The pandemic has challenged global businesses in unprecedented ways and set the stage for a “New Normal.” To cope and succeed moving forward, organizations have had to accelerate their digital transformation strategies and set a new focus on driving end-to-end automation.
We sat down (virtually) with Rob Koplowitz from Forrester and an expert panel of customers to ask about their digital transformation journeys and how intelligent automation is shaping the future of business as they respond to today’s challenges and plan for tomorrow.
What’s changed? According to Rob, organizations have been on an automation journey for a long time. Results from the recent 2020 Kofax Intelligent Automation Benchmark Survey conducted by Forrester Consulting show that for most organizations automation is already in place in different places across the business (Fig. 2).
To accomplish this, many organizations (45% of survey respondents) approached automation in an ad-hoc way. Unfortunately, this approach has created silos of automation that are now holding them back.
Why? According to survey respondents, a piecemeal approach to automation causes high technical debt (46%), forcing organizations to find the costly resources to integrate systems, and delays successful outcomes (35%) due to problems caused by integration issues. Even before the pandemic hit organizations were beginning to look at a more integrated approach—this was clear as 99% of study respondents believe there is considerable value in working with a single automation vendor and automation platform.
COVID has forced many organizations to look at how automation can help them be more agile and scale to digitally serve customers with largely remote workforces.
During our expert panel discussion, Penny Pangagiotakos, Director of Product-Document Management and Digitization Services at Symcor, explained “companies that have already deployed digital transformation strategies effectively are finding that they are just as effective or more effective” in this post-COVID world. Symcor is using technology such as AI, Machine Learning, RPA and Kofax TotalAgility™ to help drive straight-through enablement for customers without a capital investment. She says in the short term their integrated solution approach is allowing them to onboard customers quickly during the pandemic and in the long-term it’s allowing them to improve processes to eventually drive straight-through processing.
Recommendations for the Future of Business
Rob explains that we’re entering a “world where digitally transformed companies are going to have a massive competitive advantage” and offered four recommendations to plan for success:
- Document intelligence is essential for digital business: The ongoing development and scaling of digital transformation initiatives have been key factors in driving the importance of converting unstructured data to structured data asset. More so, digital transformation initiatives have taken intelligent document processing to the front office. 58% of respondents to the Forrester study mentioned that automation is being applied to “digitize information.” Virtually all companies can realize immediate return on investment by applying intelligent automation to content-centric processes, such as loan applications, employee onboarding, patient admissions, sales order processing, customer correspondence and contract management.
- Automate today, scale tomorrow: An integrated approach better supports the needs of the enterprise today, while providing the foundation to quickly scale automation to other areas of the business. Another expert panel member, Kahtah Aizouki, Assistant Vice President Digital Business Automation Services/Data and Analytics for Sun Life, explained how the solutions they put in place for their digital mailroom have been expanded to other legal and HR functions because the system is built for scalability.
- Get out of the integration business to lower technical debt: A best of breed, point solution strategy often leads to high technical debt and a delay in automation outcomes. Supporting and integrating multiple technologies ends up hurting an organization’s forward-looking agility. And, Rob points out that agility means the difference between being able to serve customers, citizens and patients during times of crisis.
- Success at scale requires digital workforce management: As organizations progress through their automation journey, the ability to manage, govern, scale, and optimize becomes critical. An integrated platform with process orchestration and system connectivity can provide a layer of governance across an increasingly diverse group of digital and human resources performing work.
Not every piece of technology needs to come from the same vendor, but a deeply integrated platform helps organizations move to new use cases quickly. And in this “New Normal” we find ourselves in, it is proving costly to take an alternative approach.