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Ecosystems, ROI and the Hot Air Balloon Myth

Posted: 04/19/2018 - 02:35

Whether you crossed the automation chasm early, or are just starting your journey into digital service delivery, you’re not alone if you’ve got questions surrounding technical ecosystem choices. Generating ROI—and how exactly to go about proving the value of numerous small automation projects versus one giant re-platforming initiative—is a common challenge. 

Open vs. Closed Ecosystems 

Should you pick one vendor and tie yourself to their technology, or should you support an open ecosystem using the right tool for the right job? Open APIs and cloud computing now allow us to create ‘best of breed’ open ecosystems to support intelligent automation at scale. But how do you go about creating one? 

Here are several key questions all businesses should consider: 

  • What data do you hold and where does it sit? 
  • How do human skillsets play into your operations environment? Do you have hundreds of human workers completing simple and repetitive tasks? 
  • Is your IT department ready for change? You need people with the knowledge, skills and inclination to experiment with intelligent automation tools and work out how they fit into your world. 

To create the most effective ecosystem possible, businesses should ‘plant’ two or three different intelligent automation tools with similar capabilities into automation environments to see which one thrives. Robotic Service Orchestration (RSO) will let you ‘plug and play’ and give you complete transparency to discover which vendor products and solutions work best to help meet your automation goals. 

The RSO ‘Smart Meter’ 

How do you identify and measure the benefits being achieved in end-to-end services when these benefits might come from fragmented automation activities, using various RPA and intelligent automation tools, as well as other process change or optimisation activities? 

If some benefits are coming from applying RPA for menial, systematic, repeatable tasks, while others are coming from applying other intelligent automation technologies, it is no wonder that many companies are finding it challenging to take an end-to-end view of benefits and ROI. It means that companies have to approach ROI differently and get a better view of more variables than ever before. RSO provides insight like cost performance data, helping companies see where these fragmented changes are delivering efficiency and other measurable ROI across an entire service. In the same way that we are using smart meters to more accurately measure energy consumption in the home, RSO gives a “whole world” view of the benefits being delivered across our automation and optimisation programmes. 

Myth Busting: Size Matters. Or Does it? 

How do you compare the value delivered by numerous small process automations with those demanding single ‘big ticket’ technology transformations?

If you’re flying with one giant hot air balloon and it bursts, you’re in trouble. But if you’re flying with 1,000 small balloons and one bursts, it doesn’t really matter. Now, see this idea as having one large scale re-platforming initiative, compared to introducing a ‘layer’ of digitalisation via multiple, small automation projects to your business. Many companies today are seeing more value in smaller automation initiatives. Previously, there was no real way to stick your hand up and say "we need 1,000 small balloons to give us the most lift…not one big one!" RSO is pretty new to the market, and so is its ability to quantify the value of your small automation initiatives to give a drilled down activity-based cost model. 

RSO provides the benefit of re-platforming without having to sink costs into an extensive IT project. With RSO, companies remove the need for programming and technical integration, minimising the technical challenges around ‘hooking’ each tool into the next step of the automated process, which takes up a lot of IT resource. 

Food for thought…

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About The Author

Kit Cox's picture

Kit is an entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in the BPO and technology industries. Kit founded Enate with a view to disrupting the shared service and BPO market via automation, AI and RPA. He has developed a robotic orchestration platform which manages end-to-end service provision process across humans and robots, ensuring the optimal journey to automation. Enate’s disruptive SaaS platform deploys within weeks, reducing time to automate by 75%, and providing cost savings upwards of 25%.