What are your plans for Intelligent Process Automation in 2020? IPA gained recognition in 2019 as a way to help organizations take their digital transformation to the next level. Now, IPA is set to gain notoriety, with Deloitte hailing 2020 as “the breakout year for intelligent automation.” 

Justin Watson, Global Robotic and Intelligent Automation Leader at Deloitte, says: “2020 [will see] organizations combine Robotic Process Automation (RPA) with Artificial Intelligence and other technologies to enable new ways of working. By doing so, automations go beyond the routine to the innovative, from collecting and processing data to predicting, analyzing and making contextual decisions.” 

You’ve probably already started an automation project in your business, so now is the time to take it to the next level. Here are four ways that you can ready your business for Intelligent Process Automation in 2020.   

1 – Create a customer-centric business model by uniting your business  

Developing a customer-centric business model is hard when faced with a myriad of legacy tech systems and disjointed customer data. You need to be able to orchestrate to enable and end-to-end flow of data and information across technologies and applications.  

Rob Koplowitz, Forrester VP Analyst, advised using a Digital Process Automation (DPA) platform to act as an orchestrator, in his webinar ‘Understanding Deep Process Automation and How it Helps Scale RPA’.  

“DPA has the mature view of process mapping and orchestration and is really well suited to managing and orchestrating all the discrete technologies [such as RPA and AI] as well. So, you must have digital process automation as part of your transformation strategy.” 

Old Mutual Bank leveraged DPA as an agile orchestration layer. They wanted to achieve a 360-degree view of all customer interactions with tight integration with their legacy technology and use intelligent automation to improve their customer-facing services. The bank was able to carry out 3,000 transactions a second, reducing customer-waiting times by 10x, massively increasing cross-sell revenues and driving consistent increases in Net Promoter Scores month-on-month. 

2 – Don’t deploy RPA in isolation to ensure end-to-end automation  

“In 2020, [early RPA adopters] will come to realize that RPA isn’t the cure-all for digital transformation… businesses will integrate RPA on top of more core and transformational technologies, such as Intelligent Automation platforms,” reports Top Business Tech.

Indeed, while RPA can help to automate data-intensive, repetitive tasks, the data often enters the organization in a semi-structured or unstructured format. This cannot be read by RPA. It’s like providing an English speaker with a Chinese manuscript to read. Additionally, RPA can be fragile and break if the UI deviates from the organizational standard.   

Bizagi feeds the RPA with the right information at the right time, so the robots become much more robust. In turn, this can help to accelerate the deployment of further robots throughout the business.  

When Bancolombia introduced RPA to the business, they had the advantage of already having Bizagi’s intelligent automation platform in place, laying the foundations for enterprise-wide automation. This has helped RPA to become prevalent at Bancolombia with over 400 robots already deployed throughout the business, alongside over 1,700 processes automated with Bizagi. 

“Not only have we seen benefits in efficiency, but we have reduced operational risk in a very important way, by increasing and improving the service in terms of compliance in our branches and other channels. We have also uncovered new incomes: we increased our written off portfolio by 47% using RPA and Bizagi,” said Jorge Otalvaro, VP of Service Delivery and Operations.   

3 – Create an agile way of working to deliver results quickly 

If you’re looking to see results quickly from Intelligent Process Automation in 2020, it’s best to take an agile approach. Rather than the traditional big bang approach favored by so many organizations, working in short, iterative cycles delivers meaningful results quickly, then you can iterate processes quickly, as and when required.  

Start small, think big, scale fast was the approach taken by multinational sports apparel manufacturer adidas. Defining the requirements around a process model and using an agile methodology helps to form a strong foundation for intelligent automation. “We connect a lot of systems together with Bizagi. It’s important to model the process first and then the online platform makes it more user-friendly for our customers,” said the Senior Process Automation Manager at adidas Group. 

As a result of agile development cycles, adidas delivered new workflow cycles in as little as two months, with 23 processes set live in just two years. This helped to eliminate one million emails per year in the supply chain, reducing operational cost by 60% and reducing factory onboarding time by 50%. All of this was accomplished in a third of the traditional development and delivery time. 

4 – Instil change management to encourage all employees  

“2019 saw a doubling in the number of companies applying intelligent automation. However, a significant proportion of business leaders have not yet forecast the impact automation technologies will have on their employees,” reports Information Age.  

Change management is an important part of any successful automation project. The more you educate people about technology, the more accepting they are of it. Companies need to communicate that they are better serving their employees by automating their low-value tasks and redeploying skilled workers elsewhere.  

Head of RPA and iBPMS development at Citizens Bank who implemented IPA across their commercial loan portfolio says that they have created a “confluence of robots and people, not a conflict.” They do this by personalizing the robots and making it clear what tasks they are fulfilling. 

“If you take a look at our organizational chart there are robots within that org chart… it’s about honest communication. What does that future landscape mean and what skills do our current workforce need to enhance, retain or focus on so that our digital workforce is more efficient?” 

The bank even has framed pictures of all their robots that complete processes hanging on the walls and a name the robot competition for employees. It’s a fun way of personalizing the technology and making workers comfortable with the change. 

If you’d like advice on how to roll-out Intelligent Process Automation as part of your overarching digital transformation project this year, download our ebook ‘How to Create a Timeline for Digital Transformation’ and start planning your actions for 2020.