4 Takeaways from Fireside Chat on Data-Driven Automation

Last week, Skan hosted a fireside chat on “Finding the Right Automation Opportunities with Data-driven Insights”. The conversation was led by Skan’s CEO Avinash Misra and featured senior automation and innovation leaders from across the industry:

  • Kush Pathak, AVP at The Standard
  • Pat Marotta, VP of Client Experience Strategy and American National Insurance
  • Nandan Mullakara, CEO at Innomatiq

The discussion touched upon the state of the automation market, and several trends about how automation tools and technologies are being adopted within enterprises.

You can watch the full video below or read on to see our top 4 takeaways from this insightful discussion.

Watch the Full Video

Below are Skan's top four insights from the "Finding the Right Automation Opportunities with Data-Driven Insights" fireside chat

Automation is real: The best evidence? The ecosystem of supporting technology growing around it

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has burst onto the tech scene over the past few years. According to Gartner, worldwide RPA revenues have grown from $518M in 2017 to nearly $2B in 2021, and some of the biggest names in tech such as Microsoft and Salesforce have entered the market. Despite this rapidly growing market, there remains no shortage of questions about whether automation is more hype than substance. But make no mistake: automation is real and solving real problems for real customers. Perhaps the best evidence of this is the rapidly growing ecosystem of supporting tools to design, discover, implement, and manage automation.

Don’t treat automation as a ‘hammer looking for nails’: It is critical to understand your process before starting to automate it

Some innovation leaders approach automation with a “Just start automating!” mindset. However, automating without first understanding the details of a process can minimize ROI or even result in a negative return. Processes that have a large number of rules and exceptions can be particularly challenging. Automating manual steps in exception-heavy processes can often result in reaching the process bottleneck faster, without actually improving the overall process efficiency.

Before automating, it is first important to analyze and understand the process in detail and invest time and effort to identify how to streamline legacy rules and steps.

As the saying goes: automating a bad process will just make bad things happen faster.

Start with business objectives when deciding what to automate

Automation is often associated with optimizing process efficiency. However, modern technology leaders are looking beyond efficiency as a metric for automation, and looking towards more holistic business objectives, such as speed of service or churn reduction, when deciding what to automate.

Even if these metrics can’t translate into exact improvements to top or bottom line, if you can improve a critical part of the customer experience without COSTING money, it is a win.

Remember the holistic, end-to-end process journey

It is not uncommon to think of automation in terms of front-end (customer facing) or back-end (internal operational) tasks. However, it is becoming increasingly important to focus on automation in terms of the full, end-to-end process journey, across both the back-end and front-end simultaneously. For example, automating the front-end of a process (such as the new customer submission process) but not the back-end (such as internal processing and approvals) can cause bottlenecks and seek to cause customer frustration without actually improving the end-to-end process.

Jen Faria LinkedIn
“One of the things you don’t ever want to do is to automate a bad process. You are just going to make bad things happen faster, and that is not what anyone wants.”
Jen Faria
Digital Enablement and Automation Services Lead, AVP FM Global
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