So, You’ve Begun Your Automation Journey. What Now?


Tech Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for IT pros

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Until now, business operating models have always been based on getting the most from a human workforce. Today, in the wake of a global pandemic that has accelerated an existing trend for digital transformation, the reality is changing.

Article 5 Minutes
So, You’ve Begun Your Automation Journey. What Now?

As more businesses transfer their logical, repetitive, and rules-based tasks to digital workers, the need to create a more evolved operating model has arisen. Now organizations must adapt to a hybrid workforce, adjusting their operating models to guarantee success for this new way of working while ensuring a fruitful relationship between human employees and the automation tools that assist them.

The benefits of intelligent automation have been well explored elsewhere on this site, so we won’t go through them here. However, it can seem like a complex and difficult process to start. In order to get the most out of your new hybrid workforce, there are seven foundational principles to keep in mind when implementing digital workers.


Create a vision for your digital workforce based on organizational strategy and goals that support long-term intelligent automation success. This is the guiding light that’ll enable you to navigate your automation journey with productive focus.


Defining the organizational design that best supports delivery of your robotic process automation (RPA) capability and aligns with your corporate strategy and culture.

3.Governance and pipeline

Assess and select processes to build a sustainable automation pipeline and implement governance for a controlled and secured digital workforce. This is particularly important as organizations begin to operate from different regions, as regulations and requirements differ.

4.Delivery methodology

Define the optimal delivery approach and embed policies for rapid and efficient automation in a structured, controlled and repeatable manner. When deciding which processes to automate, and how to do so, it’s important to define the opportunity assessment approach and pipeline triage procedure to optimize the number of processes selected for automation and maximize the associated business benefit.

In addition, identify a scalable, low-maintenance technical environment, as well as security policies and access models to allow for a controlled environment in which your digital workforce can operate.

5.Service model

Support operational processes while defining the management, reporting, scheduling and referral handling processes for business as usual.


Build teams with the appropriate roles and skills to help build and run a successful digital workforce. It’s important to also bring employees along on the journey, so they can understand what automation can bring to their roles and how it’ll help them realize the value of their uniquely human skills.


Define a highly scalable technical architecture and the associated growth strategies to generate maximum business benefit. This will ensure operational flexibility and instill a responsive and robust infrastructure from which to build.

These foundational strategy elements will help to ensure a sustainable and productive hybrid workforce. There are some misguided conceptions of automation and the impact it’ll have on the current workforce. While the rise of RPA will instigate an evolution in the way we work, it isn’t about automating every aspect of work, but about identifying areas to optimize and delivering maximum value to your workforce and end user.

Upskilling your people with your digital workers

As adoption grows at breakneck speed and companies hurtle toward the future of work, thoughts frequently become fixated on the operational and technological benefits, such as reduced costs, improved customer service and productivity boosts, overshadowing an equally essential element to automation — the people.

Indeed, an organization’s success with automation fundamentally relies on the ability to balance the needs of their human workforce with the operational benefits of a digital workforce. But it’s not just a case of addressing those who are directly affected by automation, such as people whose roles and responsibilities are set to change. It’s also important for executives to think carefully about how their teams are structured and prepare their employees for automation at scale.

The technical skills required for automation are obviously key to the success of your automation strategy. However, as each wave of automation ripples through your organization, the need to nurture soft skills will be rapidly pushed to the forefront of your business plans.

This is because employees, who may have been spending time on repetitive tasks or having straightforward customer facing interactions, may need to take on new responsibilities as you roll out automation technologies. This means soft skills such as empathy, emotional intelligence, problem-solving and creativity are likely to grow in importance in the next decade.

Unfortunately, these capabilities cannot be taught in a classroom, but with free time created by automation, you should be able to foster and strengthen these abilities among your employees with the right learning and development planning.

Creating a new culture

The path to preparing your workforce for the future of work won’t be easy. But, with a careful internal communication strategy, a significant amount of effort spent fostering a new culture and investment in new skills for your employees, you can keep pace with the rate of change and scale your automation across your organization.

Every employee wants to feel like they belong. It’s built into the very essence of being human and is the feeling that every organization strives to cultivate. But in times of change, it’s more important than ever to make sure you build on your company’s sense of community. Take the time to celebrate the success of automation, the newly acquired connections that staff have made with their roles, or the innovative ways that your organization has delivered exceptional customer service. In doing so, your team will become an integral part of the transformation journey. So, rather than just being behind your efforts, they’re now by your side as you search for new opportunities.

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