How to Become an Automation Achiever

Four steps to preparing your business for success.

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When we talk about automation, we’re talking about software that helps with business challenges. This can range from improving customer loyalty to streamlining operations or improving efficiency. And, in my experience, I’ve found that these are things every business wants to improve.

Why is automation important?

Aside from the business needs I mentioned above, the COVID-19 pandemic has really underscored how important automation is.

In the past year, a lot of things have changed; for me, it boils down to three key takeaways:

  1. Digital engagement is critical: We’ve seen that online companies are booming while brick and mortar businesses are struggling. People are even ordering their groceries online. Customers are now three times more likely to interact with brands digitally, and they’re choosing digital interactions about 80% of the time [1]. From an automation view, this leads us to ask, “How can I make sure my customers have a great digital experience?”
  2. Work has changed: Many people are still working from home full-time, and more than 60% of companies are saying that they’re never going back to the way things were run before COVID [2]. With automation, we’d ask, “How can I help my employees thrive in this new way of working?”
  3. Technology matters: Looking back, we can see that companies that invested in technology before the pandemic came out ahead. In fact, tech-savvy organizations outperformed their peers by an average of 6 percentage points [3]. With automation, we’d ask, “How can new technology help me solve my biggest challenges?”

What does it mean to be an automation achiever?

An automation achiever thinks ahead, thinks strategically, and works ahead.

A great example is ENN Group, an energy company in China. ENN had already started digitizing and automating their operations before the lockdown. When thousands of their employees shifted to working from home, their IT team was overwhelmed with requests. In response, ENN was able to roll out a new virtual assistant that used artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligent automation to interpret and respond to requests — helping thousands of employees within a single day.

However, most companies aren’t as far along as ENN Group. In a recent survey, IBM found that just 26% of companies rank as “achievers” — and the 26% is expected to consistently outshine the other 74% over the next three years [4].

But we should be honest here — the automation struggle is real for many people. We’ve found that 73% of organizations are 12-24 months away from implementing digital operations [5]. And 70% say they don’t have the mechanisms to scale [6].

However, it may be easier to automate than you think. Below, you’ll find my suggestions for turning your business into an automation achiever.

What does it take to be an achiever?

First, you need to seek out insights. What are your customers looking for? What’s driving your sales? Customer needs are always changing, but if you’re tuned into insights, you’ll be able to create applications that meet your customer’s needs as they evolve.

Second, you need to leverage data. Insights come from data, and in today’s world, data is readily available. So, use it. Write algorithms against your data and curate your data lake to make information easily accessible.

Third, you need to digitize your systems. These systems produce data, and from the data, you get insights. Start by pinpointing inefficiencies and prioritizing the areas of greatest need.

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Interested to leverage AI-powered automation for reducing the amount of time spent on manual processes by 80%¹ and decrease customer wait times by half²? Read about IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation here.


¹ IBM Client Story: Banco Popular 
² IBM Solution Brief: Brownells, Inc. 

How you can be an automation achiever

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