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Automation: A Necessary Pit Stop En Route Digital Transformation

By: Neelesh Kripalani

Recently, we have witnessed a dramatic shift in the pivots that organizations are making in order to become more agile and efficient. The ongoing pandemic has forced business leaders to rethink digital transformation (DX). The question is no longer about whether you should start the digital transformation journey; it is about when.

Forward-thinking organizations have realized that in order to remain competitive, they must constantly evolve their culture, processes and technologies by means of digital transformation. As DX efforts advance, organisations are increasingly exploring role of advanced technologies in the future of business. However, many of them are confused on where to begin. Automation can be a good starting point!

Before we delve into the role of automation in DX, let us first understand what DX truly means…

Digital transformation is the adoption of digital technology to transform services or businesses, through replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital processes or replacing older digital technology with newer digital technology. Simply put, it is the foundational change in how an organization delivers value to its stake holders.

Now that we know what DX means, let’s find out how can automation help in DX?

To understand the role of automation in DX, you need to know what digital transformation means to your organization. If it means overall process improvement in order to increase productivity and reduce cost, then automation should be one of the first steps towards your DX journey.

DX requires not only making existing processes more efficient, but creating or unlocking new value for all the stake holders including customers, partners, employees etc. Automation tools have continued to evolve over the last decade to meet this requirement.

The key value proposition of automation includes:

  1. Lower costs
  2. Faster time-to-market
  3. Better scalability
  4. Improved operational efficiency
  5. Enhanced customer experience

Automation is an opportunity and not a threat

Automation technology is set to play a pivotal role in digital transformation, enabling organizations to optimize their existing processes and keep pace with the competition. But employees should look at automation as an opportunity and not a threat. For years, science fiction movies have showcased robots replacing humans and thus majority of the workers are cynical about the automation technology. The business leaders must make them realize the true potential of automation and how it can provide them opportunity to grow by enabling them to focus on more creative tasks.

No risk, no reward

Every change in technology comes with its risks, and organizations who adapt the change without developing a strategy will face challenges. So, before investing in any new technology, organizations should have defined objectives and a comprehensive plan on how do they want to use the new technology to achieve these objectives. Organizations that take this approach and prioritize goals first can minimize the risk and maximize the reward.

In a nutshell…

During the pandemic, organizations need all allies and bots have the potential to be so. They can free business leaders of the not so critical tasks and allow them to utilize the time in re-imagining business processes to not only become more resilient but also productive. However, for automation to be a business growth driver, it must be integrated intelligently. It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. So, rather than going all-in, you can start small by automating select areas and build upon it over time.

(The author is Senior VP & Head- Center of Excellence – Clover Infotech and the views expressed in this article are his own)

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