By Frank Casale, CEO and Founder, Institute for Robotic Process Automation
Robotic process automation embodies the new wave of transformative technology. It is reshaping the way organizations approach both specific workflows and, on a larger scale, the potential for corporate growth. At the junction of innovation, information and technology, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) has a unique vantage point and can leverage robotic process automation to increase influence and relevance within the C-suite. Here are five ways CIOs can capitalize on the change.
1. Robotic process automation will plant the CIO at the center of value creation. The need for enterprise agility and growth is colliding with the need to protect information and develop new roles as they relate to the cloud. A study by cloud computing provider EMC found that IT leaders in 2013 were primarily concerned with security and secondarily with finding skilled people to tackle the dynamic nature of the work. The evolution of Big Data, IT security and cloud computing in 2014 promises to perpetuate the shuffle of priorities and strategies in dealing with staffing and competence. Enter robotic process automation. By automating routine tasks previously performed by humans, this emerging technology has the potential to shrink staffing needs and radically change the way CIOs support enterprise goals. If CIOs can make information management central to the business, they can ensure that information is one of its most valuable assets.
2. IT is now, more than ever, the home of innovation. IT must meet the performance needs of customers and employees while it grows the business. Advanced analytical tools and business intelligence systems are increasingly essential to sophisticated information management. Robotic process automation will radically simplify parts of the CIO’s province: customer analytics, data mining, social media analysis and the warehousing of Big Data assets. In one case, the CIO of a U.S.-based insurance company used automation technology to scale the business’ virtual network up and down by thousands of virtual machines on a weekly basis, freeing it from its dependence on human-driven manual processes and delivering a record velocity of change.
3. The brave new world of automation demands brave new management from the CIO. The CIO must help create an organization built on a healthy information infrastructure, robust information utilization and sound decision making. This stretches the role of the CIO to nearly all parts of the organization: network administration, web administration, database management, communication technology and overall system administration. CIOs need to respond with new strategies to manage the way employees work with each other and the way employees work with machines. Labor intensive and routine processes that once handicapped a company’s ability to meet requirements for provisioning, deployment and change management will be replaced with technology that blows the socks off old performance standards.
4. Providers of robotic process automation are transforming options for CIOs around the world. Work that was once done by people can now be automated, yielding eye-popping cost savings upwards of 40 percent. One global network service provider used “virtual engineers” to flawlessly execute more than 80 percent of its upgrade processes. Along with compressing a 12-month upgrade cycle into a one-month cycle, the CIO radically reduced her labor costs and improved service quality.
5. Robotic process automation is recasting the role of the CIO in the eyes of the CEO. Historically, CIOs have had oversight of the processing, management and dissemination of information and, over time, have lost their footing in the C-suite. The advent of robotic process automation is changing this, requiring the CIO to manage tools and technologies that are evolving at a break-neck pace. CIOs are increasingly pressed to work in direct response to customer demands and charged with optimizing business and generating revenue. CEOs who want their enterprise to thrive in 2014 will look to the CIO fora real contribution to strategic goals and corporate growth.
Frank Casale founded the Institute for Robotic Process Automation to help practitioners and providers navigate the evolving landscape of automation technology. Join a global community of thought leaders and get industry insight by visiting www.irpanetwork.com.