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Advice from Three Years Ago, Still Good Today

Advice published by McKinsey in March 2017 on Intelligent Process Automation still holds true today. Find out how BP3 can transform your processes.

It isn't often you can get advice from three years ago - about technology - that is still just as good now as it was then. But in March of 2017, McKinsey published a report: "Intelligent process automation: the engine at the core of the next-generation operating model" - the main recommendation is in the title. Intelligent Automation is the engine of your next-generation operating model.

The authors lay out the 5 technologies you need to leverage, and how to apply them, under the pithy heading of "taking the robot out of the human":

  1. RPA (Robotic Process Automation) - bots that emulate human work for very narrowly defined tasks.

  2. Smart Workflow - I think simpler just to think of this as a process engine or process suite.

  3. Machine Learning / Advanced Analytics (I'd consider these two different things).

  4. Natural Language Generation - so far, we've seen more need for NLP (processing) than NLG (generating).

  5. Cognitive Agents - this is defined in too nebulous a way in the article, but in BP3's conception of this, it means having AI techniques drive decision-making that can be automated, where possible.

Taking a step back, when we talk about solving the same problems as addressed by the list of five above, at BP3 we simplify this to 3 things ( we are all about a faster way to do that, after all):

  1. Robotics (RPA)

  2. Process Automation (workflow, process engine)

  3. AI (artificial intelligence includes many techniques to maximize value)

The combination of these 3 (five!) technologies and techniques is very powerful for business today. The report goes on to provide statements of value using these approaches, starting with RPA as the opening play:

One large financial institution used an RPA transformation at scale to automate 60 to 70 percent of tasks in record-to-report processes and create annual run-rate efficiencies of 30 percent or more. Using the same methodology, another institution achieved an 80 percent reduction in processing costs in excess queue procedures. Yet another financial institution in the FT500 used robotics to unlock a 175 million annual reduction in costs and save over 120 FTEs.

Their advice to unlock that value?

  1. Align on Intelligent Automation's role in the operating model.? Our point of view: do this quickly. You're already trailing the report by 3 years, don't let alignment take another 3 years.

  2. Design around the full portfolio of technologies to maximize impact (I've often referred to this as the combination play in talks on the subject).? From our point of view: leverage design sprints and our design team to really put a finer point on this.

  3. Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). - don't boil the ocean - solve a real problem and provide.

  4. Build momentum and capture value - you can't let the momentum slow after your first success.

  5. Change management? - this is a piece that many companies can overlook, but good change management can help prevent organizational antibodies from kicking in and stopping progress.

If you've embarked on this journey and need some help, our team is well-equipped to help. Everything we do is to help you find a faster way to get to your business outcome through robotics, processes, and AI. Right now we're helping companies you've heard of or worked with with their Intelligent Automation journey. If you haven't started yet, you couldn't find a better partner in that journey than our team. We'll help you get started with quick ROI around Robotics, and then we'll help you elevate your game with process context and apply machine learning and other AI techniques to increase business value, agility, and resilience.

This stuff is so fundamental to how we will all do business going forward, that none of us can afford to wait to start applying it to our business today.

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