crucial part of coping with constant change involves being able to manage processes. There’s something in it for users, for business stakeholders — and therefore, for the CIO.
At this point (late 2020), the need to constantly adapt to changing conditions ought not to be a lesson anyone needs to learn.During a recent Microsoft quarterly earnings report, the first in the era of COVID-19, CEO Satya Nadella said We have seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months. He was referring to the explosive growth in use of Microsoft Teams, one way to adapt to the most basic of business needs, that of communication and content sharing under conditions of heavy remote work.
He’s right, of course — but it’s not enough. No matter how radical and rapid, a pivot from working in a common office area to working via instant messaging and video conferencing does little to transform the work itself. What’s more, if it’s still largely manual, ad-hoc activity, virtual channels will inevitably slow it down. We’re grateful that remote work is possible, but there’s plenty of room for improvement.
According to EYs Global Capital Confidence Barometer study, 71% of organizations will prioritize new investments in digital and technology. Another survey, June 2020 Digital Pulse by 451 Research, showed that over 30% of companies are spending more on IT resources/assets as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Like never before, all eyes are now on CIO’s game plan for navigating current business continuity challenges, as the technology has proven to be a remedy for today’s new reality.
Business process automation vendors can list endless benefits of workflow automation. Claims, research, and case studies have asserted:
And they’re right. Moreover, there are numbers to back it up.
In June 2020, one of the leading global analyst and advisory firms, Forrester Consulting, conducted a study The Total Economic Impact™ of WEBCON BPS(you can get your free copyright here). It examines the benefits and financial impact of process automation with the use of a low-code DPA (Digital Process Automation) platform, on the example of a company in the financial services industry, a subsidiary of a global conglomerate with more than 300,000 employees globally.
Among the study’s key findings are:
Business strategy and IT are inextricably linked. As Deloitte’s 2018 Global CIO Survey showed, the role of the Chief Information Officer is expanding beyond that of a technology champion, and a trusted operator who “keeps the lights on and the trains running.” Today, the CIO needs to become a change instigator and a strategic partner who helps shape the business.
A look at job listing for CIOs will show that virtually every single one of them includes “identifying and proposing areas to benefit from information technology”, or “developing and executing digital transformation strategy”. Which yet again makes it essential to consider what digital transformation is and how to make it happen successfully.
Let’s take a look at digital transformation as a process of using technology to reshape business. Digitalizing processes with dedicated applications that enable task and workflow automation is, in some cases, the front and center of it. In some organizations, so called business applications are the most effective and efficient way to execute the change that technology brings to processes.
The benefits of process automation to the overall organization are well-documented, thanks to numerous reports, studies like The Total Economic Impact™, and real-life customer testimonials. But pursuing automation projectsis also very directly beneficial for the CIO, too:
Some business process automation projects come from the top, as another element of the organization’s global strategy, but the vast majority of them are bottom-up initiatives. Business users often need help with automating repetitive, time-consuming tasks, or improving the processes that are by far managed by emails and Excel spreadsheets, or getting rid of paper documents clutter (out of their desks).
While there is a “citizen development” movement under way, even its best-behaved/most-successful/highest-payoff incarnations fall far short of the scope of total requests. Very few citizens are able to, let alone want to, become citizen developers. IT cannot be bypassed. But it can be enhanced, improved, and augmented.
Those projects are usually relatively narrow scoped and easy to deliver, and business users are highly motivated to participate in the application development process, especially when it’s clear that their input will be listened to and acted on. A steady progression of short-term successes create currency that will be necessary during long-term projects like CRM or ERP implementation, when business user support is both critical and not something to be taken for granted.
A key component of a true business process automation is the determination, and the delivery, of measurable outcomes (ROI). Process-oriented solutions understand this in ways that simple task automation and data management efforts simply don’t. And anything that’s measurable is something that’s reportable. When long-term, strategic IT projects (may they concern IT infrastructure, the ERP exchange, and whatnot) are getting delayed or fail, it becomes an ace up the CIO’s sleeve to be able to present process automation quick wins impact on the overall business.
Treating business applications as process automation projects means solutions focused on the work to be done, not the assets to be managed. Choosing the right tool to deliver your applications – one that stresses agile adaptation based on continuous feedback – and you’ll see regular positive results. Persistent positive sentiment is an intangible asset, but it’s an asset all the same – and sometimes it’s the key to being trusted when it’s time to explain reality.
It doesn’t have to consume a great amount of resources. More importantly, it doesn’t have to require orchestrating a cacophony of otherwise-disconnected moving parts. A comprehensive and integrated low-code platform (e.g., WEBCON BPS) can provide a single solution to create the majority of the business applications you need. That means fewer systems to maintain and fewer skill sets with which to keep current. It reduces the risk of process automation projects and enables IT team to quickly deliver applications that are consistent and maintainable.
The modern CIO is responsible for creating a healthy IT infrastructure and efficient information dissemination, which enables the C-suite to make better decisions faster and execute them effectively. With workflow automation, processes become transparent, well-governed, standardized, and auditable, which allows the CIO to provide management with strategic insights, indispensable to corporate growth.
In that, the CIO naturally becomes a valued member of the strategic leadership team and the change instigator, who is fully aware of IT empowerment to drive innovation and transform the company into a data-driven enterprise.
There isn’t a CIO that doesn’t see their role as a strategic partner to business. Applications made with tools focused on processes make a digital transformation strategy a reality. They don’t manage assets to be used by the business – they become the business.
1. It has to be change-ready and future-proof
Business process automation and management projects are rarely well-defined when you start them. At the same time, you’re building a bespoke solution, and the requirements will change and evolve. That is why the way your platform responds to change is just as important as the ability to quickly deliver applications. It’s not about change management and staging applications through the development-test-production lifecycle.
WEBCON’s InstantChange™ technology ensures a low cost of implementing application change, no matter how frequent or dramatic. How IT manages scope creep (including whether they perceive it as a problem or a measure of successful adoption) has a direct influence on how business perceives them to be cooperative and engaged.
2. Enterprise-grade architecture is a must
Automation journeys often start with very simple projects that initially affect only a handful of people. Over time, those different applications become linked together – and the complexity of the solutions you deliver rises. That is why business process automation needs to address enterprise requirements from the very beginning. When choosing a DPA platform, look carefully for performance, scalability, security, governability, transparency – not whether they’re possible, but whether they’re provided in the box. With every new application, staging and documentation becomes more and more important. Every application should be treated as if it’s business-critical, and every application should be efficient and scalable.
3. Go for clarity and standardization
Quick application delivery and efficient change management aren’t enough, either. The best solutions become nightmares if only a few people understand how they work, and even fewer people are comfortable adjusting or extending them. No matter who delivered an application, any other team member should be able to easily take over its maintenance and further development. A consistent toolset, architecture, and user experience are keys to this. And added benefit is that training a user on one solution effectively trains them for every future solution, and stakeholders advising one project become better and better at advising other projects.
Over the last decade, our WEBCON BPS low-code process automation platform has helped over 450 international companies in successful digital transformation.
Our goal is to support organizations in creating a modern workplace that improves how people work, drives insights, and helps navigate business strategy in times of constant change.
No matter if you’re looking to automate one process or dozens of them, we’re here to help you succeed with an enterprise-grade platform and a network of passionate and experienced professionals with a wealth of experience in delivering business solutions for market leaders.
Tell us what your business scenarios and process automation needs are – we’d love to be of help!
Curious what value WEBCON BPS can bring to your business?
Don’t hesitate to contact us!