We were deep into writing our book The Automation Advantage when the pandemic arrived. That hit the fast-forward button on technology transformation. Years of planned transformation were compressed into weeks and months as technology became a lifeline to employees, customers, families and friends.   

Automation was a critical part of that accelerated transformation. In research by Accenture earlier this year, executives told us that automation is the most important technology for their mission-critical transformations of business processes.  

Introducing The Automation Advantage  

In our many conversations with senior business leaders about enterprise technology, one question stands out: How can we realize the massive benefits automation can bring by moving from experimentation to enterprise-wide implementation?  

We knew the answer to that question and wanted to share that knowledge. So, we took our 75+ years of combined experience in helping organizations do this successfully and put those learnings into a practical guide. Our book, The Automation Advantage, shows how to move ahead confidently with automation—from developing a human-centric strategy to using automation and AI to create business value and drive new growth.  

Our objective was clear. Go beyond the “what” and share the “how” to drive an automation journey through change of technology, process and most importantly, people. 

The intelligent automation evolution

Many people continue to believe that intelligent automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are the same thing. But it’s important to differentiate between them. They’re far from synonymous.  

An intelligent automation solution doesn’t always need the power of natural language processing or machine learning. While many AI applications have nothing to do with automating tasks in a production environment.  

The two intersect when AI’s power is utilized to take in historical data, find patterns in it, and make predictions based upon it. Increasingly, that’s what companies have been doing.  

Organizations are making greater use of data analysis, decision-making and learnings from the consequences of every decision to harness machines to perform tasks previously reserved for humans. This is what we’re calling intelligent automation.  

Keep the focus on people 

The prior emphasis on cost-cutting through automation has switched to a new focus. The goals now? To improve customer experience, create new business value, fuel innovation and support strategic decision-making. And efforts in every industry are rightly focused on reimagining and rebuilding responsibly and sustainably. 

All these benefits are made possible through intelligent automation. But however powerful these technologies are, there’s one message organizations must take to heart. 

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No initiative should start solely with the technology. The focus throughout must be on what technology enables. And above all, that’s about empowering people.  

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We believe passionately that there’s a huge opportunity for automation to be viewed in a new light. It’s not a technology that competes with people for jobs. Rather, it’s an indispensable co-worker with a vital role to play in our success from now on.  By taking care of the routine tasks they used to handle, automation technology frees people up to be creative.  

Starting the intelligent automation journey  

Through our work with leading companies, we know that scaling intelligent automation is one of the biggest challenges for organizations. In every client engagement, we’ve amassed more and more insights into how to choose the right automation approach and implement it successfully. 

So what do those insights tell us? Here are a few pointers: 

  • Right from the outset, be clear about the strategic intent behind this initiative. Make sure it’s embedded into the organization’s entire modernization journey from cloud adoption to data-led transformation. 
  • Today’s investments in automation innovation must be “people first”: designed to elevate human strengths and supported by investments in skills, change management, experience, organization and culture. 
  • Watch out for myths that can create unnecessary barriers. Some common ones? My employees aren’t ready for automation. Automation solutions are mainly technology projects. And you can grow revenues just as quickly by being a fast-follower rather than a tech pioneer. None of these are true. 

Adopting intelligent automation is a complex undertaking. But the rewards are well worth it. Your people will be free to do more high-value work. Your customers will be delighted by new experiences. And your business will set the standard for others to follow.  

In our book, we explore all the facets of a successful intelligent automation implementation – from strategy to sustainable transformation and measurable business benefits. 

Find out more at www.accenture.com/automationadvantage 

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The Automation Advantage

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Bhaskar Ghosh

Chief Strategy Officer

Rajendra Prasad (RP)

Lead – Global Automation and Intelligent Assets, Accenture Technology

Gayathri Pallail

Managing Director – Automation Strategy and Deployment, Accenture Technology

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