This article (Enterprise-Wide Automation: Understanding the challenges, possibilities, and future) was first published on Customer Think
Is there a way to quantify digital transformation? For enterprises, it is an easy yes. More the number of redundant, repetitive processes they can automate to achieve business gains, more is the extent of digital transformation.
The pertinent question however is – What are the challenges that hold back organizations from realizing enterprise-wide process management and workflow automation?
1. The leadership may not have enough gumption for automating legacy applications building an agile workforce that can work its way through evolving technologies, operations, and business requirements.
2. Organizations may not have the right set of technologies and tools to build a suite of automation solutions, in an agile, responsive, and time-efficient manner. To bring more inclusivity and achieve enterprise-wide automation at a rapid pace, the non-technical workforce from different domains should be able to leverage the said technologies. For example, by using no-code platforms, non-developers can build bespoke applications without writing a single line of code and lessen their dependence on IT resources. This way they won’t require to maintain custom codes, which can be costly and time-consuming.
3. Organizations may not have a skilled pool of citizen developers (non-programmers) and have the entire onus of workflow automation on their in-house or outsourced technical teams. It can overwhelm project teams with a huge IT backlog and derail innovative initiatives. Contrary to the assumption, employees from marketing, sales, or HR departments can be creative with technology. For example, they can leverage user-friendly no-code platforms like Quixy to build basic to complex applications for mission-critical priorities. Managers can prepare a training path for non-programmers, to help them understand the scope and nitty-gritty of citizen development. This way each individual can feel equally empowered and contribute towards rapid innovation.
4. Organizations may not have defined the scope of automation and may plan to automate anything and everything and create an operational mess. There are different kinds of automation solutions, each having its set of pros and cons. For example, some of them can be easily implemented but are very basic in nature (you can automate but cannot customize workflows). Some of them do offer customization options but they are not easy to implement (long deployment windows, high testing and support costs, etc).
The above-mentioned pointers can be seen as checkpoints before investing heavily in automation tools.
Going paperless is the essence of automation and can significantly alleviate the process pains. With no-code platforms, the entire organization can collaboratively move towards a paperless environment, as teams from different domains can build intelligent automation solutions for their mission-critical priorities. They don’t need to rely entirely on low-code or hand-coded applications, or in other words, they don’t need to rely entirely on technical personnel.
One of the best examples of a no-code automation solution is Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), which can turn unstructured and semi-structured information into usable data. It is a next-generation solution that uses natural language processing to categorize, extract, and validate relevant information from a variety of unstructured sources (PDF documents, emails, images, etc). Organizations can use IDP to:
and much more.
There are other cutting-edge no-code solutions that can hyperautomate help desk support, CRM, travel & expense management, loan management, organizational training management, to name a few.
No-code is a philosophy. It’s an approach. Before giving a green flag to a wide-scale automation drive, organizations need to build consensus among the technical and non-technical teams, regarding the advantages of no-code platforms. They need to articulate what is feasible and what is not feasible with no-code technology so that the scope of automation is defined realistically.
As autonomy is the essence of no-code development, business teams should be given the confidence to build custom applications from scratch without any dependence on IT resources. Once this positive attitude spreads across the organization, project managers can flag off no-code automation not just for repetitive, clerical procedures but complex workflows as well.
That being said, citizen developers don’t always build applications that scale well, and when one of those applications crashes, it’s usually too late to involve IT teams by then. Similarly, when one of the citizen developers leaves the company all of a sudden, a proper handover process is not there to keep things moving seamlessly.
Therefore, it’s best to use a hybrid model where citizen developers build 90% of the application and hand it over to programmers for fine-tuning. In this scenario, department managers can work as the bridge between citizen developers and IT organizations, to create a transparent working environment for the project. If anything goes south, then they will need to take full accountability. A Center of Excellence can be created, where citizen developers, system engineers, and IT leaders can collaborate, learn from one another, and quickly offset technical or managerial glitches.
As organizations worldwide are transitioning to a hybrid workforce model, it’s getting more and more obvious to push non-technical employees towards citizen development and not overwhelm remote-based IT teams with everyday troubleshooting. The idea is to democratize and pace up innovation – letting business analysts, product designers, and marketers build their respective applications, without writing a single line of code. This continuous effort to nurture code-agnostic development teams is one of the biggest trends, and it is gaining a lot of popularity with the success of no-code platforms like Quixy.
The future of coding is no coding at all, and in the same way, the future of automation is no-code automation. Organizations are aiming to achieve end-to-end automation while rallying for a hybrid workforce model (reduced availability of IT resources for everyday tasks). No-code platforms like Quixy are evolving and offering a great opportunity for business and IT leaders to fulfill their major strategic objectives – with enterprise-wide automation being the most significant.