#53 Democratizing Automation….Success Factors….Employee-driven automation

Intelligent Automation

In episode #53 of The Process & Automation podcast, The Automation guys discuss what they consider the most important factors that will ensure that democratisation of automation is a success.

Listen in to discover The Automation Guys ‘Six step formula’.

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[00:00:00] Sascha: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the process and automation podcast. My name is Sasha Cutura and with me here as always is Arno Van Rooyen and together we are the automation guys. We thought  today we would talk about democratizing automation and we would look at six really important, um, success factors.

There’s generally no arguing that the nature of work has changed as a result of the pandemic. Um, so when we look back sort of the last 24 months, uh, yeah, everything has changed dramatically and many employees, um, during that time have taken the opportunity to. To sort of listen a bit more to their employees and provide them with meaningful opportunities to, to grow [00:01:00] and to learn new things and to, to add sort of maybe other things to the business.

[00:01:05] Um, other value to the business and yeah, there’s, there’s, um, there’s a shift towards, um, engaging employees with was more meaningful work, um, was, was activity. Um, where employees can be more creative, more innovative and more problem-solving. So all of those kinds of things, um, uh, sort of, uh, are, are given the employees more and more these days and, um, routine and manual tasks.

[00:01:34] We know, we know not very exciting for employees and those employees in the business have previously spent time, um, uh, on them. And, uh, yeah, it’s, it’s not really meaningful work, so, and, and now, uh, So they are looking, looking into the space of automating them really more and more rapidly. And so it was all these new, new thinking, new creativity, new [00:02:00] tools and skills there.

[00:02:01] We see businesses rapidly accelerate, um, was, was automation, initiatives and digital transformation efforts. Yeah.

[00:02:12] Arno: Yeah. Very good. Very good. Sort of introduced Sasha, um, in a, you talk a bit about, um, you know, employees doing, um, meaningful work, um, to express creativity and, and using their problem solving skills.

[00:02:28] And I think, you know, uh, The true benefits of, of, of automation and process automation, business process automation in a business, or are unleashed when, um, you know, automation, development skills are various easily accessible for everybody in a business to enhance, you know, any of the mundane aspects of their job, you know, anything that’s manual.

[00:02:53] So I think accessibility is key for that. You know, it is [00:03:00] very difficult to imagine and, and really to find real life examples of a truly sense centralized department. That’s responsible for, for catering to the needs of all the business units, while also scaling automation efforts across, uh, you know, an organization, you know, that doesn’t happen.

[00:03:19] So, so, so hence we’re seeing this sort of employee driven. Automation is really key to, to transformation within sight of business. Um, and you know, it’s not just for the organization itself, um, but also for the employees and you know, it, it it’s really critical, um, to, to, to go out and select automation, technologies or platforms.

[00:03:44] That, um, people find very user friendly, uh, to use. Um, and it’s got really rich feed features and capabilities, um, you know, to automate their work. So, you know, what we want to really look at today is. [00:04:00] Th the non sort of technology factors that are critical to the success of, uh, any business out there, that’s embarking on a employee driven automation program and, you know, hence why we want to look at the six critical success success factors for, to Microsoft democratize it automation.

[00:04:19] And you know, that that term just means make it accessible to people almost liberating. Automation, um, in a, in a sense that people can actually

[00:04:31] Sascha: yes,

[00:04:31] Arno: exactly. So the book utilization and liberation, whatever you want to call it, uh, the first step is we need an executive champion and, you know, we look at automation, uh, historically, you know, it has kind of been embedded in, in silos and, and various units across the business. So, you know, as we’ve seen technologies like robotic process automation or RPA, AI, [00:05:00] and machine learning, uh, emerge, you know, things like center of excellence, um, you know, that we brought into to, uh, ensure governance, standardization, um, and, and quality control, all of these things.

[00:05:17] Uh, you know, didn’t mean a lot, sort of five years ago, but you know, all of these kind of terms of things we sort of associate with with, um, with automation and, you know, to truly scale and democratize automation across the business. Is, it is a transformative effort that needs to be driven by a very strong executive champion and somebody that’s got vision or somebody that’s is a visionary.

