Zen and the Art of Intelligent Automation

“What if we’re not thinking big enough?” That’s a question for anyone wondering why automation isn’t having a more profound effect on their business.

The secret, we’ve discovered, is that it’s not about size. The issue is often that automation is treated as a discrete project – like rolling out a new piece of software or a new product. Intelligent Automation is a little more profound: it’s a way of expressing the connections between people around the business – from suppliers, through employees, to customers – in new, digital, scalable ways. It demands a form of self-enlightenment.

A big question is how broadly you define your problem. Some organisations will identify ‘cost reduction’ as a key aim, for example – they can see inefficiencies sucking value out of processes. Intelligent Automation can focus on that. But we’ve had conversations with dozens of clients that start with issues connected to cost that quickly reveal adjacent challenges related to risk and compliance, or reporting hassles, or resource allocation.

So, we might address data ingestion issues, analyse then automate a process… ‘and what do we do next, to maximise the value?’ asks the client. The answer is joined-up ‘programme’ thinking; it’s a natural extension of that search for value. The challenge is the perception that an organisation can simply plug in some bots and value will magically appear.

“The many in one, the one in many”

This is the Zen of Intelligent Automation. Like a brain, the more synapses we connect and the more seamlessly they interact with ‘the body corporate’, the better both the individual processes and the whole entity works.

Put another way, if you’re not interested in insights or progression, it’s fine to leave all the work to humans. If you’re looking for rigid doctrines to guide you, Robotic Process Automation might be enough. But to think bigger and achieve greater enlightenment, Intelligent Automation is the open-minded ‘way of many paths’ to a holistic understanding of the organisation.

Zen Intelligent Automation
Rigorous self-restraint Should never over-reach; IA projects should work together to reach a higher goal.
Meditation practice Machine learning; rigorous testing.
Insight into the nature of mind & things Finding the essence of any process and it’s underlying rules; how processes interconnect.
Expression of insight in daily life for the benefit of others Designing solutions that put digital and human workers in harmony.
De-emphasize knowledge and doctrine in favour of direct understanding. Applying sets of rules about a single process is not enough. IA is about understanding a broader mission and delivering better decisions in support of it.

Read more here: Zen and the Art of Intelligent Automation

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