Many organisations struggle with islands of automation that lead to broken, inefficient processes. The right tools can help – and you may already have them.
From scheduled batch scripts to more comprehensive approaches to streamlining manual processes, automation comes in many forms. But most organisations begin their automation journeys the same way: deploying an automation tool to tackle a single, discrete task.
But these siloed approaches to automation can create problems down the line. As Forrester’s principal analyst, Chris Gardner, says, “while scrappy pilots and one-off deployments can deliver quick results, there are risks in deploying these islands of automation.”
So, what exactly are these islands of automation, what problems do they create, and how can you avoid them to ensure your automation efforts deliver real impact?
How do islands of automation form in the first place?
Many business leaders treat automation as a solution to a specific problem. But when deployed in this way, automation becomes disparate and disconnected. And it becomes near impossible to get complete visibility of how tasks are automated across the business – let alone how those automated tasks are performing.
Worst case scenario, the islands eventually get forgotten, and different teams wind up deploying additional, potentially redundant automation tools that drain resources.
Small islands can create big problems
Disconnected automation doesn’t just waste budget and engineer hours. Islands of automation can lead to significant opportunity costs and crippled processes that can limit productivity – and even damage your brand reputation.
Moving and manipulating data is one of the more common use cases for automation. eCommerce retailers, for example, routinely use automation across their sales and delivery pipelines. From updating stock counts on product pages to printing shipping labels, leading retailers use a complex array of automated processes to reduce reliance on manual data entry and transfer.
There are examples of this across industries, including utilities and service providers analysing usage to produce bills, and online learning platforms onboarding students and creating digital learning environments for them.
Automation powers all kinds of business-critical operations. But if one of these automated systems fails, anything relying on that data also breaks. A single fault can quickly impact the whole system – bringing deliveries to a standstill, tarnishing brand image, and even affecting the bottom line.
The promises of automation are vast: more efficient processes, consistent delivery, and freed-up resources that can be used elsewhere. When automated processes break, you miss out on these improvements.
As customer expectations rise and as businesses must increasingly do more with less, automation is becoming vital for organisations looking to get ahead of the competition. But automation can’t deliver the benefits companies need if it isn’t working correctly.
Connect the islands and transform efficiency
The answer to this problem is to connect the automation islands across your teams and business units. But you can’t do this without full oversight of your automation estate.
Getting this oversight manually would be near impossible for many organisations. So, you need an automation platform that can collate data on previous job runs across all processes to spot anomalies, issues and broken dependencies. This may mean deploying a new solution, but many organisations may already have automation platforms that can help with this.
Whether you’re looking at existing platforms deployed across your business, or new tools to connect islands of automation, you’ll want to ensure your solution can do two things:
- Offer a top-down view of all automated processes
Islands of automation usually occur due to a lack of visibility across departments, tools and processes. The right solution can help solve this problem by showing all connected automation processes under a single pane of glass.
To get this complete automation overview, you need a solution that connects to all major platforms where you’ll be automating processes – and offers the APIs you’ll need to integrate with any bespoke systems in your business.
- Automatically detect and alert when something goes wrong
Many modern automation platforms come with intelligent analytics tools that can scan automated processes for issues and alert teams before problems occur. These alerts are invaluable in helping automation leads fix broken dependencies and ensure operations run smoothly.
Some tools can even automatically fix timing issues. For instance, if one process takes longer than expected, the right tools can automatically delay dependent processes further down the chain so they can still get the data they need to function correctly.
These analytics are vital to getting maximum value from automation, as they can help teams quickly identify and fix broken automation links. They can also flag early warning signs of processes slowing down so you can keep operations running efficiently.
Realise your automation potential with Automic
Automic is one automation platform that can offer both of these features – and much more.
Its Automation Intelligence tools can give you the insights you need to reduce the costs, risks and mean time to repair associated with complex automation workloads. And built-in integrations for SAP, Oracle, Salesforce and other common enterprise platforms help automation leads orchestrate processes across your enterprise.
Whether you already have Automic in your business or want to get started with it for the first time, we can help. Ignite Technology has extensive experience helping organisations across all industries maximise the value of Automic to connect islands of automation.
Get in touch to discuss how we can help you make the most of your automation investments to deliver more efficient, cost-effective and consistent processes.