How to Automate Every Business Process


Many organizations base their digital process automation (DPA) strategies on one of two approaches: they either dig deep and concentrate on a few complex and business-critical processes, or they cast the net wide and provide business users with tools to automate a broad range of processes with minimal IT support. But how can organizations explore the two paths simultaneously to achieve both depth and scale?

A webinar recently hosted by K2 – How to Go Deep, Scale Wide and Digitally Transform – provided a platform for speakers Rob Koplowitz (VP and Principal Analyst, Forrester Research), Adriaan Van Wyk (CEO, K2) and Wouter Faber (Senior Director in Technology, Avanade) to answer this important question.

Koplowitz began by touching on the results of Forrester’s Q2 2016 Digital Business Automation Survey, noting that we are “on the precipice of a very disruptive path to digital transformation.”

Respondents were asked about the primary focus of their process improvement efforts – two years ago, today, and two years into the future. The findings indicate that while cost reduction was the primary driver of process improvement for 30% of respondents two years ago, only 13% are motivated by cost reduction today and this will drop to 7% in two years’ time.

Digital transformation, on the other hand, is coming to the fore as a major goal behind process improvement efforts. A couple of years ago, digital transformation was the primary focus area for only 12% of respondents. Today, this is true for 26% of respondents and in two years, digital transformation with be top priority for 50%.

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It seems as if the reason for implementing business process management or automation applications is changing.

“Businesses are re-engineering processes to create a better customer experience,” explained Koplowitz.

When asked which business processes they were recalibrating to better support digital technologies, most respondents cited customer facing and support activities as their focus area. The more traditional internal processes are becoming less important as businesses shift their focus towards digital transformation.

Koplowitz explained that this reinforces the concept of going both deep and wide; with new tools and capabilities now prompting organizations to think about all the manual processes that can be automated and all the workflows that can be improved or better connected through DPA. As a result, there is a move from highly controlled IT applications towards business-driven applications that are more focused on serving customers.

“IT is now in the business of providing guard rails and ensuring that apps respect privacy and compliance. But IT is no longer in charge. It must let the businesses run on their own. We’re also increasingly focusing on customer outcomes and not the dollars saved. This is all driving digital transformation,” Koplowitz added.

To unpack the discussion in more detail, understand the shifts in mindset that are required and explore the tools that are making both depth and scale possible for companies like global energy leader, Shell, check out our webinar recap, “A Disruptive Path to Digital Transformation.”