There are two main schools of thought surrounding this question: (i) those who think ownership lies with Operations and (ii) those who think IT should be leading the charge. If you ask IT, the response will be it's them, whilst those who work in Operations often have alternative ideas.
Operations can bring an Automation solution to the business thus making ROI more achievable, aligning the program with the business’ strategies as a whole and creates a more standardised approach with other technology solutions within the space e.g. BPM, NLP and CRM.
Naturally, IT will have more technical know-how knowledge and may even be able to master the usage of the problem to provide real-time fixes and tweaks to the technology after a period of time, so the solution maybe more easily integrated into the processes themselves.
Operations ownership represents the potential to achieve sustainable, high-levels of operational excellence and makes Automation the spearhead of a variety of strategies. However, if the intelligent automation (IA) budget resides with the IT side of the business then a full and complete understanding and implementation of the associated operational requirements becomes a tricky process to manage.
According to EY in a recent Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Insight "Business process owners must feel accountable for the involvement and commitment of their people to be deployed in both the development and implementation stages of the RPA project." RPA is an emerging form of business process automation technology which is based on on the notion of software robots or artificial intelligence (AI) workers.
Business Process Management is the top technology converging with RPA. According to a recent survey 24% of businesses are planning to combine these two technologies and so this plays into the hands of Operations, as the links to the business will provide a broader overview of both the technologies and how they fit into processes.
IT, as the name might suggest, will have a more technical approach to IA technologies thus giving them the capability to inherently implement Automation. However, IT may not be as well aligned with the business’s overall strategy and goals, which could lead to a significant disconnect from any central processes associated with an Automation initiative.
In relation to RPA, PwC (HUN) in late 2017 cited "Business units should work with the CTO's office to consider the impact of this change on an organisation's IT strategy and roadmap and its impact on the changing role of IT."
In a recent IA Financial Services survey, 55% of respondees said they aimed to develop their IA solution in-house. This creates a case for IT ownership, given to develop a solution in-house, technical expertise will be required to successfully ready the business for the solution’s pilot and implementation.
While both above approaches have inherent advantages, the ideal solution is to have an Agile team, where the IT resources have the businesses goals in mind and the Operations resources are proficient and IT literate. Typically, Agile teams will be more versatile as they can respond to business related incidents, as well as achieve the required level of technological excellence previously only enjoyed by IT.
There are three benefits from this teaming approach:
Constant visibility into the project throughout the RPA lifecycle;
Flexibility to quickly adapt to changing environments; and
Use of short development cycles to deliver viable products.
This is the team of the future, with IT and Operations working side-by-side to achieve unprecedented results from both perspectives. Contact Exceed Global to discuss the transformation of your customer experience.
WHO DO YOU THINK OWNS AUTOMATION?
Director - Transformation
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