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Intelligent Automation: Organizational Buy-in and Talent Management

Introduction

Intelligent Automation tools can impact back-office processes that are often within scope of Shared Services, and every other process of the enterprise, including centralized or decentralized front-office work processes.  With tools often differing based on the use, how (or should) companies coordinate Intelligent Automation initiatives in different parts of the company?

In addition, the topic of talent when it comes to the larger Artificial Intelligence spectrum – Robotic Process Automation as well as Intelligent Process Automation, Machine Learning, Virtual Agents, etc., was addressed as part of this research.

Company Experience

Recently a Peeriosity member company with over $8 billion USD in revenue was featured on a Peeriosity PeercastTM where they shared their experiences with Intelligent Automation.  Their journey in this area started in 2017, when they quickly achieved scale by targeting business unit operational areas and also by being opportunistic in both functional and Shared Services areas.  Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and machine learning analytics were both heavily utilized, with some work being done with natural language processing and cognitive computing technology.

One aspect of the Intelligent Automation initiative receiving particular attention was gaining the necessary levels of sponsorship to ensure the projects long-term viability.  The first step was to engage the executive team and that was accomplished by creating demo stations where they could see the technology work, sending out bi-weekly news articles about the project, and having several executives participate on an Intelligent Automation Council.  The team also reached out directly to the businesses and provided Intelligent Automation training and videos and high-touch support.  Finally, they worked closely with IT, particularly the IT Innovation Team Leader.

Some of the insights they gained from this effort include:

  • Sponsorship    
    • Get C-Suite support early and often
    • Secure centralized “seed money” funding, if possible
    • Identify Champions within the Business Units and IT
  • Governance
    • Practice active listening and proactive communication
    • Be flexible and know what is non-negotiable
    • Maintain an enterprise mindset
  • Talent Management
    • Inventory what Automation & AI skillsets you have / need
    • Advocate for buy / borrow / build talent, as appropriate
    • Invest in proper change management; retrain, reskill, retain

Additional details, including a listing of relevant Intelligent Automation skillsets and roles, can be found on the Peeriosity member website, along with the PeercastTM recording and original presentation material.

iPollingTM Results Review

In a recent Peeriosity poll developed using the iPollingTM technology, Peeriosity member companies had the opportunity to share what they are doing in the area of identifying, sourcing, and retaining Intelligent Automation talent.  The first of two poll questions looked at what has been the main source of talent for Intelligent Automation at their company up to this point in time. 

Looking at the results, the majority (55%) of companies utilize internal resources and provide whatever additional training is necessary to familiarize themselves with the Intelligent Automation technology.  Another 21% use a combination of all the sources listed in the poll, while the remaining 24% have not yet done any hiring in the Intelligent Automation space.

The second poll question then addressed what companies have found to be the best retention tool for Intelligent Automation staff.  Of the tools listed, providing the team members with important and challenging assignments where they can make a real difference was the most popular response, with 41% answering in that manner.  Another 7% indicated that the compensation offered was most important, followed by overall company culture at 7%, and other at 4%.  The remaining companies (41%) did not have any experience with retaining Intelligent Automation team members up to this point in time.

Some of the comments made by Peeriosity member companies include the following:

Retail Industry Member: We are still in the early stages of “product-ionizing” our first process with RPA.

Consumer Products & Services Member: Intelligent Automation is very difficult to source in developed markets. We are actively working to establish a captive offshore Intelligent Automation development team in India where there is significantly more available talent. We would then focus high cost onshore talent on business partnership and process design while pushing configuration and coding offshore.

Financial Services Member: We have not hired developers/consultants ourselves. Most of our projects are given to an outsourced service provider who does the automation as a fixed bid. They bring in all the required participants, including BA, PM and RPA developers.

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member: Identifying your high-potential talent that are already on your team that possesses the aptitude to become your RPA talent will go a very long way in retaining that talent.

Consumer Products & Services Member: We are providing training, both overview and detailed, and establishing communities of practice. Some individuals gravitate toward this type of work and do very well; others need an understanding of what can be achieved and the possibilities the automation offers. We share, via short videos, success stories and learnings that generate excitement and show that ‘someone like me’ can embrace intelligent automation to deliver improved business results.

Manufacturing Member: This was a close call – I answered “Company Culture”, but “Challenging Assignments” is also highly important.

Government: RPA is not quite in production yet. BOT configuration is under way.

Closing Summary

Regardless of where Intelligent Automation starts at a company, because of its broad application it needs to be properly sponsored and governed at a level that will allow it to prosper across the company.  As our feature company recently shared, investing significant time and effort to accomplish this will pay great dividends in the long term.

What is the status at your company as it relates to Intelligent Automation sponsorship and governance?  Is your current approach meeting the needs of the proper establishment of this important technology?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?

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“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion.  Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content.  Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member.  Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees. 

“iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility to all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPollingTM.

Peeriosity members are invited to log into www.peeriosity.com to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.



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