[00:05:45] So absolutely number one is we need very strong executive support, um, you know, to ensure. There’s a cross-functional commitment and, and, and, and that this person, or this committee needs to really clear any [00:06:00] roadblocks along the way that, um, you know, causes the automation program to slow down. Um, so that’s in essence that this sort of first important one.

[00:06:11] Um,

[00:06:11] Sascha: yeah, that’s very, very interesting. Um, so the, the second one we want to look at is sort of, um, around the automation champions within the organization and, um, you know, has been always any change and transformation efforts, this very, very important to assemble, uh, And start was early adopters within was in the business.

[00:06:35] It’s not as important for early automation adopters to have those maybe technical skills. Uh, it is, it’s really more their willingness to learn new skills, being proactive and going out, uh, in, in the two departments in different units to, to find, um, uh, identify areas, um, for, for. But you need these four, but automation [00:07:00] and that hour, lots of different ways to find, um, Willing people in the organization, that group of people in your business, one of devices to run an automation initiative for workshops, where employees are introduced to basic automation training.

[00:07:21] So when was that kind of tool set? Um, yeah, I, I haven’t seen anyone who didn’t get really hooked on that cool stuff these days. Um, yeah. And then they immediately. To identify to take these new skills and to automate one or two aspects of the daily job that they consider menu and routine. So sort of all the stuff they ideally do not want to do themselves anymore.

[00:07:45] So this is how are we? Are we, we look at it very often. Isn’t it? Tried to find lots of things. They don’t, didn’t really not really keen on doing it themselves. So the task they really hate and if a bot can do it, that’s great. Or if [00:08:00] automation, but that’s great. So then, um, yeah. Um, and then we ask employees, uh, which, um, uh, tasks should be automated, um, and, uh, And there are lots of you who, who are, who should actually be part of the automation team later on.

[00:08:17] And there are lots of very enthusiastic people who are coming, coming forward. Um, and they’re really pushing that story and become a champion for further automation initiatives in the business, sort of they’re sort of part of your team then isn’t it?

[00:08:32] Arno: Yeah. And, and really I’ve seen this firsthand in the last sort of week where, uh, we had a customer, um, you know, This person was an executive sponsor of robotic process automation in an organization.

[00:08:48] Um, she emailed me, she said that she’s had previous with, with robotic process automation before, how can we get started? And there was a sense of intense. In an [00:09:00] email I received. Um, so I basically, um, we’re very excited about that because I, we already got the executive champion tick box taped and B um, she, or she already identified automation champions inside the business, um, and got them involved as well.

[00:09:21] Um, to start that. Automation journey and booking of ideation workshops kind of going around the business and that’s already, um, you know, shows very, very good intent, bringing those people in so early on in the process to get things started. So. If it’s that way, you’ve kind of got the momentum of the executive sort of sponsorship.

[00:09:46] You’ve got this sort of buy-in from the automation champions, like you say, these are the people that, um, sort of, uh, go around the business and participate in automation workshops. So, [00:10:00] you know, very, very, very key to the success again for. You know, democratizing, uh, um, automation with inside the business.

[00:10:08] But of course, you know, once we, we land, uh, automation program with inside of a business, or once we sort of, um, seek to land it within sight of businesses start scaling it. We’ve talked a lot about this session on previous podcasts. Um, it’s all about the change management aspect as well. And, you know, um, we, we, we need to create a very kind of.

[00:10:33] Um, you know, needs to be very clear communication, um, you know, support and commitment and buy-in from employees. Um, you know, when, when we bring automation with insight of business, um, people are still a bit anxious when we talk about robotic process automation, the fact that perhaps the robots will take their jobs.

[00:10:55] Um, but you know, we’ve seen that hasn’t been the case. So, [00:11:00] um, yeah, I think. You know, we, we, we need to think about change management. And I think that, you know, what many of these, I guess employee driven automation efforts, um, missus is is, is the need for, uh, uh, kind of like a, a carefully created and constructed, constructed, um, change management strategy that, that, that minimize, you know, this, this resistance to change, um, to, you know, to automation initiatives.

