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Enterprise automation: what, why and how in 2024

Kazyna Turdibayeva

June 16, 2023

Automation has become an essential part of many businesses’ operations, finding its way to various industries, from manufacturing to healthcare to financial services and banking. Organizations are automating both smaller administrative tasks but also more complex decision-making processes.

That being said, this is not the end of the journey but just a start. According to Goldman Sachs research, 25% of all work could potentially be automated with the help of generative AI. In this article, we will discuss enterprise automation and its impact on streamlining company operations and improving productivity.

What is enterprise automation?

Enterprise automation can be described as the use of software and technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), etc. to comprehensively automate business processes. The said technologies can help improve strategic decision-making, reduce manual work, decrease errors, and increase work efficiency. Enterprise automation can be leveraged in any unit and function and is not limited to a specific industry. 

Enterprise automation software landscape
Enterprise automation software landscape

How to build an enterprise automation strategy?

Enterprise automation path might differ from company to company depending on their size, IT structure, and automation level. However, the overall strategy remains the same and can be summarized as follows:

  1. Holistically review and discover the business processes in the organization.
  2. Identify the parts of the business that can be automated.
  3. Find suitable automation technologies for each process.
  4. Build a roadmap for the implementation of automation activities.
  5. Manage automation initiatives on an employee level.
  6. Follow up on the automation activities and evaluate their effectiveness.

Types of enterprise automation

Enterprise automation includes different types of techniques, tools, and technologies that together help to comprehensively automate organizations. As such, the enterprise automation journey differs from company to company depending on the automation level they have. 

Business Process Automation (BPA)

BPA includes automation of anything from simple tasks to more complex multi-step workflows.  It’s usually basic low- to no-code automations and simple workarounds introduced by employees to fit their own needs. An example of the simplest automation for marketing could be using the software to schedule and automatically post social media posts at given times. Multi-step workflow automation for the sales team could include automatic lead outreach across several touchpoints. 

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

RPA is a business automation technology that helps to automate repetitive manual tasks. It has been gaining popularity in the last decade with several big vendors like UIPath entering the market. RPA uses software robots to imitate human actions through pre-programmed scripts. It is usually used for units like customer service, data entry, and other similar larger-volume tasks. 

Intelligent Automation (IA)

Intelligent automation is a holistic approach to automating the tasks and processes inside the organization using the power of AI and tools like RPA, and Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) to automate mundane tasks. It is sometimes referred to as hyperautomation - the term that was coined by Gartner. 

Benefits of enterprise automation. 

Enterprise automation comes with a number of benefits, and these are just some of them:

  • Improved employee satisfaction. By removing mundane repetitive work, people can do more interesting work and have less boring and routine activities.
  • Enriched customer service. Enterprise automation can help improve the customer service by improving response times, increasing consistency and accuracy in service delivery.
  • Improved productivity and work effectiveness. When low-value tasks are done by the software, people have more time for higher value activities.
  • Reduced errors and improved accuracy. Enterprise automation helps to execute tasks without the risk of human error.
  • Cost efficiency. Automating certain activities can lead to time savings, where people focus more on strategic initiatives and spend less time on time-heavy tasks.

Emerging technologies powering enterprise automation

The world of enterprise automation is continuously changing, with emerging technologies making it faster and easier to automate even the most complex workflows. Some of the prominent technologies or methods include:

  • Process intelligence. A holistic approach to understanding the processes, workflows, and tasks inside the organization. One of the notable approaches in process intelligence is to use the hybrid tool Work API to get transparency into operations. It combines the capabilities of both process mining and task mining. 
  • Process mining. A process mapping tool that helps to identify areas for improvement and automation.
  • Task mining. A task monitoring tool that gives insights into how employees use the systems and tools. 
  • RPA. Software robots help to automate manual processes simulating the repetitive activities that employees would otherwise perform themselves. 
  • Chatbots and voice assistants: NLP-powered technologies that can automate customer service interactions.

Examples of successful enterprise automation implementations

There are thousands of successful examples of small and large companies that were able to get business value from enterprise automation initiatives. For instance:

Coca-Cola. The company used automation solutions to automate the customer request review process, decreasing order validation time from half-day to seconds.

Deutsche Bank. The multinational investment bank used automation solutions to improve its customer onboarding process, reducing processing times from days to hours.

The future of enterprise automation

Organizations are continuing to implement automation solutions, and as such, the future of enterprise automation looks promising. We can expect more innovative tools and technologies to enter the market, which can collectively strengthen how much impact enterprise automation can have on companies. That being said, enterprise automation has been an integral part of most digital transformation activities, enabling companies to improve efficiency, decrease costs, and strengthen decision-making capabilities. 

Enterprise automation Q&A

What is meant by automation of enterprise?

Automation of enterprise refers to holistically reviewing an organization's processes and workflows in order to find automation opportunities that could substitute manual repetitive processes. The goal of enterprise automation is to improve overall effectiveness and productivity, reduce costs, and increase employee satisfaction.

What are some of the challenges of enterprise automation?

One of the main challenges companies experience when starting with enterprise automation initiatives of any kind is resistance to change. Effective change management policies and practices must be implemented ahead of time to ensure a smooth transition. Another hurdle of enterprise automation is complicated legacy systems that are not always compatible with automation software or require heavy integrations. Finally, while enterprise automation reduces costs substantially in the long term, it is a big investment in the short term, and one should carefully evaluate which technologies to use in order to get the highest ROI.

What is intelligent process automation?

Intelligent automation is the use of technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) to automate mundane, repetitive tasks. Intelligent automation streamlines processes, cuts costs, and improves the efficiency of business operations.

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

RPA is the use of software robots to automate repetitive, rule-based tasks. It leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to streamline business operations and increase efficiency.

Written by

Kazyna Turdibayeva

Marketing manager at Workfellow