions large organizations need to apply a flexible, Agile approach to automation and foster visibility, alignment, and continuous collaboration between all automation stakeholders. Business processes are defined, designed, and optimized in the Business Modeler for process excellence, where all stakeholders can converge to discuss, review, and validate the to-be process. All processes and even process steps can also be connected to higher business objectives and enterprise constraints like policies, rules, and regulations to reinforce compliance, and widen the communication scope needed for RPA at scale to include other key stakeholders like executives and compliance officers, not to mention provide developers with all the essential context when developing bots to reduce rework and strengthen compliance.
These solutions and capabilities are exactly what has led to the Blueprint Enterprise Automation Suite delivering 27% faster process design and modeling and 20% faster RPA development for some customers.
To see the full extent of the Blueprint Enterprise Automation Suite and discover how it can combat automation silos by acting as your automation command center, watch the short demo below: