In this episode of Wonderful Work, we chat with Lasse Rindom about intelligent automation, RPA, and the complex relationship between centralized IT, business operations and intelligent automation.
Lasse is the head of digital strategy and implementation at ZENZ Organic and an active debater and critical thinker in all topics related to business process management on LinkedIn. You can also find Lasse speaking at many industry events.
How Lasse got started in intelligent automation
After graduating with a master's degree in history, Lasse found himself, like many other Danes, starting his career in the shipping industry. Working in financial operations and payroll sparked his enthusiasm for automating and improving manual processes.
Later, while working as a management consultant, Lasse saw the emergence of robotic process automation (RPA) as a radical opportunity to accelerate intelligent automation. This led him to take on a role at ISS with the responsibility to roll out RPA globally across a workforce of hundreds of thousands of colleagues.
The complex relationship between centralized IT and business operations
Automation is super high on the business leadership agenda because there have been so many business cases highlighting efficiency and operational excellence.
However, the topic of enterprise architecture, controls, understanding, and security is viewed differently from the point of view of IT. We asked Lasse what happens to the relationship between centralized IT and business operations when automation is planned and implemented.
"Over the past few years, IT has realized they need to have a business-friendly approach," Lasse explains. "But we also need business to understand that they can't just ramp up ten guys to do an RPA and still cut costs in IT. This approach doesn't make any sense."
According to Lasse, departments need to agree on the subject, which was not always easy for IT, as the process often came with smaller budgets. "Suddenly, you see someone in the CFO department ramping up three guys to do an RPA and think, what's going on? Do you think I'm not doing automation in IT? I've been doing it my whole career!"
Lasse encourages business departments to put funding into IT and for IT to reach out to business departments. "We now realize that automation is worth nothing if they don't continuously run. One of the things that turned many IT professionals into naysayers in the first place was people coming up with proposals saying, 'I want to buy this and that. But we should always ask who will support and maintain it."
Why do many transformative projects fail?
According to famous research by McKinsey, up to 70% of digital transformation projects fail. We asked Lasse to share his view on why this might be.
"I think the biggest reason is lack of bravery," Lasse explains. "I don't think adding an RPA to an exceptionally old legacy ERP will digitally transform your company. If you go for the big game-changers, you'll see things getting better down the line. You might have five years of hell, but you'll become more mature and ready to take things to the next level," he says.
How to build trust between business and IT
"Start out by discovering the agendas of the parties involved in the project. Also, it's important to share and understand each other's KPIs. You can find common ground simply by identifying agendas. But I'll stress this again, the goal of an RPA shouldn't just be about clicking things on the screen. It must focus on being compliant," Lasse says.
Lasse's view on scaling in the next five years
"Scalability is needed, solutions for problems are needed, and suites are needed for full flexibility. I think internal automation, with all the technology we have, is in a waiting position. So, I don't predict something new emerging. But we never know. Something good and different might happen, and I'm open to that," Lasse explains.
Follow Lasse on LinkedIn
Lasse is very active on LinkedIn and prides himself on being honest about the industry. "If you're interested in making a change in the industry, asking questions on LinkedIn is a good idea," Lasse says.
The Wonderful Work podcast
If you'd like to learn more about Lasse and his views on RPA, check out Lasse and Lari's full chat on the Wonderful Work podcast.