Decision Automation: Key Success Factors

Ajit Shah
Ajit Shah, Managing Director- APAC, Middle East and Africa, ACTICO

The World Economic Forum estimates that Digital Transformation could enable value creation of almost $100 trillion across industries and society by 2025. All the potential notwithstanding, it is rated as one of the biggest risks for businesses. A McKinsey study pegged the success rate of digital transformation projects at less than 30%. In 2018, the company reported that a mere 16% of projects delivered the planned performance improvements.

Traditionally, transformation initiatives had been led by IT departments and resulting in long development cycles, high costs and inflexible solutions that fail to measure up to dynamic business requirements. The focus of these transformation programs have primarily been on digital channels and back-office transformation with limited focus on reimagining the business models. Driving business from an internal and external perspective involves dynamic changes in operational business decisions across many areas and a robust decision automation framework becomes the key to success of the transformation.

To execute a successful decision automation project, a few pointers need to be thought through:

  • An overarching, enterprise-wide strategy

Automation yields the best results when designed as an enterprise-wide platform strategy that orchestrates multiple business-critical functions, applications, processes and workloads. Implementation could be on a use case basis but with a clear strategy of enterprise-wide digital decisioning framework. Unfortunately today, most deployments are still, as per KPMG, uncoordinated and unintegrated.

  • Integrated platform-based approach: Combination of human and data knowledge

 Both expert knowledge and data insights are critical to arrive at optimum decisions. However, the conventional approach of using AI/machine learning in standalone systems is still rampant within organizations. An integrated platform-based approach that combines expert knowledge and data knowledge to optimize decision-making is the best bet for favorable outcomes.

  • Keep it simple – low code or no code!

 New-age digital automation platforms provide a comprehensive set of tools and resources that even enable citizen developers to design, deploy and manage a range of applications, from simple workflows to complex cross-functional applications such as risk management and compliance in financial institutions.

A low-code or no-code interface combined with graphic design capabilities allow business users without any prior exposure to coding to create intelligent applications using a simple drag-and-drop framework. This approach allows business users to take full control of their processes.

  • Skilled resources

There is an alarming shortage of skilled resources required to design, build, deploy and manage automation programs especially, more complex deployments involving ML and AI. Unless this skill gap is addressed, no amount of vision, strategy, and perseverance will make up for that critical resource.

To summarize and conclude, organizations can increase the likelihood of success of Decision Automation projects by enabling business users to take the front seat in such projects with the IT team playing a strategic role of ensuring a holistic enterprise-wide, ‘integrated’ platform-based approach with incremental execution. In addition, the strategy should be supported by a business user-friendly low-code graphical platform and a tailor-made training & development plan, focused on digital skills to ensure empowering and skilling of all within the organisation.

Views expressed in this issue are the personal opinion by Ajit Shah, Managing Director- APAC, Middle East and Africa, ACTICO.

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