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How Enabling Change Management Can Accelerate Process Automation

Enterprises are taking a different approach to bring continuous value to its customers and to ultimately, drive long-term business benefits

Organizations are introducing unprecedented levels of initiatives to deliver sustained business value to their customers. Process automation is one such initiative that focuses on transforming customer-facing and functional support processes such as human resources, finance, and IT to drive overall efficiency and effectiveness. The topic of process automation has been in the market for a long time, but in most recent years, it has become center stage for many enterprises -- evolving rapidly at its core with many digital tools, partners, and providers coming together to create a stronger value proposition.

With automation, the historical knowledge, and years of working in a certain fashion are programmed to create an operating system. Humans and machines must collaborate in this new organizational fabric, with shared responsibilities for executing business processes. This mindset first requires a massive change in how we work together. Employees must re-think and shift their approach of working in the context of digital tools as cohorts, creating significant efficiency and business value. Hence, to achieve automation at scale, there needs to be a massive change management program to enable its success.

The Human Role in Change Management

The impediments to success include human resistance to change. Change management and acceleration initiatives, if done right, can unlock this seamless transformation at scale. Unlike large-scale IT solution implementations, automation requires more human involvement and more reimagining of work from within the workforce at all levels. Organizational leaders will have to embark on change initiatives to address key concerns such as:

  • What is in it for me (WIIFM)? How am I going to benefit? How is it going to benefit my organization?
  • Will I have time to do it? How do I disengage from my day-to-day work to carve out time and dedicate some time to an automation project?
  • What skills do I need in order to be able to adopt new ways of working with this technology?
  • What skills do I need to design and or even build such an automation solution?

To embrace automation, organizational leaders will have to drive change at both the individual and the team level.

Adopting Process Automation Across the Business

It’s been proven that automation technologies work and have delivered on the promise of providing immediate results. However, this is frequently in pockets and not pervasive across the organization. There are many reasons automation projects can underperform, but one common theme that emerges is lack of adoption. While having a digital mindset begins with developing the ability to use technology, it doesn’t end there. Outside of utilizing technology, employees must be comfortable to use the specific technology to inform their actions, create new opportunities, and solve problems, all of which come together to drive growth.

There’s More Work to Be Done

Today’s change management activities to support automation programs fall short in yielding expected business results. For example, current change activities are taken up as internal marketing campaigns, sharing the success of automation or communicating business benefits. But much more needs to be done to activate the organization to accept and work alongside automation technology, driving long-term business value.

Enterprises occasionally use external tools or vendors to refresh their organization, accelerate change, and drive automation technologies into their organization and processes. Change management can train people on how to use the technology and automation capabilities to solve business problems. Furthermore, the employee experience can be elevated as organizations leverage these new digital workforce capabilities. Change management is, therefore, integral to the sustained value creation promise of enterprise level automation.

Editor's Choice
Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing