5 Things CIOs Can Do to Make Automation More Accessible

In the present-day workplace, enterprises are turning to enterprise automation technology in order to digitize business processes, which served as a kind of catalyst for the Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to speed up digital development. Over the past two years, IT executives have made tremendous progress—from rapidly enabling remote capabilities to more quickly adopting new digital technologies. And this trend is expected to continue, as PwC predicts that 60 percent of CIOs will identify digital transformation as one of the most significant drivers of expansion today. 

The ability to use technology to enable new business models for the new normal helped prove that IT is a key strategic value driver for businesses rather than an operational function. According to a recent Morgan Stanley report, strong IT investment and demand for digital development and operational efficiency will continue in 2022. However, with all of this increased attention on IT, this increase in spending and growth has come at the expense of adding more work to the IT staff. 

IT teams have been put under increased pressure to keep up with the demand and stay ahead of evolving technology. The burden has become too heavy for them, so CIOs have to extend automation across their organization in order to speed up the process. 

Because of the popularity of low-code/no-code automation technologies, more non-technical personnel can ease IT’s burden and help enhance business results. But simply putting low-code systems into action isn’t enough to make a substantial difference. Employee-driven automation is essential to major change both for the organization and its employees. 

Here is a 5-step tried-and-true technique for CIOs to make automation available to everyone in their organization, and for them to use it as an automated program that is consistent with the company’s technological and organizational goals. 

Determine Personas 

The first step toward making automation more accessible is to figure out who will be involved in the program. Some of the important personas might include: 

Automation Centers of Excellence (CoE) are in charge of automating the entire self-service process, including the RPA workforce planning/reskilling, project delivery, development standards & practices, and adhering to audit compliance requirements. 

IT specialists that work alongside the CoE and provide security controls and standards, control account provisioning, contribute to architectural design, ensure alignment with enterprise architecture, maintain infrastructure management, and offer data governance assistance. 

Citizen developers are those who develop automation for themselves, but some of them can also create automation that will help their team or department (expert users). 

RPA developers are responsible for creating and testing complex/enterprise automation that will be distributed throughout the organization. 

Automation users are users of CoE’s Automation and citizen developers’ automation. They may also suggest their automation ideas to the CoE. 

Establishing Governance Rules 

Automation is changing not only business processes but also the workplace and workforce. And as RPA, AI, and ML technologies become more common in day-to-day operations, CoEs should be established to guarantee governance, standardization, and quality control. 

For context, an automation CoE is a company-wide internal team that consolidates and improves automation productivity, provides structure, and assists the organization in scale automation throughout its operations. Having a team of automation experts on board can save time and money, allowing non-technical staff members and the company to get the most out of the automation program. In conjunction with the IT team, the CoE enables both program and technical governance. Several advantages to forming an automation CoE are: 

  • Automation implementation is likely to deliver the greatest value and result when it is specifically designed to meet your organization’s needs. This means you need a team of experts who know how each piece fits into the whole to make sure automation is being used effectively. 
  • An automation CoE is critical for the success of RPA adoption and evangelism. By providing a central location for knowledge sharing, solutions to common issues, and assistance, it builds trust in technology and provides a foundation for non-technical personnel to use automation. 

Execution Steps 

Automation is the key to unlocking creativity and engaging employees. But most workers don’t know how automation can help them, which means organizations need a carefully crafted training plan that ensures all staff members are aware of their abilities in using this new technology platform for productivity gains. 

One approach to improve people’s digital and technological capabilities is to provide educational and training programs, such as online courses that are scalable and simple to put into practice. These initiatives may raise awareness of new technologies, enhance skills and competencies, and create entryways into new career paths. Employers can not only alleviate employee workloads by providing employees with tools and training to automate their day-to-day activities, but they may also retain and recruit new talent by making it possible for them to become “do-it-yourself” automatons. 

After the training and enabling plan is completed, a top-down consumption-based, and bottom-up approach can be used to run the campaign. 

Top-down approach: The CoE centrally designs, prioritizes, develops, and distributes automation. As a result, staff may use and profit from automation in their day-to-day operations. 

Bottom-up approach: Citizen developers are in charge of creating automation themselves and submitting them for validation. They submit the automation to CoE, which will distribute among other staff. 

Setup Technologies 

The next steps are to configure the right technologies and tools for each persona. Based on their technical acumen, an organization might consider different types of automation development environments depending on tools for citizen developers and RPA developers. 

Drive Adoption 

If an employee has little technical knowledge and expertise, introducing cutting-edge technology to their workflow might be frightening. Creating top-down program support is therefore essential, which includes formal program creation with defined goals/KPIs, gamification, and recognition to ensure success. Then allowing bottom-up innovation and promoting continuing education helps to maximize adoption at scale. Employees should be able to suggest automation ideas, establish internal communities, and assist employees in implementing their ideas (for example, through hackathons). To encourage others in the peer group, CIOs should identify and recruit automation champions, or early adopters. By utilizing their desire to learn new skills and proactivity in identifying areas of opportunity – leadership can motivate other employees through automation champions. 

According to recent research, 60% of employees who have heard of RPA have never used bots to complete tasks, yet 86% want to use automation. The first step in identifying automation is to give workers basic automation training. CIOs and other leaders should keep an eye out for employees that inquire about it, are interested in the future, and display a strategic bent. Automation champions are an excellent tool for integrating employees throughout the organization in a scalable, strategic manner while also getting automation into every department. 

It is clear that there are many steps that need to be taken in order to successfully execute an automation strategy. Organizations should begin by providing educational and training programs for their employees so that everyone is aware of the possibilities that automation can offer. They should then configure the right technologies and tools for each persona, based on their technical acumen. Once these initial steps have been taken, leaders should focus on driving the adoption of automation throughout the organization. This can be done by identifying and recruiting champions within the employee population who will help motivate others to use automation to improve their productivity. By following these simple steps, organizations can ensure the successful implementation of an automated workforce. 

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