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How Automation CoEs can accelerate digital transformation across the enterprise

By Alf Saggese CRO TrustPortal

I remember when the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) category launched back in 2011. Like many, I appreciated how it helped business teams securely automate back-office processes within legacy IT environments. Back then, RPA was a truly ‘more for less’ category, populated by an agile technology fuelling concrete use cases and a brave new automated world with bucket loads of promise.

Fast forward to 2023 and the reality is that most organisations still use RPA, IA and its category cohort RDA in a piecemeal manner. Many are using these great tools to automate parts or sub-tasks within an entire work process, mainly within back-office or desktop environments. Many have exhausted their back-office automations.

Not enough organisations are digitising and automating entire end-to-end processes, across the front-office and all channels, at scale: which is where real transformation value is gained. HFS research backs this up, saying that 40% of businesses report that automation isn’t meeting expectations. And how about automation solving another big one: how to liberate organisations from the complexity and cost of digitising services, across not just legacy and but more modern systems too.

But demand for automation is higher than ever, HFS research says 70% of businesses now see it as a key priority. And with the research also revealing that the top 25% of automation Centres of Excellence (CoEs) only use 40% of their automation licences - there’s big opportunities for the most ambitious. And most are. Every automation CoE we speak with wants to accelerate digital transformation by transforming more complex end-to-end processes at scale.

Making digital transformation happen

Now, while having a great digital transformation vision is a great start, automation on its own isn’t enough to make it happen. So, what’s the next wave of supporting technological capabilties that can help CoEs achieve their goals with their existing robot estate?

Love it or hate it but the next wave of automation evolution for CoEs is HyperAutomation. However, to really move the needle and become a bona fide digital transformation change agent, HyperAutomation must shift beyond the hype.

We believe that HyperAutomation is about making software robots, employees, AI and digital technologies operate much faster, more efficiently to be much more productive. It’s about all these elements working in real-time in tandem, across all processes that fuel greater cost savings and growth – faster across higher value business units. And it’s not about costly ripping and replacing, but connecting and augmenting people and technologies that CoEs already have.

We’re talking about enabling skilled RPA/RDA developers within CoEs working with SMEs to easily design and deliver more processes that make multi-vendor RPA or RDA robots work smarter, harder, more productively with employees, AI and legacy & digital technologies: all operating in tandem at real-time speeds.

It’s about employees being supported via robot-guided, real-time dialogues and interactions to transform every process step. Where human judgement is required, handoffs are made simple via robot created, intuitive digital UI’s – all in real-time. Where automated judgement is required, AI or other cognitive tools are used to automate processes or escalate with predictive analysis and problem-solving capabilities. Again, all in real-time.

The result is HyperAutomated human and AI enriched, real-time digital process flows, of any complexity and business function, that seamlessly connect and augment existing systems, technologies and digital channels: whatever their age and complexity. This results in enhanced digital interactions, services and experiences delivered by employees and demanded by customers - across front-to back-office operations and beyond.

Say goodbye to the notion of attended, unattended and assisted automation, as HyperAutomation enables them all.

So, the potential for much better, smarter HyperAutomated ways of working throughout CoEs is enormous. We’re just scratching the surface here. There are almost limitless use cases. Imagine enabling technologies such as IoT, edge devices and mobility - through to moving the contact centre towards self-service.

Supercharging ROI and ROV in the real world

If you’re thinking HyperAutomation sounds too good to be true, a great example of how it’s delivering ROI and ROV at scale is at Telefonica, Spain’s largest company. Across its 12,000-seat contact centre, over 85 work processes are being transformed. Annual savings of 50 million euros are being generated and the entire project cost was recovered in less than 1 year. Average call handling time is down by over 50%, resulting in a +5 Customer Services Index improvement.

US insurance giant, MetLife’s CoE has also attributed $25 million savings directly to the use of HyperAutomation helping transform its claims processing activities into faster, more efficient, higher quality services. EDF’s CoE has seen improved completion times for complex processes, 98% completion rates, improved efficiency, quality and customer experience, and reduced advisor training effort.

And because HyperAutomation uses robots to guide employees to deliver better interactions and big service improvements, it’s lowering employee attrition rates across enterprises from 30% per year - to 10%. A leading Austrian Telco asserts that its employees require much less training across different systems when delivering valuable HyperAutomated work.

HyperAutomation is also all about helping organisations maximise ROI on existing investments and increase the scope of not just in RPA and legacy systems, but modern technologies such as ServiceNow or Salesforce, BPM, ERP systems, portals and others. We’ve seen results being achieved in weeks, not years, from work transformation programmes - and at 10% of the cost of traditional digitisation and automation approaches.

Final thoughts

All these HyperAutomation capabilities I’ve discussed are available from TrustPortal. It’s no code with low integration effort and lightly deployed as a SaaS - so fast implementation and ROI / ROV are achievable in months. Proof of concepts or value, can be swiftly actioned by CoEs to help their wider organisations benefit from new types of HyperAutomated, smarter work that solves problems previously deemed impossible due to the limitations of time, cost, resources, and legacy tech.


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