[00:11:30] Sascha: How people don’t generally they do not like change. They like to keep things as they are. Um, so this is why as well was the automation champions we had earlier, as long when you get everyone else. So yourself thinking about what would is painful or doing your daily job, so that, I guess it’s so much easier to get that change in.

[00:11:51] Um, so, and of course, um, uh, was all, was all the excitement, um, getting, getting, uh, solutions, uh, developed [00:12:00] by, uh, by those automation, enthusiastic, um, uh, and we don’t want them to run off and everyone doing their, their own thing. Um, a bit uncoordinated. Um, yeah, this is why very important point is the governance.

[00:12:14] Uh, Those initiatives, we don’t want to sort of, um, sort of hinder innovation, that kind of stuff we are. Of course, we very keen when we work with business to really get this going. But, but that governance is essential for putting the right boundaries around sort of security compliance. And of course we have to assess the risk, um, when we develop, um, uh, automations, um, Basically get, get those developed by, by sort of employees.

[00:12:42] So they should be aware of those things. Security very often. I know it from, from myself that that was a topic which was never saw so much fun, but then it was a big problem later on before going live. So yeah, some aspects of those governance, um, It can be already [00:13:00] provided by, by just choosing the right automation platform.

[00:13:03] So lots of that stuff comes or Rory with it. So, um, uh, yeah, that allows sort of for, for, for title controls in general. So, um, say if you have a strong platform looking after those kinds of things, um, that won’t be sort of too many. So we had consequences further down the line and of course was the, was the governance who is doing that in general.

[00:13:25] Um, yeah. Um, you will have. Excellent very often in place. Um, and that center of excellence plays a very critical role in making sure automations are compliant and they are not risky. And also this center for excellence is of course they, they evaluate on, on sort of effectiveness. Of automations and ideas, but, um, yeah, so governance is a very strong part of those, um, uh, center of excellence.

[00:13:53] Um, yeah, there, of course, as I mentioned earlier, we don’t want to hinder too much of that innovation excitement. So there has to be that [00:14:00] balance, um, in terms of enabling the business, um, and the business users to design, um, citizen led automations. So, um, automations was in their own departments. Um, but still.

[00:14:13] Uh, yeah, let’s still have that risk and compliance in mind. I think that’s, this is what, what sort of, I guess the most difficult part might be. Um, but when, when this is sort of nicely worked out. Nicely rolling, uh, was in the company and as the huge, huge opportunity now.

[00:14:32] Arno: Yeah. And I guess it’s a sort of once or framework that once we establish it, you just have to constantly kind of tweak and review it and, and, um, you know, keep that governance, um, safeguarded.

[00:14:47] Um, so it’s, uh, initial, I guess, initial. The piece of work you do. And from there on is just kind of like a element of management to, to, to, you know, to keep, keep it in place and make [00:15:00] sure it’s, it’s up to date. The next one is training and enablement. And, um, you know, we know that technologies and, and all of the tools available today, um, you know, certainly enable business user with, without any technology background to, to quickly learn.

[00:15:19] Um, you know, and, and to be able to sort of build these automation, um, that that’s simplified a lot of the manual work they do within spite, you know, these business processes. That day that they participate in. Um, but you know, the key here is that organizations also need to carefully, um, craft training and enablement plans that ensures employees are aware of, you know, what’s the art of the possible with inside automation and can utilize the automation.

[00:15:53] Platform that that’s been adopted by the organization. So I think that that’s, that’s quite an [00:16:00] important thing just to ensure that, that, you know, enablement and upskilling in that sort of training programs exists for, for your staff that don’t want to build out that automation. Um, and again, you know, you’ve talked about the, the center of excellence here when, when you talked about the governance piece, but I think, you know, the, the center of excellence.

[00:16:20] Again, can provide a helping hand here, um, and guide employees, you know, while, while they get up to speed with their own automation, you know, expertise and obviously center of excellence will, will provide, you know, those, those, those kind of frameworks to help employees get started with, with the automation initiatives and how to build that these, these automations that make to day-to-day life easy.

