Wellstar Health System has recently streamlined its medical documentation management through intelligent automation. One of the largest U.S. healthcare providers aimed to reduce manual paperwork activities and improve data and service quality. The introduction of a cognitive RPA solution allowed them to do that. Within the first month, the company finally eliminated human errors and achieved over 90 percent accuracy.
It is also worth noting that this innovative move ensured a faster turnaround time and better HIPAA compliance for Wellstar. Impressive outcomes, aren’t they? Can your business get even more value from robotics and human coexistence? Absolutely. Today we share our insights on adopting enterprise intelligent automation without compromising business continuity and on issues to avoid.
What is intelligent automation (IA)?
To make sure we’re on the same page, let’s start with the definition of intelligent (a.k.a. cognitive) automation. In simple words, it’s an umbrella term for AI, ML, NLP, speech recognition, and other advanced technologies used to automate complex business processes.
You must have heard about AI bots and various RPA software already. Together these tools mimic human behavior while ensuring seamless digital business transformation. This is cognitive automation we encounter almost everywhere and in every industry these days.
Now, what about practical advice on creating a successful cognitive automation strategy? The potential benefits of enterprise IA are tempting, but let’s go through the right and wrong steps on your way to getting them.
When automating processes, do…
1. Prepare a business continuity plan
Your organization must be ready for an automation cycle to get the most of it. If you are just starting your workflow automation journey, take the time to create a clear vision of why you have decided to embark on it. A trend doesn’t mean a necessity—what can be a silver bullet for other market players can do more harm than good to your business. So, conduct a thorough market analysis to explore competitive pros and cons for your industry and corporate goals. Don’t rush and take some time before making a pivotal decision.
If you’re satisfied with the research, you can proceed with organizing your business data and identifying manual processes eligible for digitalization. Data fuels intelligent automation, so ensure its high quality, observability, and availability. Remember that you might also need additional training data for machine learning algorithms. Furthermore, you can prepare your workflows for automation at this stage—assess how your departments have organized operations and find opportunities to eliminate manual data entry.
Expert tip: To investigate manual workflows most productively, divide every process into separate modules and create highly detailed process design documents. For instance, when automating recruitment processes, you need to outline how your staff collects and stores CVs and measures effective screening. What are the best ways to provide candidates with feedback? These are just a few things to know before implementing IA. Remember that your company might have even more complex workflows.
2. Establish collaboration between business and IT
Yes, despite all the praise for improving operations, statistics show that up to 50 percent of automation projects fail. One of the reasons is siloed ownership of IA initiatives. Unfortunately, business leaders often neglect crucial technical limitations such as reliability and compliance while discussing a workflow automation strategy. And when IT leaders take over those initiatives, they feel disconnected from stakeholders and overlook the intended value.
To solve this puzzle, your business and IT departments should combine efforts and listen to each other. This way, responsible specialists will focus on every aspect, from operational requirements to performance monitoring to technological compatibility. Most importantly, we recommend building an automation cycle around people, not tools. The best approach is to prioritize your end-users’ needs and communicate them to all parties involved in IA.
Expert tip: Let’s say you plan to adopt intelligent capture software to help your finance division handle documents faster and more accurately. Start by asking how accountants perform paperwork, store data, and how a billing system works. When you’ve detailed as many processes as possible, you can envision how automation will empower your workforce. Check our comprehensive guide on building a financial services bot for more useful tips.
3. Seek professional support
It’s not easy to implement an enterprise intelligent automation campaign, not to mention dealing with its scaling or measuring effectiveness. There are dozens of issues to consider if you want to ensure quick business growth. Among others, you should prepare strategies for testing, risk mitigation, and efficient change management.
Fortunately, you can engage experienced professionals to ease the burden. If you don’t have enough in-house capacity or necessary field knowledge, external experts can address gaps in process discovery, concept design, or effectiveness analysis. They can also tell you if you can introduce automation to your legacy system as is or if you need to modernize it first. Finally, they can advise on the specific tools and tech stacks that will work best for you.
When automating processes, don’t…
1. Create unrealistic expectations
Setting goals is essential for mapping out your intelligent automation strategy. But more importantly, these goals have to be achievable. For instance, don’t expect huge cost savings a month after implementing smart technologies. Statistically, your ROI benchmark ranges from six months for standard processes and up to two years for more complex ones.
This advice also refers to deadlines. Depending on the scope of work and complexity of your existing systems, migration to IA solutions can take months. Especially if we are talking about a full-scale enterprise intelligent automation.
2. Automate wrong processes
Believe us when we say that a process wrongly selected for automation can jeopardize your success and be a waste to your budgets. So, when identifying workflows to transform with IA, avoid:
- Unoptimized operations that don’t deliver desired business outcomes
- Creative and unpredictable workflows
- Processes where automation will decrease your ROI
Another common mistake is trying to automate too many tasks within one operation. Sure, in theory, automation of complex flows should significantly improve outcomes. But business owners find them more challenging and cost-prohibitive to digitalize. So, what should you do?
We recommend following “the rule of five”—don’t automate processes composed of more than five tasks. Moreover, start with workflows that bring the greatest value to your company or the most time-consuming ones. It’ll give you enough time to prove that your intelligent automation initiatives are effective. Plus, you’ll gather feedback from your staff and gain the support of those employees who were reluctant to accept IA in the first place.
3. Forget to scale up your AI workforce
It’s critical to understand that automation tools can’t stay in stasis somewhere in the background after you launch them. As the technology landscape evolves constantly, your intelligent automation software will also require regular reviews, updates, and modifications. To enhance a system, you should train your algorithms continuously. However, we do not advise upgrading your automation framework just because you can. Monitor the latest trends and releases but put your business priorities first.
Secure your business resilience with workflow automation
Using intelligent technologies is no longer an extra—it’s one of the most affordable instruments to enhance the value chain framework and gain a competitive advantage. Ninety-two percent of IT decision-makers agree that automated workflows are imperative for digital transformation. Aside from improving corporate performance, they also increase accuracy and employee satisfaction.
The top three reasons to give IA the green light:
- Opportunities for cost-cutting and faster service delivery
- Ensured continuity of operations and boosted productivity
- Real-time advanced analytics and actionable business insights
No magic wand can help your company adopt IA overnight—it’s impossible. To succeed with a well-planned, comprehensive intelligent automation strategy, you should still follow our checklist of dos and don’ts. Feel free to contact us today if you have any questions or need assistance with the implementation. We can join your IA project at any stage and apply our knowledge and expertise to eliminate any bottlenecks hindering you.