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How to Achieve Your Automation Goals with Digital Managed Services
While many organizations have identified intelligent automation (IA) as a major player in their digital transformation initiatives, it may not be going as planned. In fact, a recent study found that 30-50% of robotic process automation (RPA) projects fail globally. Why? It’s difficult to execute the massive undertaking of digital transformation involving people, processes, technology and platforms, while continuing to sustain IA initiatives like RPA projects simultaneously.
In addition to wanting the flexibility to select, stack, speed and scope automation solutions without “owning” relationships and decisions, organizations generally don’t want to “own” the risks of utilizing licenses, infrastructures and other resources. Some companies are unable to align with their global center of excellence (CoE) over the technology stack, they are under pressure to utilize licenses on the shelf that were procured without a path to ROI or they do not have the IT capacity to build their own automation journey. This is where digital managed services can help address the challenges organizations are facing in their IA journey.
Organizations, especially smaller to medium-sized companies without a CoE, that try to implement IA often encounter various challenges aside from the funding and time-to-market issues mentioned above:
Since automation is a continuous process that needs to be sustained over three to five years to impact the bottom line effectively, organizations who want to stay ahead of the competition without upskilling and up-front investments need a partner who can build and support their IA initiatives faster and more efficiently. Enter the digital managed service provider—an outside vendor who can build your end-to-end automation journey from discovery and solutioning to implementation and maintenance.
Outsourcing Intelligent Automation to a Digital Managed Service Provider
The traditional managed service offering includes services for providing infrastructures and managing applications that require daily operations. But with more companies looking to migrate their infrastructure, applications and data to the cloud, many managed service providers are taking advantage of cloud services as part of their service offering. The service can be extended to the upfront work, such as the automation pipeline creation, solution and implementation.
The ultimate goal for managed services in this digital era is to focus on the business outcome with digital transformation, compared to application maintenance in the traditional managed service offering.
With this goal in mind, it’s time to set up digital managed services for continuous automation:
- Identify a service provider for multi-year partnership: There’s much to consider when evaluating providers. Is the provider a preferred partner to technology leaders in the IA space? Are they capable of delivering comprehensive IA solutions? Does the provider have a resource pool with deep expertise in emerging technologies like machine learning, analytics and data science? Can the provider provide a hosted environment or support a public/private cloud environment? If you are in a different geography from the provider, can they support multiple time zones 24x7 and be on-site in major regions to work alongside the business?
- Select the technology stack: With the landscape evolving so quickly, it’s important to select a tech stack with the flexibility and agility to effectively function regardless of what new software vendors enter the market. Otherwise, the solution will become complex, hard to maintain and have high licensing costs. Ideally, choose one public cloud provider, one BPM tool, several RPA tools and one to two machine learning frameworks.
- Carve out an engagement model: This has multiple dimensions. First, come up with a fixed capacity model that delivers against a set of KPIs that transcends directly to the bottom line. Second, develop a support model with unified governance frameworks that will execute consistently across geographies and business units.
- Perform a pilot: Before entering into a multi-year contract with a service provider, a pilot period of three to six months should be initiated to determine if the provider can execute the model, implement tweaks and standardize the process and procedures as needed.
- Implement a multi-year strategy: This is the last step as the model enters into a “business as usual” phase. Constitute a proper governance structure to measure the model's success and ensure periodic monitoring of the outcome. Identify a champion for different business units who will shepherd this initiative and bring all operational folks onboard.
Digital managed services require a value-driven approach that solves business problems with an ROI realization. The value should be easily measurable as a typical end-to-end automation lifecycle increases productivity by 20-30% and saves costs up to 50% (in our experience). This value can only be achieved when an innovative, comprehensive solution is used that leverages the latest technology available to maximize process automation, leading to cost savings and increased efficiency. With increased market competition and the need to move to digital in accelerated time-to-market, the time is now to deliver process automation faster and in a more cost-effective way.