Designing Your Automation Strategy and Digital Transformation Strategy for 2020: 11 Key Concepts

Here are the key concepts to consider when designing your automation strategy and digital transformation strategy for 2020.

Operating in real-time- not scheduled batch operations- should be the paradigm for your automation strategy and digital transformation strategy.

Operating in real-time- not scheduled batch operations.

Historically, businesses have reconciled on a calendar schedule, for example, syncing thousands of customer records at the end of the day into the central data management system or data warehouse. However, companies are increasingly moving toward real-time data syncs that keep data up-to-date in real time throughout the day as transactions occur, as best practice for a digitally transformed enterprise. This is an important shift, because companies can now automate processes to respond to business events in real-time, for example, updating financial and inventory data immediately, automating immediate follow-up for incomplete or dropped sales, and serving sales and support teams with business data insights that are accurate in the moment that they are needed.

McKinsey & Company cites the value of conducting data operations in real-time for a range of verticals, such as using real-time scheduling data in travel logistics, using real-time data to achieve better non-performing loan ratios at Alibaba than at traditional banks, and for retailers like Globus, a Swiss department store chain, to respond quickly to customer demands by updating their product offerings.

Conceptualizing RevOps as a process that derives set outcomes from data.  A good automation strategy enables the RevOps engine.

Conceptualizing RevOps as a process that derives set outcomes from data.

An organizational paradigm shift can lead to transformational change. Organizations are starting to see the efforts of marketing and sales as a unified revenue engine, increasingly referred to as RevOps. Using automated tools for lead gen, follow-up, and customer acquisition, companies can approach revenue with the same logical consistency as the supply chain, and optimize processes to perform at their peak. According to Forbes, “companies with aligned revenue engines grow 19% faster and are 15% more profitable.”

The Business Systems role repositions IT in a strategic rather than supporting role.

Business Systems role repositions IT in a strategic rather than supporting role, and drives your digital transformation strategy forward

Clearly, business data is more important than ever, and technology mediates many customer interactions with companies. For example, Gartner notes the role technology is playing for customer support: “Given the superior economics of digital, self-serve channels — and customers’ willingness to use them — service organizations should move aggressively toward a digital-first strategy.” Similar trends are emerging across lines of business. To address these shifting paradigms, a new role on the org chart, Business Systems, operates at the crux of IT and business operations. Business Systems align the goals of IT with the organization’s overarching business strategy. This is a shift from older conceptions of IT, as merely playing a supporting role for revenue-generating and client-facing operations.

Business Systems align the goals of IT with the organization’s overarching business strategy. This is a shift from older conceptions of IT, as merely playing a supporting role for revenue-generating and client-facing operations. Click To Tweet
Cloud-native integration and automation should be the paradigm for your automation strategy and digital transformation strategy.

Cloud-native integration and automation

Traditional iPaaS tools for enterprise application integration require on-premise deployment, and customers generally need to pay for provisioning servers, nodes or atoms. In a cloud era, where SaaS apps like Salesforce and Marketo power the enterprise, a cloud solution makes sense for your automation and digital transformation strategy. A cloud-native platform scales without having to provision servers, and deployment is quick and easy. Forbes analyzes LogicMonitor’s Cloud Vision 2020 Survey, a survey of 300 industry influencers, and reports that although digital transformation is a key motivator in cloud adoption, along with “Attaining IT agility (62%), excelling at DevOps (58%), mobility (55%), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (50%) and the Internet of Things (IoT) adoption (45%)”, AI and Machine Learning are likely to become increasingly central factors in cloud adoption by 2020. 

Using ChatOps in Slack or MS Teams as a hub to complete work can be a valuable part of your digital transformation strategy and automation strategy.