[00:16:47] Um, so again, You know, incorporating and encouraging automation related training and skills, um, you know, within [00:17:00] sight, you know, the learning process can, can also help, uh, organization retain and, and obviously attract new talent as well.

[00:17:10] Sascha: Um, you know, actually when we talk about, um, uh, innovation, ideas, creativity, and now letting those ideas come, you come from, from, from within the business from different departments, um, uh, it requires sort of incentives and awards.

[00:17:25] So it’s a very, very much, um, uh, I think w was the normal idea management was in companies. That’s, that’s very much sort of the case. Not every company is doing those kinds of things, but yeah, definitely. Um, automation, ideas, initiatives, push, pull, put, put a few automation, uh, concepts, uh, or, um, projects. Um, Uh, in place.

[00:17:49] I think those things need to be rewarded and a, and a well-designed the water and incentive strategy can, can really motivate and encourage the right behaviors was [00:18:00] in, was in the company. Um, uh, those, those enthusiasts, I guess they, they, they go with it anyway because they, they think just working with these new technologies and making their life easier.

[00:18:11] It’s already incentive enough, but, um, But I think a is a good driver there. It’s important to listen very, very closely what, what the team, uh, uh, really want and values. And, uh, and then of course, uh, foster that. That through encouragement and further initiatives within the business. Um, it could be lots of businesses using bonuses and maybe travel those kinds of things, employee of the month kind of stuff.

[00:18:41] Um, so for, for really good automation ideas and for 40 achievements later on. So not every necessarily every project ideas sort of excellent. So maybe it, it sort of failed, but, um, uh, but yeah, there’s, there’s some really good successes when everyone should be, should be aware of those. And then it’s [00:19:00] very important.

[00:19:00] Um, uh, early on in, in the company, incentives and awards are very important. And when you, when you start off sort of a developer, um, uh, pro citizen developer program, um, So when it’s really needing more early adopters, um, to, to push those things, um, and automation ideas further. Um, so your, your initial, uh, citizen developers have really proved the value on the benefits of doing more automation and to learn, um, those skills needed and to actually.

[00:19:34] Take part in the training. Um, yeah. So th that’s that’s one, one element, um, to get everyone excited. Um, I guess it just requires a little portion sometimes. Uh that’s that’s enough. Yeah.

[00:19:47] Arno: Brilliant. So that, that was really good. Thank you. So I guess just to summarize. You know, if, if you are spinning up a, a citizen development program, you know, the kind of [00:20:00] key success factors is again, when it talked about nominating or getting executive, um, sort of buy-in bringing in automation champions.

[00:20:11] These are the people that’s really passionate about automation, and that can really spread it throughout the business. Um, talked a bit about change management, just control that. Automation as a positive thing, managed the way that, that, that your, your business, um, you know, change and operational change, you know, have a good strategy in place, bring into governance.

[00:20:33] So if we do enable people to be creative and do stuff in automation, that it is still involved, we still have the guard rails, you know, enable and train people. To unlock and unleash their creativity and then reward him for that. So I think it’s a kind of a very simple, um, six step formula. It really works.

[00:20:57] And I think, you know, the more, the more you kind of [00:21:00] look at this, the structure, the more you will enable people to, to really, you know, like I said earlier, unleash that creativity and, and, and use these really, really good technology platforms. Low-code platforms to, you know, to build out these automations and, and, and really take advantage of, you know, all of, all of that.

[00:21:20] Um, the time-saving and cost-saving, it, it can provide to people. Yeah, thank

[00:21:25] Sascha: you very much. Yeah. And as always, I’m on, I have very happy to help. And if you have any questions on those topics, feel free to just reach out, um, uh, or via social, um, or, you know, visit our website, the automation guys.net and, uh, yeah.

[00:21:43] Uh, that’s, that’s, that’s it for this episode of the process and automation podcast and yeah, we will be very, very back very soon and it was another episode. And until then let’s automate.[00:22:00]

[00:22:07] unfortunately, that’s it again with this episode of the process and automation podcast. If you liked this episode, please give us a five star rating and don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast. So you don’t miss any upcoming episode. We hope you won’t tune in next time. And until. Let’s automate.

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