Blog: Reaping the Value of Intelligent Automation in Shared Services and Beyond
June 15, 2020

Blog: Reaping the Value of Intelligent Automation in Shared Services and Beyond

Organizations constantly strive to achieve greater efficiencies and more streamlined operations, particularly within Shared Services and Global Business Services (GBS).  However, some of the improvements may only be incremental, delivering smaller-scale targeted benefits. Therefore, when an opportunity for a quantum advance arises there is of course heightened interest. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has become one of the latest propositions to promise quantum advances for Shared Services and GBS organizations, as well as the broader enterprise.  A rapidly increasing number of Shared Services and GBS organizations are adopting RPA to deliver greater efficiency and quality benefits.  The bots are clearly making their mark.

Implementing Robotic Process Automation in Shared Services

RPA can’t be used as a tool to ‘fire off all over the place’ in an uncontrolled fashion.  It requires specialized process discovery, agile development and business analytics too! And it requires a formal structure, strong governance, approved business-cases, and a supporting automation roadmap. Implementation should be part of a comprehensive strategy, with proper planning, engagement with key stakeholders, and clear management of change and resources – all supported by new operating models, frameworks and proper technology to function optimally.

For any Shared Services operation, we recommend four core pillars to implement RPA:

  1. Assessment, Business Case & Automation Roadmap
  2. Proof of Concept
  3. RPA Center of Expertise (CoE), Vendor Selection & RPA Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  4. Agile Bot Development: Process Design Documents (PDDs), Solution Design Documents (SDDs), Development, Testing, Deployment, and Stabilization

New addition to RPA – Hyperautomation and AI

Automation doesn’t just stop at Robotic Process Automation.  Providers are already pushing forward with increasingly intelligent and cognitive solutions that are building on process automation. These incorporate the ability to learn, adapt, and work with unstructured data across more complex processes.  The potential for “hyperautomation” has arrived.  It is the mix of automation technologies, business analytics and artificial intelligence that augment humans’ capabilities, allowing them to complete processes in a hyper-automated, semi-automated or autonomous way.  According to Gartner, Hyperautomation is a top trend for 2020.

Think big and act big

An automation empowered (or “digitalized”) Shared Services or GBS organization can truly enable an enterprise to stay agile and competitive in today’s challenging environment, driving unmatched levels of visibility and control, collection and analysis of data, and operational efficiency.  An established RPA CoE within a Shared Services or GBS organization, aligned with your IT team, can become a power center to drive an organization’s enterprise-wide digital transformation strategy, defining how to exploit new robotics capability and leverage more intelligent and cognitive solutions.

A small but growing number of Shared Services and GBS organizations currently have a robust digital strategy in place to manage and drive their RPA implementation to enterprise scale, but time will tell how big a role RPA will play in Shared Services, and then how big a role Shared Services will itself play in an organization’s Hyperautomation journey.  The opportunity should be grasped.

Some more readings relating to RPA: