As organizations continue to embrace digital workflow transformation (DWT), automation becomes increasingly important. In fact, full-scale end-to-end automation has become a matter of survival in the wake of the pandemic. More and more customers demand frictionless experiences today, and businesses who don’t provide them may not be able to survive.
This means organizations need an integrated intelligent automation platform that’s capable of automating manual, information-intensive workflows at scale. The solution should be flexible and agile, so companies can adapt quickly to ever-changing market conditions, and it has to be cost-effective.
A recent survey of 900 global technology decision-makers and professionals supports a prioritized approach to business workflow automation. Specifically, organizations should focus on workflows that require document intelligence, process orchestration and connected systems, the survey found. Enterprises taking such an approach to intelligent automation are already seeing benefits including an improved customer experience, reduced costs and increased revenue.
Three characteristics of high-value workflows
In the last two years, spending on automation has nearly doubled, increasing from 6.7% of IT budgets to 11.2%, according to the survey. That number’s expected to rise even further, hitting 15.7% by the end of 2021. As spending increases, organizations are implementing automation in all areas of their business, from back office operations to customer-facing interactions.
However, a strained and uncertain economy creates challenges. Despite the increase in spending, companies need to maximize the value and ROI of their automation implementations. Many, 99% of decision makers, believe a single-vendor approach is the simplest and most cost-effective strategy for implementing automation. Interestingly, the survey data also uncovered three characteristics—the DNA, if you will—of the business workflows that deliver the best value and ROI.
- Document intelligence: Decision-makers in the survey ranked robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI) and digital process automation as critical automation use cases. All three require an intelligent automation platform with robust document intelligence capabilities. The combination of cognitive capture, machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP) and workflow orchestration empower organizations to classify documents, extract information and make actionable, insightful decisions with data.
- Process orchestration: When asked which automation capabilities their organization needed the most, survey respondents highlighted the ability to mitigate automation disruptions due to changes in underlying technology (35%), digital workforce management analytics (28%) and the ability to orchestrate multiple vendor solutions in a centralized manner (20%). An intelligent automation platform with tightly integrated process orchestration capabilities enables organizations to scale as needed and flexibly manage digital workforce capacity. The move from paper-based transactions to scalable digital workflows creates more time for employees to focus on strategic work, while improving compliance and security.
- Connected systems: More than half (54%) of decision-makers prefer approaches that pre-integrate automation capabilities natively on an end-to-end platform compared to one that uses services or APIs for loose integration. A connected-systems approach provides an integrated platform that allows organizations to scale automation and securely leverage data from all documents and systems. While most companies prefer a single-vendor approach to intelligent automation, sometimes they need additional technology to unite disparate systems, data and applications. Their solution lies in a platform that supports an ecosystem strategy, providing access to a network of services, prebuilt connectors, templates and solutions with an open and integrated architecture.
Three high-value DNA workflows to get you started
With all that said, we can dive into specific examples of workflows where the biggest gains in automation can be found.
- Customer engagement workflows: More than 60% of organizations have already automated the customer experience, and more than half have automated customer relationship and retention workflows. However, 65% report that customer acquisition workflows are still predominantly manual. Organizations should focus automation efforts on improving customer experience with an emphasis on acquisition. Customer onboarding, mobile ID/verification, customer management and online/self-service are examples of where companies can leverage intelligent automation in their customer engagement workflows.
- Financial and accounting workflows: While many companies seek to automate financial and accounting workflows early in their DWT journey, 48% of decision-makers say their organization still has manual or partially automated processes in place. Automating workflows such as accounts payable, invoice processing, procure-to-pay and regulatory reporting deliver the fast ROI and high-value return companies need.
- Operations workflows: When it comes to automating operational workflows, most organizations have a lot of work to do. Prime areas to focus on are Human Resources, compliance, manufacturing and product/services delivery. HR in particular stands out as an automation opportunity, with 80% of decision-makers reporting the department’s HR workflows are still partially automated or manual.
When organizations prioritize the right workflows for automation, the results are tangible. Half of the companies surveyed saw improvements in customer experience, and 46% realized cost savings. More than 40% benefitted from increased revenues while 44% reported savings from improved efficiency. In addition, with the right intelligent automation platform in place, employees can play a more active role in driving automation and solving business problems. Citizen developers with little to no coding experience can contribute to innovation, helping scale automation and drive transformation throughout the enterprise.
It’s not enough to adopt automation. Organizations must prioritize it. Workflows that benefit from document intelligence, process orchestration and connected systems yield the fastest time to value and ROI. Scalable, end-to-end automation with a platform that provides a portfolio of capabilities minimizes cost and complexity while maximizing results.
To learn more about how an intelligent automation platform can fast-track your organization’s digital workflow transformation success, consult the full report from The Kofax 2021 Intelligent Automation Benchmark Study and start working like tomorrow, today.