Using ChatOps in Slack or MS Teams as a hub to complete work

“App hopping”, or SaaS fatigue, can be a source of frustration for employees. A worker experiencing this frustration is likely switching from application to application, typing in multiple passwords, and losing productivity as they switch interfaces throughout the workday. In fact, a survey of 2000 knowledge workers reports that “Sixty-eight percent of workers toggle between apps up to 10 times an hour, and 31 percent of workers said toggling causes them to lose their train of thought.” Instead, companies can use Slack or MS Teams to create a centralized hub to complete work. Organizations can use an enterprise automation platform to serve tasks such as IT requests and approvals, approval steps in the hiring process, and more to the appropriate team members in a designated Slack channel. Streamlining workflows in a single hub app with ChatOps and reducing the number of interfaces a given employee needs to interact with on a daily basis. Creating a centralized hub to complete tasks saves time and money and makes employees happy. 

Making business technology as accessible and easy-to-use as consumer tech services is key to your digital transformation strategy.

Making business technology as accessible and easy-to-use as consumer tech services

The “consumerization of IT” refers to the way expectations for business technology are set by consumer technology. We expect consumer technology to be serverless, always on, and easy to use. You don’t have to know how to code to update your Instagram. Likewise, employees and lines of business increasingly expect ease-of-use and serverless business technology from their IT department. Enterprise automation can make processes like employee onboarding, paid time off requests, and IT asset requests easy and immediate, for a better employee experience and a more efficient business. Reducing the time it takes to provision assets and onboard new employees also increases time-to-value with new hires.  

You don’t have to know how to code to update your Instagram. Likewise, employees and lines of business increasingly expect ease-of-use and serverless business technology from their IT department. Click To Tweet

Pervasive, wall-to-wall automation is an important part of your automation strategy and digital transformation strategy.

Pervasive, wall-to-wall automation strategy

Pervasive, wall-to-wall automation moves past the paradigm of point solutions for problems or for point integrations between applications. Enterprise-scale automation envisions comprehensively automating rote business processes, to offer employees a more fulfilling work life, to create greater value for organizations, and to provide better, faster service. Pervasive, wall-to-wall automation requires orchestrating the flow of across a range of on-premise and SaaS applications, databases, and microservices, using API connectors.

Democratizing automation by creating more “do-ers” is an important part of your automation strategy.

Democratizing automation by creating more “do-ers”

Democratizing automation means implementing a system with which individuals can easily design and deploy automations. Automation has historically been a task for tech-savvy IT professionals. However, more modern enterprise automation makes it easy for individuals like app admins or business analysts to create and deploy workflow automations that are centrally governable by IT. Democratizing automation with an enterprise automation platform makes it easier to scale processes and achieve more pervasive automation across an organization, without sacrificing security and governance.

Lean scaling with automation should be central to your automation strategy.

Lean scaling with automation

Often, when faced with an onerous data bottleneck or time-consuming rote process that needs to operate on an increasingly large scale, businesses will “solve” the issue by having a large number of employees devoted to a manual fix, for example, staffing a call center to handle a large number of IT service ticket requests, or having employees manually download and update data to move from one application to another. Instead, companies can design lean operations to scale processes without devoting a large percentage of internal human resources to the problem by deploying an automated fix. For example, why not automate the call center by using natural language processing to parse incoming voicemails to the support line? Scaling with leaner processes means your team can stay focused on core objectives, like innovation and strategy.

Your digital transformation strategy and automation strategy should emphasize serving in-context business intelligence insights to lines of business from data analysis.

Emphasis on serving in-context business intelligence insights to lines of business from data analysis.

Customers in 2020 expect sales and support teams to be knowledgeable, with up-to-date information about their account and past interactions with the support team, and they expect personalized service based on their needs. Sales and support teams rely on customer data to meet these expectations. However, data visualization tools like Tableau and Looker take time to use, and exacerbate the “app-hopping” problem. Creating reports manually is even less efficient. Instead, consider automating a workflow that sends a Customer 360 directly to customer-facing sales and support teams. For example, you can set up an automation that pulls the appropriate data from your cloud database and sends it to the sales team directly in Salesforce to support their customer interactions. 

Making progress on your automation and digital transformation strategy.

Making progress on your automation and digital transformation strategy

Workato is an enterprise automation platform that you can use to transform business processes across your organization. The platform can be used to harness the power of artificial intelligence and bot workflows and to enable wall-to-wall integration and automation at an enterprise scale. To learn more about enterprise automation and what it can do for your organization, request a demo from our team. 

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