Automation has been around since before the invention of the wheel. Throughout history, people have used mechanization to aid their work and make their endeavors more efficient and adaptable to challenge and change — though nowadays, the word “automation” tends to be used more in the context of digitizing workflows and processes than about moving heavy stones around. Whatever the context, automation exists to help people do their work with speed, ease and flexibility.

In today’s dynamic, digital world, we need automation more than ever to drive operational efficiency and support business continuity. Recent research suggests the number of enterprises planning to entrust more complex work to intelligent automation will increase 7x in the next three years.[1]

Forward-looking enterprises are using automation and AI to augment their core strengths, supplement their weaknesses, and create intelligent and efficient collaboration with employees and customers alike. We use the term ‘extreme automation’ when this is implemented across the enterprise, leveraging data for near real-time insights that fuel intelligent workflows and a hybrid workforce.

The current global crisis has exacerbated market forces that disrupt industriesdemand and workforce productivity. A business that has shifted to extreme automation is one that can scale up and down and can change how work gets done, which allows an organization to be resilient in the face of disruptive change.

  • Volatile demand. Businesses are seeing massive shifts in demand in many different areas of their business, from rising customer service demand to possible declines in overall product demand. Automation can help by providing the flexibility to handle spikes in demand and troughs in capacity.
  • Industry disruption. The nature of work is changing quickly, making old workflows obsolete and new ones necessary and vital. Automation infused with artificial intelligence (AI) can help by creating operational models that can sense, respond and quickly adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Workforce productivity. HR and talent managers around the world are finding themselves in a position where they must pivot to new modes of work and require flexible, remote models that still operate efficiently. Automation is helpful here, too, as digitized workflows and a hybrid workforce are less reliant on a physical presence and can help empower your people to focus on what’s most important.


An intelligent platform for extreme automation

No matter where you are on your digitization journey, now is a good time to adapt and optimize your operational processes. Digital business automation can help you turn momentary challenges into long-term opportunities.

  • Digitize and automate more types of work. Improve productivity while addressing change.
  • Create intelligent workflows. Employ AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to free up employee time.
  • Augment your workforce. Improve business continuity and outcomes with flexible labor.

In order to build and execute an effective automation strategy, it is critical to have the right tools and platforms on which to build. IBM Services Essentials for Automation provides just such a platform to help you make decisions about your automation strategy and execute on them rapidly and at scale. The platform is composed of modules, with many capabilities available on an as-a-service basis.

  • Accelerate discovery and design with diagnostic tools and process libraries.
  • Save time with a suite of RPA and AI software to integrate and deploy, including Digital Workers and Intelligent Workflows software.
  • Centralize management with an automation control tower to visualize and automate the performance of automated processes.
  • Safeguard your systems and data with a range of security-rich hosting options.

Essentials for Automation in action

Essentials for Automation was recently updated with an enhanced Process Discovery Accelerator tool — one of a proprietary set of automation tools on Essentials for Automation — and the ability to work seamlessly with more RPA tools, including the ability to integrate with major RPA vendors Automation Anywhere, BluePrism and UiPath.

A major US retailer used Essentials for Automation to hit the ground running during a recent expansion of their automation program, tapping the Process Discovery Accelerator for rapid mining and documentation. The Process Discovery Accelerator allowed them to quickly understand the way the existing processes were executed, including gathering known exceptions and manual steps, and creating developer-ready definition and design documents. Using the Process Discovery Accelerator saved the company weeks of effort in process mapping and allowed them to quickly cut to the chase and start reengineering and automating processes.

On the other end of the automation lifecycle, a global consumer goods company had already automated many workflows. They used Essentials for Automation to provide greater visibility into their performance. The company’s complex automation program spanned eight different environments with solutions from three different RPA providers. Now, they are managing over 1800 runtime scripts through the Essentials for Automation Operations Command Center. The Command Center monitors all eight environments, providing an integrated view with automated remediation and a single-dashboard, real-time view of all the automata at work. This shift has helped drive a significant reduction in the cost of ownership. And, equally important, the performance visibility sparks enlightened, informed discussion with stakeholders and staff about the impact of automation. Intelligent automation is now wide-spread across the enterprise, helping the business tackle new imperatives of a more constrained, virtual and cost-sensitive world.

In a recent report, the Everest Group noted that clients “have lauded IBM for its speed of implementation and its technical know-how”[2] in the extreme automation space, especially as integrating automation with AI and infusing intelligence into workflows has become a critical differentiator for businesses.

Automation continues to be an invaluable resource in a disrupted, changing world. Businesses that can make the shift to extreme automation are finding themselves better positioned to respond and adapt in order to recapture growth and keep moving forward.


 [1] Source: Institute of Business Value, Intelligent Automation, publication scheduled June 2020 [2] Everest Group, Intelligent Automation in Business Process Peak Matrix, March 2020


IBM Services Essentials for Automation

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