The attention automation has received in recent years has grown exponentially. This is good in some ways, but not so great in others, as automation tends to get over-hyped. Many in the general population believe the advancement of automation will take their jobs. This may be partially true, but not nearly at the magnitude most are thinking. In fact, most will be pleasantly surprised at the aspects of their job which automation can take on.

It’s now sufficiently understood that intelligent technologies such as robotic process automation, cognitive computing and artificial intelligence are powerful force multipliers for improving operations. But, as is often the case when the pundits get too far ahead of reality, the story isn’t necessarily playing out as everyone expected. As my Cognizant colleague Robert Brownpoints out,

“It’s not really about “the robot” at all. It’s about using the data that stems from process automation to help businesses and people make more intelligent decisions.”

And there’s no denying this statistic:

In other words, process automation isn’t resulting in the wholesale replacement of people by software robots as many predicted — and some still do. Instead, it’s enabling people to use their creative skills to interpret data, add value to business plans and collaborate more with their customers, partners and colleagues. While the concept seems straightforward,

the path to intelligent automation success often requires re-evaluating core business processes and the traditional operating models that support them.

New research from HfS, in partnership with Cognizant, illustrates that many savvy enterprise buyers from companies around the globe are responding with as-a-Service strategies using smart robots as an intelligent boost for knowledge workers. When thinking about an automation strategy for your business here are a number of factors you should be considering.

Seven questions you should be asking about Intelligent Automation

  1. To what extent are businesses using robots for knowledge processes solely for cost savings, efficiency gain or true differentiation?
  2. How can businesses tap the real prize of Robotic Process Automation: intelligent outcomes as a force-multiplier for smart people?
  3. What are the real results of efficiency (money saved) versus enhancement (analytics and meaning-making) outcomes?
  4. How should buyers calibrate their short, medium, and long-term strategies on adoption of intelligent automation?
  5. How can functional leaders (like IT, process owners, chiefs of data science) collaborate and commit to deliver, given the stakes are high and all are presented with huge opportunities — and potential risks?
  6. What is the realistic impact on future labor — will we really see mass job elimination, or a mass creation of more relevant, valuable roles for staff?
  7. What’s next in Intelligent Process Automation?

As the inevitability of automation becomes more and more evident, businesses are beginning to separate into leaders (progressives), laggards and fence sitters:

Have you started taking the steps to make sure you’re not left behind when this train leaves the station? Seize the opportunity to become a progressive automation adopter in your industry and start reaping the lasting benefits. Find out how to get started today.

Would love to hear comments from those with lessons to share!