In this uncertain market, agility and flexibility are mission-critical attributes to meet the constantly changing priorities of the business world. If you’re already using intelligent automation (IA), chances are you’re looking to the cloud to scale up and reduce costs and time to value.
Intelligent automation is one of the technologies ideally suited for adoption and scaling within the cloud environment. The combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI), business process management (BPM), robotic process automation (RPA), and other complementary technologies, enables organizations to optimize workflows and streamline processes.
Embracing the cloud provides a real opportunity to leapfrog the competition, especially if you’re at the beginning of your IA journey. Cloud computing allows you to bypass the potential hardware, software and staffing constraints of on-site servers.
Forecast for cloud migration
Why the push for the cloud? One of its key benefits is that it serves as an enabler of advanced technologies. The cloud brings with it a host of benefits, including facilitating long-term and secure remote work, reducing the total cost of ownership, and building the organizational agility needed to support sustained growth.
The pandemic accelerated digital transformations across the globe and now big businesses are striving to migrate 60% of their digital infrastructure to the cloud by 2025, including both private and public hosting setups. More businesses are moving away from focusing solely on RPA to combining other advanced technologies, allowing IA to meet the growing pressures for more digital transformation.
Think about how different technologies used together can create new possibilities. This is referred to as combinatorial solutions – innovations across multiple trends – to meet growing digitalization needs and demands. By utilizing the cloud, organizations can more easily scale their automations across the enterprise, create the capacity to incorporate more advanced automations, and add intelligence to their digital workers faster and securely.
Moving with the cloud
Using a cloud intelligent automation platform provides organizations with a suite of advanced automation technologies at their fingertips, without having to invest to build their own infrastructure and deploy and integrate automation software. Companies can lower the total cost of ownership by leveraging a provider’s solution as a service instead of building and maintaining that for themselves.
For example, Pilot Flying-J runs travel centers and gas stations across the U.S. and Canada and needed more efficiency in the back office. Supplier invoice payments were done manually, and store managers were often pulled from the store floor to process paperwork. Digital workers now lighten the load. “The production support team is a huge fan because the spin up of new digital workers is very fast and very easy for them,” says Rebecca Williams, RPA Manager for Pilot Flying-J.
Since adopting the cloud, Williams says Pilot Flying-J has saved roughly 78,000 hours of team member time and provided an impact of over $7.5 million dollars of value either in time saved or an actual profit generated through the automations. Next up, the team plans to seek out investment automations with help from targeted process mining.
The agility of vertical scaling
The cloud setup ensures companies have access to the latest updates, advancements, and capabilities, which is helpful in a space that continues to see rapid development and change. Companies can customize their intelligent automation strategy to meet their unique needs. If a business needs more digital workers specializing in RPA rather than BPM, a cloud-based intelligent automation platform can accommodate these needs.
It can also be modified to meet changing needs. For example, in the airline industry, seasonal-based adjustments are necessary. Christmas and summertime are peak seasons, so more digital workers are needed to support human workers, but they don’t need to maintain this supply of digital workers year-round. With a cloud-enabled intelligent automation platform, airlines can adjust the number of digital workers they use on a seasonal basis.
A cloud-based platform is also able to accommodate unexpected changes in need. For instance, when the pandemic began, there was an influx in demand as passengers around the world suddenly had to cancel their flights. With a cloud-enabled intelligent automation platform, organizations could rapidly scale up their digital workforce to support their human workers with the surge in enquiries.
This flexible approach is much more cost-effective than buying on-premises digital workers and not using them all at full capacity or leaving some idle on the shelf throughout the year.
Governing the cloud
While most organizations have recognized the need for advanced technologies, RPA tends to be the most commonly deployed. But in order to gain the full benefits of digital transformation, complementary advanced technologies, which include AI and machine learning, need to be used in tandem. This approach enables organizations to automate more end-to-end processes, which facilitates automation at scale and drives overall better business outcomes.
A cloud-enabled intelligent automation platform connects all these technologies, allowing businesses to achieve transformative change faster. Companies benefit from their provider’s economies of scale, skills, and experience, which saves investing their own resources into developing such capabilities.
For organizations with an established Center of Excellence (CoE), a cloud-based intelligent automation platform allows for focus on automations without waiting for IT teams to build and develop the needed infrastructure for each advanced technology. By utilizing a provider’s cloud-based services, CoEs no longer have to deal with execution bottlenecks due infrastructural challenges. This drastically reduces time to value, empowering organizations to drive their overall transformation plans and make their operations increasingly competitive.
Stakeholders must buy in
At the end of the day, nothing will slow down a digital transformation initiative more than an unsupportive work culture. Businesses should start by looking at the bigger picture and making sure their cloud adoption goals are aligned with overall company and digital transformation goals.
This type of vision requires high-level executive sponsorship to champion these objectives and vision across the organization. You also need people to look at cloud adoption across the organization and ensure transformation is coordinated, aligned, and efficient. Similarly, senior team members need to look beyond tasks to end-to-end processes and how cloud-enabled technologies can automate these processes to support workers and customers.
While most organizations have begun their automation journeys, many are not yet maximizing their automation capacity. Done right, the cloud is an important enabler of true digital transformation, providing all the tools needed for rapid and transformative digitalization.
The flexibility of the cloud has also opened up possibilities to sectors that, historically, have been hesitant to dive in, such as healthcare and financial services. With solutions today, organizations can adopt a private or hybrid cloud model to meet investor and regulatory requirements.
In addition to fiscal savings, organizations save extensive time demands managing and operating an intelligent automation platform requires, freeing management and IT teams to focus on other strategic areas, like innovation. The cloud will continue to play a central role in enabling organizations to scale with the power of IA. Top business performers are embracing the cloud. You should too.