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Manage Disruption Through Process Automation

Focus is the key to success for all strategic initiatives and programs. The challenge becomes overcoming day-to-day priorities and challenges that seem to continually interrupt focus and dilute energy. If you can define a process, and incorporate tools that allow you to reduce distractions from interruptions -- like Robotic Process Automation-- you can eliminate some disruption. Process automation capabilities have broad acceptance and usage cases support mundane tasks as in operation and customer-facing activities. A robust Dynamic Risk Sense and Respond program offers the same utilization and can be extremely important in the leadership suite to help maintain focus.

The weight falls on Senior leadership who has the responsibility for the development and execution of business strategy.

While strategy is the single most valued role of leadership, two things are continuously fighting to distract from this responsibility:

Most significant is disruption in the business or the market. 2020 provided several major disruptions with challenges driven by events from the impact of COVID-19, to environmental disruptions such as fires and now hurricane season.

Distractions to the day to day operation that in many cases are driven by aftershocks from major disruptions. Distractions can be just as impactful to the development and execution of strategies.

Times of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity VUCA- require focus and determination to sense and respond to disruption in a manner that enhances strategy rather than disrupting the business. The goal of senior leadership (during these times) must focus on limiting distractions to remain focused on the strategy rather than day-to-day operation and continuous reaction to distractions. The challenge becomes how to define and understand the distractions so that a response can be implemented quickly. If utilized, RPA can identify and understand the issue so it can be addressed with a predetermined response.

Overwhelmed by waves of day-to-day challenges can be a drain on focus that quickly slows the strategy and effects long-term success and survival. While many challenges drive positive change, RPA provides a means to identify events that may impact strategy and warrant analysis.

RPA allows the monitoring of day-to-day interruptions using process and analytics to create an early warning system that defines potential challenges and priorities—freeing leadership to maintain a greater focus on the higher value objectives of your Dynamic Risk Sense and Respond program. Additional benefits to a robust RPA plan include:

  • Utilization of a robust RPA program shows senior leadership commitment and support to a program that adds value at all levels

  • Provides the senior leadership team the opportunity to understand, first hand, the potential of RPA

  • Encourages senior leadership team to evangelize RPA initiatives providing personal experience as examples

  • Expansion of business dashboards that support alerts and views based on current events and defined alert levels

  • Promotes ability to focus on value add objectives and strategy

Gaining Focus may be one of the most significant benefits of RPA from a business and market perspective. I am beginning to think that one of the best and most efficient ways to demonstrate value is to increase the focus on automating repetitive tasks and activities performed by senior leadership. We see hundreds of examples and discussions on the benefit of automating repetitive processes and tasks from an operational and customer support perspective and I suggest adding senior leadership tasks and activities to this list.

It seems to me that in order for the process automation trends --especially RPA trends to really push to the tipping point -- requires a commitment at all levels to the capabilities and the benefits of the RPA capabilities. What better way to display understanding and commitment than to incorporate and expand RPA into the executive suite? This is an important capability that could truly change the focus to allow and encourage a more forward view.

As with all initiatives we must start with the 'what' before we determine the 'how'.

A process automation initiative must start with a clear strategy that defines the first most critical deliverables. Then, validate the success of the deliverables and confirm / refine the process automation strategy for the next steps. The key to the executive suite adoption is to define the business critical success factors and meaningful alerts that will support the business management at the senior executive level.

It is important to follow a process with the executive suite in order to demonstrate the value and the inherent importance of the process automation movement. From another perspective you need to demonstrate a level of executive-suite commitment to the organization. It seems to me that in order for process automation trends --especially RPA trends-- to really push over the tipping point requires a commitment at all levels to the capabilities and the benefits of the RPA capabilities.

What better way to display understanding and commitment than to incorporate and expand RPA into the executive suite?

Tom Brouillette


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Tom Brouillette discusses supply chain trends and provides strategic business & technology advice to his followers and companies.

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