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Automation: The Future of Work

Michael Rahm, Director, Product Marketing
December 21, 2020

Whether or not you know it, your organization is at a tipping point. On one side, siloed and inefficient business processes represent the status quo, and on the other, your organization needs to leave this status quo back where it belongs--in 2020--and rethink and reshape your business.

Digital transformation is the Emerald City we've been marching towards for years, but the yellow brick road has been far more perilous than expected. In an IDC Digital Executive Sentiment Survey*, only 26% of organizations said they were getting ROI from their investments, and only 18% have progressed in their ability to change quickly-- certainly not the result organizations hoped to see.

Developing new customer journeys and digital experiences is important. However, you should also examine the processes used to run your business. Furthermore, you must make an equal investment in reshaping and automating these processes end to end. A strategic approach to automation will help you make the move from the status quo into the future-- eliminating process silos, freeing employees from the mundane, reimagining applications and interactions, and transforming your business to deliver the very best.

The right capabilities for the right jobs

Many organizations start their automation projects with robotic process automation (RPA). RPA seems like a logical place to begin, with the promise of cheap bots for handling repetitive tasks quickly, but it's important not to be lulled into a false sense of automation security. Automation is so much more than bots and RPA tools alone, and relying on a single capability is a recipe for long-term failure.

Recently in The Future of Work in the Age of Cloud and Low-Code Automation, IDC Vice President of AI and Intelligent Process Automation Neil Ward Dutton wrote that:

"When it comes to use of specific automation tools and platforms, high-level investment intentions do not translate simply into stratospheric growth for one kind of technology. RPA can drive significant improvements in very specific activities, but a strategic approach to automation demands a broader toolkit."

IDC refers to this toolkit as an Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) platform. It combines RPA, AI, workflow and business process management, and data and application integrations with low-code development, then delivers these capabilities in a best-of-breed cloud environment like Amazon Web Services. The result: organizations are able to integrate and automate any business process end-to-end.

According to Neil, IPA platforms can help orchestrate work between people, bots, and AI in four important ways:

    • Coordinating the work of people and bots

    • Providing end-to-end visibility of processes and customer journeys

    • Enabling more ways for AI to add value to customers and processes

    • Handling operational failures in automated tasks

Automation capabilities, along with a strong governance model, collaboration between IT and business, and global availability through cloud deployments, will help your organization develop meaningful automation solutions and drive digital transformation.

Automation is your organization's future

Appian makes it fast and easy to build applications and automate any end-to-end business process--to increase productivity, reduce costs, and deliver exceptional customer experiences. With low-code automation capabilities that include workflow, RPA, AI, decision rules, intelligent document processing, and case management, organizations can go beyond RPA to accelerate efficiencies and drive digital transformation through automation. Appian makes it possible to bring teams back to work safely, reimagine processes, automate workflows, and build new customer experiences.

With the right automation capabilities, your organization will be able to leave the status quo (and 2020) behind and move confidently into the future.

To learn more about how automation and IPA platforms can help reach your digital transformation goals, read IDC's The Future of Work in the Age of Cloud and Low-Code Automation.


*IDC Digital Executive Sentiment Survey, 2019