9 in every 10 businesses in America today use at least one automation tool to improve a process. Business leaders today appreciate the value that automation is capable of driving. However, achieving hyper-automation requires the deployment of dozens of bots to work together to improve efficiency throughout the businesses. Most businesses struggle with hyper-automation. In fact, only 3% of businesses are able to scale beyond 50 bots for their processes. Getting over this hurdle will often require work with a strategic automation partner.
An automation partner is an organization that offers both consultancy and the technical skills of building and deploying robots. Instead of deploying a trial-and-error approach to automation, they can help you build a framework for hyper-automation. They can help you strike a balance between the available resources available and the prime processes for automation.
An automation partner continues to offer consultancy services well after the initial launch of the bots. Picking the right automation partner is critical for the success of any automation project. When looking for a company to help deliver automation solutions, here are x things to have in your checklist.
1. Understanding of Your Processes
An automation partner must demonstrate clear understanding of your company’s internal processes. They should have worked with companies in your industry, and that experience ought to help them ask the right questions. In fact, they might sometimes advise that some processed be tweaked for greater efficiency. By taking time to understand the processes, they will be in a better position to build an automation roadmap with clear milestones. As highlighted, it’s important that the partner is not only capable of offering consultancy advice, but they should also have a technical arm to build any proposed solutions.
2. Delivery Capability
It’s incumbent upon you that you verify the ability of a potential automation partner to deliver what is expected of them. The evidence will be in their experience. For instance, how many automation projects have they delivered in the past year? What was the scale of such projects? It’s quite helpful when the company has documented such projects and availed them as case studies when pitching new projects. Documentation helps to answer questions on matters such as governance in large-scale projects.
The size of their technical team also matters because the sheer volume of complex work involved may overwhelm a small team, leading to delays in delivery. However, teams cannot always be judged by their size. The level of skills and the training provided by the employer matter just as much.
Not all automation projects are excellent. Without internal technical expertise, you may not assess this when picking an automation partner. It may be advisable to engage the services of a consultant to make the right choice.
Great automation projects should not leave the organization with technical debt. Such projects should be well thought-out, from the design to the implementation and integration with other processes. Documentation is equally important so that it is always clear when the organization has reached in its roadmap toward hyper-automation. The right partner will demonstrate that commitment to excellence.
4. Regulatory Understanding
Automation solutions need to be implemented within the regulatory constraints within which the organization is expected to operate. This especially has to do with information security. The automation partner should demonstrate an understanding of such laws and have a framework for ensuring regulatory compliance in all their projects.
5. Culture Fit
An automation partner is entrusted with helping to draw a roadmap made up of projects that might take more than a year to deliver. The success of such a partnership is dependent on a fit between the working methods of both companies. For instance, you may need to find out the company’s decision-making process. Is it a one-man show? Is the project’s success based on the technical skills and leadership of one person? What will happen to the project if they exit the company?
Other pointers to culture fit include the preferred method of communication. They should show a willingness to follow the agreed-upon methods and stick to the agreed-upon frequency of providing updates on progress.
The automation partner you pick will not necessarily be the one who offers the cheapest price. There needs to be a clear value for the consideration paid to them. Good service providers will often give itemize their total bill to make it clear what the client is getting in return. In fact, if the company is a great fit based on the other items on the checklist, the value is already clear.
It’s also important to calculate the total cost of ownership of the proposed automation solutions by a partner. This will often be a decision of the management of the company. The return on the investment needs to be higher than the cost of the capital invested.
Preparing for Automation Projects
While your automation can help to draw a roadmap and build automation solutions for your company, there is still a lot that depends on the internal leadership. Here are some of those things.
First, the leadership needs to develop and communicate a vision on why it’s undertaking the automation project. This can be contained in a strategic blueprint. The company should produce content and organize events to rally everyone to support the project. In addition, the leadership must deploy change management tactics to ease the company towards a new age.
Implementation can also not be left solely to the automation partner. The company must have an internal team charged with understanding the solutions being deployed. This is the key to eventually having citizen developers who can implement solutions that have been built internally. It’s incumbent upon the management to also ensure that the internal IT architecture is the best to support the hyper-automation project.
Find the Right Partner
Scaling automation is a common challenge for businesses owing to the complexity of such projects. Picking the right partner is a crucial first step towards true automation and gaining a tangible ROI from automation. A great partner must be a great fit in their understanding of your internal processes, and commitment to quality, compliance, culture, and pricing. The organization’s leadership still has a lot to do to ensure the organization is ready. This includes championing automation and handling resistance to change.
If your company is seeking an automation partner, reach out to Transcendent Software. We are a world-class IT services company that has delivered well-designed automation solutions to multiple businesses. Schedule a call with our team here.