We’re currently witnessing a generational shift in digital technology. Over the past decade and a half, the boundaries of digital frontiers have significantly and rapidly evolved. The future of automation is intertwined with the future of digital transformation. Organizations have moved away from piecemeal automation and are now embracing large-scale implementations in their approach. 

Along with this shift, a variety of automation technologies have converged. Only five years ago, the common advice from top analysts like Forrester was to keep different technologies in their own “swim lanes,” focusing on individual areas to prevent clutter and confusion. Now, automation innovations like RPA, DPA, low-code, process intelligence, and data-driven automation work together, often from a single platform, to provide the full scope of automation coverage. Teams are engaging in a more integrated and holistic approach to automation.

Supported by machine learning, process mining at scale offers whole-business observability, giving teams a real-time view of how processes are executed and how they impact business outcomes. Leveraging AI at the right moments can help fill gaps, identify alternate paths, and optimize processes accordingly. 

The best way for teams to leverage this transformative combination of technologies is to develop an automation fabric to enable faster innovation. In this blog, we’ll define automation fabric, analyze how we arrived at this stage of technological innovation, and explore how your team can build an automation fabric for their organization. 

Empower Teams to Match the Speed of Innovation

The pace of change has become relentless, and along with modern challenges like inflation and shortage of talent, many organizations are undergoing major transformations whether they like it or not. In the past, teams have encountered islands of automation where different tools and functions were used separately within the organization. The first step in building an automation fabric involves breaking down automation silos to drive continuous transformation. Unlocking innovation with process understanding is a key priority for modern executives.

Process discovery with intelligent automation is crucial for faster innovation. Executives are addressing these priorities by focusing on process understanding, visualizing data, and using AI-powered tools to make informed business decisions. Large organizations deal with vast amounts of data and numerous interconnected systems supporting their processes. It’s important to leverage process discovery to unify disparate data, increase visibility, and reduce inefficiencies.

While focusing on automation and efficiency, compliance remains a critical consideration. Over the past few years, there has been a strong emphasis on automating processes to drive efficiency gains. Embracing process excellence methodologies is essential for innovation and organizational growth. Governance, risk, and compliance are fundamental at every stage for modern executives. The automation fabric serves as a solution to connect different automation tools, breaking down silos and achieving improved business outcomes. It enhances process visibility and uncovers optimization opportunities.

Build Your Automation Framework for Maximum Coverage

To speed transformation, teams look to improve efficiency and minimize mistakes and risks. Every organization faces the challenge of utilizing its talented workforce effectively. It's crucial to free up their time to focus on important tasks that bring more value. Enhancing the customer experience, both internally and externally, is a top priority for organizations. Teams need to enable ongoing changes and rapid innovation. 

How do you prepare an organization's automation framework? Technologically speaking, the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution acts as the backbone of the business. It provides essential support across all aspects of the organization. Change management begins here, starting with understanding processes beyond the technology itself. It enables data-driven decision-making on a daily basis, offering real-time insights at the core. Integration with other systems is crucial, as these auxiliary subsystems, such as SAP or Oracle, play a vital role in the organization's infrastructure and overall success.

To ensure optimal efficiency, it is imperative that assets created in one area can be effortlessly shared and utilized throughout the organization. Hence, the chosen platform for the automation fabric must be platform agnostic, capable of accommodating a diverse range of systems such as SAP, Oracle, web applications, mainframes, and more.

A Worksoft customer quote highlights that while not all processes begin or end in SAP, most of them still involve it in some way. This emphasizes the significance of SAP as a key component in initiating organizational transformation. To facilitate this transformation, it’s crucial to establish competence in process excellence. This competence enables faster progress by providing a clear starting point and fostering a culture that embraces change. Organizations can accelerate their transformations and gain confidence in their core areas, ensuring that they are prepared and equipped to undertake transformational activities.

Drive Process Understanding with Connective Automation

Connective automation helps teams address several challenges, the first of which is gaining a clear understanding of business processes. While many organizations claim they have a clear picture of their processes, the reality is often much more complex. Capturing an accurate understanding of business processes before embarking on major transformation initiatives offers substantial cost-saving opportunities, allowing teams to be more versatile once implementation begins. 

It’s essential for teams to deliver a single pane of glass into the business, one unified view that provides visibility into specific areas and showcases the whole picture of your business process lifecycle. This comprehensive view allows teams to assess process coverage, and automation coverage, and identify opportunities for optimization and scalable automation. Whether your focus is on process understanding, utilizing tools like human capture, process mining, automation, or robotic process automation (RPA), bringing these elements together and reflecting them in a customized dashboard for specific functional areas or executives enhances decision-making and review processes.

Understanding your processes and mitigating risks during digital transformation is vital to the success of your implementation and the overall success of your business. From there, you can begin continuously optimizing these processes to more effectively adapt to change. An automation framework supports these key objectives. 

Leverage Digital Transformation and Evolve Into an Autonomous Enterprise

The concept of the fourth industrial revolution represents the convergence of various technologies such as artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, and the blending of physical and digital realms. These advancements are already making an impact on our world. Examples like ChatGPT and the new Bing AI have captivated audiences with their uncanny realism and, in some cases, even their subversive nature. The increasing presence of AI applications in public discourse has brought these transformative technologies into the public consciousness.

The convergence of these technologies is giving rise to a new breed of digital disruptors, known as the autonomous enterprise. These companies are built from the ground up with automation at their core. Their processes are designed to be self-correcting, self-learning, and driven by real-time intelligence and automation. They embody a strategic and transformative approach to automation.

This trend aligns with the shift observed during the pandemic, where companies have transitioned from a tactical approach to automation towards a more strategic one. The evolution of automation has gone through different phases. Initially, it focused on cost reduction and streamlining processes. During the pandemic, the emphasis shifted towards risk management and business continuity. However, we are now realizing that automation is much more than that. It has become a means to drive future fitness within the enterprise.

Future fitness encompasses three key aspects:

  • Adaptiveness: Automation enables organizations to quickly reconfigure core business processes in response to emerging opportunities and changes in the business environment. This adaptiveness allows companies to stay agile and responsive in a rapidly evolving market.

  • Creativity: By offloading repetitive and mundane tasks to automation, employees are freed up to focus on higher-value activities. This empowerment fosters creativity and innovation within the workforce, driving new ideas and solutions.

  • Resilience: Automation plays a crucial role in enhancing enterprise resilience. It enables organizations to manage risks proactively, anticipate disruptions, and implement adaptive measures to mitigate potential impacts.

As these technologies converge and mature, automation within the enterprise develops a distinct cadence and rhythm, aligning with the strategic goals of improving adaptiveness, enhancing creativity, and increasing resilience.

Exploring these themes and providing guidance on the organizational and value aspects of automation fabric and enterprise transformation is indeed valuable work that can help organizations navigate their automation journeys more effectively. By addressing these critical areas, businesses can develop a holistic understanding of the transformation process and maximize the benefits of automation in driving sustainable growth and success.

If you're looking to begin building an automation fabric for your organization to drive digital transformation through the implementation of holistic automation that empowers teams to do more with less, contact us to schedule a demo today.