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Challenges when automating people-centric processes

Posted in Management on Friday, 22 September 2017
Challenges when automating people-centric processes

I often ask myself how Robotic Process Automation and Cognitive AI will transform the way businesses and organisations will require to operate in the digital age. Etellect has been developing automated software solutions for a few years now, and with the recent launch of our eAutomate SaaS solution, we’ve become distinctly aware of the challenges that business face when deciding how best to adopt this exciting technology for people-centric business processes.  I discussed this very concept at Venturefest Scotland 2017 at the Glasgow Science Centre recently where I joined a panel discussion on new business models brought about by Industry 4.0.  

I see the recent advances in software automation forcing businesses to adopt a new mind-set, one that some could argue is counter-intuitive to how critical digital transformation projects have been procured and implemented to date.  Yes, we are now familiar, and generally comfortable with, moving key business critical applications to the cloud, but modern day businesses and organisations require significantly higher levels of operational efficiency to become more productive, something that connecting several ‘islands of technology’ often fails to achieve.

Independently, these applications may offer great functionality and utility in themselves, but as each data ‘silo’ evolves, they generally become even more data hungry and their data sets, at the very least, must be mirrored and replicated across their firewalled boundaries. A challenge in itself.  Also, knowing what data source contains the most up to date and valid data can become critical to business continuity.

Adding automation to this mix adds yet more complexity, and to make process automation truly effective, you really need to work off, what we like to call, a ‘single point of truth’ data store. In simple terms, it becomes critical that the automated process works of the same data at the same time.  It should be noted that before the boom of cloud based SaaS solutions, there was always a tendency for the data owner to keep tight control of the ‘master’ data store but this sensible approach to data management has been steadily eroded by the ever increasing demands placed on a business to improve customer service or to improve the bottom line.  Applying process automation to a process that operates across different ‘versions’ of this same data is a recipe for disaster and could actually make the process, not only more in-efficient, but inherently unstable.

I would love to hear about your concerns around applying software automation to your people-centric processes and if you’ve managed to address this issue or had a similar experience within your own business?  It would also be interesting to hear if you’ve had exposure to the principles of Robotic Process Automation and/or Cognitive AI and want to share your thoughts on how it could be deployed within your own business?  

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