The shift in automation ownership to business users brings a variety of opportunities, and challenges to a CSP. In this blog, we’ll explore exactly who is using automaton, as well as the culture, governance and systematic selection process needed when implementing automation.
Who is using Automation?
In a CSP, the business users who leverage Automation play a significant role in the adoption and implementation of Automation solutions. Leading analysts have surveyed just over 11,000 people and their data shows that 90% of Automation initiatives are now owned by the business users and business technologists, rather than by IT.
This can have wide reaching implications, including democratisation of ownership of different parts of an end-to-end process, increase in governance and control and implications for training and support.
Some examples of these different business users include Network Operations, Service Provisioning, Customer Support, Billing and Revenue Management, Service Assurance, IT Operations, Security and Compliance and HR.
It is important that CSPs embrace business user-led automated processes. These processes often represent significant intellectual property (IP) within the business. Additionally, the reason that processes have been automated (to varying degrees) is driven by a desire for efficiency and productivity. Both elements represent significant value-added opportunities for CSPs. CSPs that can harness this Automation creativity, can drive improvements in areas such as ARPU.
These business users encompass various roles and functions within the organisation, increasing the number of people, processes, and tools (e.g., SaaS products) involved in Automation across the business. This can bring several challenges when implementing Automation.
What are the challenges when introducing Automation to a business?
Number of people
The number of people, with different job functions, job outlooks, and approaches to executing processes can make introducing Automation challenging. When working with businesses to identify feasible Use Cases for Automation, it becomes essential to involve the people directly engaged in those activities. By interviewing and engaging with these individuals, their innovative and clever ways of working can be harnessed to drive automation solutions. This also addresses some of the key blockers to automation; stakeholder buy-in and cultural resistance.
As automation take on more and more responsibilities, so the roles and responsibilities of people will change. Some people will find that all their work is being done by machines, and their role has disappeared; they may need to be found other, more interesting and higher valued roles in the organisation, or be managed out. Other people may find that they are doing different work, and their job description, their remuneration, their line manager or even their location may need amending to reflect this. There may even be a need to establish new departments with responsibilities for governance and control of automation.
Organisational politics and culture can make implementing Automation a challenge. The business must own the automation initiatives with IT being key stakeholders and enablers. It is crucial to get all business users on board with the Automation initiative, reducing resistance and moving the project forward and extracting the best practices to ensure they feel part of the innovation. It’s important to show benefits of Automation quickly, as well as harnessing the expertise and involvement of business users.
Lack of Governance
Teams are selecting and implementing Automation tools independently, without any form of enterprise governance and process. This may assist velocity in the early “pathfinder project” phases but as Automation projects become more successful and expand, the introduction of governance becomes crucial. Governance encompasses not only the leading edge of requirements but also involves ensuring adherence to standards, proper administration of tools, and seamless integration of Automation initiatives within the business. This is critical as business users and processes increase, mitigating risk.
Designing an effective Automation Culture
With more people at all levels within a CSP looking to automate, the case for a structured approach to Automation has never been stronger. Fostering a culture that sees Automation as a positive tool to be used within the organisation is a critical aspect of any CSPs’ Automation agenda. In a world that required greater levels of efficiency, sustainability, and profitability, innovation of business operations and processes is necessary to sustain a competitive advantage.
CSPs need to think strategically about their principles and practices regarding Automation. Individuals working on their projects tend to focus on tactical needs. At the strategic level, many more factors need to be considered to address the risks and opportunities. This is where Automation governance starts to play a significant role.
With so many projects that a CSP could undertake, how can they systematically review and prioritise Automation projects? With that in mind, we shall now review how CSPs can build a robust and repeatable process for choosing a “Use Case”.
The shift towards business users taking the lead in automation initiatives presents various challenges in a CSP, including role management and addressing organisational culture and governance. As this landscape continues to evolve, fostering a robust Automation culture and adopting a strategic approach to project selection become imperative for CSPs.
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