Intelligent Automation - A steady metamorphosis of traditional businesses
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Intelligent Automation - A steady metamorphosis of traditional businesses

Shilpa Yelamaneni, Director, Data Science and Advanced Analytics, Ecolab
Shilpa Yelamaneni, Director, Data Science and Advanced Analytics, Ecolab

Shilpa Yelamaneni, Director, Data Science and Advanced Analytics, Ecolab

Intelligent Automation, a digital transformation initiative and an overarching theme encompassing automated/augmented processes and decision making, is poised to be the innovative vehiclein metamorphosis of traditional companiesinto digital businesses

Leveraging Robotic Process Automation and Machine Learning, traditional business process management takes a leap to business process optimization and to business model innovation.

While companies are increasingly digitizing in the pandemic world, a holistic approach to process innovationcan avoid “old business – new tools” stigma to “new ways – new business” and accelerate organizations’ metamorphosis to thrive in digital Darwinism. On the other hand, failure to proactively innovate business processes can impede organizations’ efforts to adequately leverage the full potential of their assets and can undermine their competitive advantage.

Trends pushing metamorphosis:

Historically, the automation of key business processes was predominantly focused on back-end utilities and was driven by cost and efficiency concerns. However, in more recent times, the focus of augmented processes has shifted to incorporate the need to both accelerate intelligent automation and significantly increase the scope of these efforts to fundamentally reconceptualize the underlying business model. This overall focus is embodied in three broad trends:

Three recent trends push limits on not only accelerating intelligent automation efforts, but also drastically expanding scope to business model reimagination.

1. Envisaging digital reach: COVID-19 has instigated hypergrowth in digital transformation schemes. Amid this backdrop, executives have been forced to find the means to survive and discover new development domains by leveraging the potential of digital mechanisms.

2. Developing digital potency: The pandemic has compelled executives to reconceptualize sales and support functions such as Inside Sales, Digital Commerce, Remote Service etc, not only establishing digital influence goals, but also generating new data sources.

3. Fostering digital-derived competitive advantages: As a broad adoption of intelligent automation tools has been observed across the industry, the trend undermines organizations’ central proficiencies and has forces businesses to reposition their value chains against the backdrop of advancing ecosystems based on the new data generated from the digital channels.  

Let’s look at an example. As a result of the current pandemic, many of the traditional businesses that were heavily reliant on field sales found their processes impeded due to social distancing requirements. These organizations progressively turned to digital services and processes to enhance their sales practices. Supplemented by the development of internal digital sales tools, businesses deliberately and instinctively digitized front office systems and generated a vast array of monetizable intelligence on customer requirements, their products, and their services, thereby enabling organizations to better leverage opportunities, improve customer responsiveness, and enable proactive contract negotiation.

An array of value propositions have emerged that leverage a network effect to generate transformative value that involves a multitude of factors, including reduced risk, improved customer service, scalability, process agility, industry-transforming ecologies, and overhauled human resource experiences.

Six keys that unlock powers of front office digitalization and optimize opportunities in enabling digital businesses are

1. Optimize instrumentation: Intelligent capture of data during standard sales and servicing interactions fosters transparency and facilitates process mining. Focused on the business objective of the digital solution upfront can help design digital systems to capture appropriate event data for creating new intelligence. Right data can help build meaningful insights and intelligence that fuels the development of cutting-edge digital systems; for instance, monitoring customer purchase patterns to proactively recommend the next steps.

2. Avoid blinkers: Adopting a holistic view of the customer experience and underlying business objectives can help organizations avoid placing a blinkered emphasis on individual processes. For instance, streamlining the customer complaint process will not adequately address the underlying cause of customer dissatisfaction.Think beyond the limits of conventional sales process and push on “art of the possible” including elimination of the process itself.

3. Simulate end-to-end process transparency: As majority of businesses leverage a myriad of SAS, ERP, and other platforms, it can be challenging to achieve end-to-end process transparency and resulting agility. Implementing a cross-platform workflow solution as an intermediate step can yield the required transparency throughout the value chain.

4. Adopt a mindset of perpetual evolution: Adopt a continuous improvement perspective via embedded machine learning and automation resources that foster ongoing evolution in response to newly identified patterns and monitored trends of the processes that are continuously generating labeled “historical” data.

5. Harness scale and reach:Established organizations have typically developed a scale and reach that can be a significant asset. Aggregating product- and user-level analytics can facilitate process improvements throughout the value chain and foster the development of new products and optimized resources that nurture competitive advantages. As adjancies, the new innovation can have higher chances of success.

6. Cultivate transformative value with an enhanced ecology: Proactively develop advanced ecologies by exploiting the collective value of value chain collaborators and novel business frameworks. There is scope for competitors to collaborate in creating a new market and capturing new value.

To identify areas of digital metamorphosis and intelligent automation, organizations can proactively leverage process mining. In the digital era, trailblazers have an unrivalled opportunity to transform business operations and yield a significant competitive advantage. Digital and business leaders are uniquely opportunistic to leverage these capabilities in the metamorphosis of our organizations and reaching their unique potential. Furthermore, collaborations with other businesses within the market can harness exponential value by enabling organizations to leverage network and scale.  Finally, leaders need to proactively impede digital transformation undervaluation to ensure its full potential can be manifest within critical competitive advantages. 

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