The modern world moves quickly. Customer expectations have never been higher, and businesses are scrambling to keep up with the digital demands created by consumer tech. 451 Research produced a report commissioned by Nintex to explore how businesses across the globe are adapting to the digital revolution.
Keeping up in today’s business landscape
Speaking to 362 global businesses and IT leaders, 451 Research uncovered a clear trend toward digital transformation. Customer expectations for digital experiences have risen dramatically in recent years, in terms of both products and services. In order to remain competitive, businesses are pursuing digital transformation with the goals of:
- Improving service for customers, workers, and partners
- Supporting continuous improvement in business operations
- Creating new business models and generating new streams of revenue
- Remaining ahead of competitors
What are digital automation platforms?
Simply put, digital automation platforms (DAPs) are sets of tools and resources with low-code or no-code interfaces that make it easy for anyone to automate their own processes and workflows. DAPs have wide functionality, ranging from automating processes using robotic process automation to using machine learning for intelligent decision-making.
Because of this, they can help drive many business goals: improving productivity, optimizing business operations, building better customer experiences, creating new revenue streams, and many more.
DAPs also benefit individuals. They not only reduce repetitive manual tasks; they empower line-of-business workers with specialist process knowledge to take control of the processes they use every day. The ability to focus on higher-value work benefits IT departments, by freeing time and energy to strategize for future business growth and success. 451 Research found that:
- From 2016, the share of businesses that have a “formal strategy and are actively digitizing their business processes and technologies” has jumped from 29% to 42%.
- 57% of workflows will be “primarily executed in hosted/cloud environments” by 2021.
- 71% of Digital Leaders are “powerfully motivated to eliminate manual processes,” compared with just 49% of Digital Laggards.
- 50% of Digital Leaders recognize that “customer expectations have greatly increased.”
These statistics indicate that this automation trend isn’t likely to disappear any time soon. As noted by 451 Research: “The lightspeed pace of business and IT toward digital business today requires enterprises to accelerate the development and deployment of intuitive, contextual and intelligent applications.”
Automating for success
Digital automation platforms are profoundly changing the nature of work. With new technology like robotic process automation (RPA) and AI-powered tools, it’s now possible to re-evaluate what businesses can consider high-value work. DAPs enable businesses to treat their essential processes as strategic assets, analyzing them at a high level for opportunities to improve and automate them.
With integration and automation connecting disparate platforms and streamlining business processes, it’s now up to workers themselves to continue transforming their work environments. 451 Research refers to this as WorkOps, the practice of “designing and automating work and the kinds of experiences and outcomes that will become possible.” Not only does this benefit businesses, it gives employees the means to better plan and organize their own work.
Research indicates that employees are increasingly interested in visualization – the ability to “visualize work, to model it, contextualize and personalize it.” Process asset management tools with functions like process mapping and AI-powered analytics give employees these abilities, no matter their tech proficiency.
Understanding processes as strategic assets
So, how can organizations still new to digital transformation, or that maybe haven’t begun at all, shift the way they manage their business processes? We recommend these steps:
- Inventory every existing process using a process mapping tool, evaluating each one for risk and value to both your operations and your customers.
- Categorize your processes into the groups involved with them, such as customers, workforce, and business partners.
- Identify the processes central to creating customer value and assess how efficiently they’re performing.
- Identify the applications relevant to the business process.
- Determine which processes and applications must be modernized, and begin your digital transformation initiative with the simplest changes.