Why do automation implementations fail?

Hema Gandhi | 27 August 2018

Most industries are fast adopting Robotics automation and AI to digitise their operational processes and technology infrastructure and support. Automation has reaped huge benefits in efficiency and productivity whilst driving costs down. This has resulted in many organisations going with the flow and applying robotics and AI for select processes. However, there have been some wrong implementations which has raised the need to do it ‘Right’. To uncover the answer, we first need to understand why do some automation initiatives fail?

Firstly, many organisations have attempted to take advantage of free pilots to ‘test’ the feasibility of automation. This has caused adhoc pilot deployments that don’t take into account regional business unit’s process deviations. Hence, benefits are seen in isolation for a sub process rather than a holistic view of end to end process and therefore, larger efficiency and process effectiveness.

Sometimes, automation is attempted ahead of technology implementations. The technology transformation agenda should always be ahead of deploying BOTs for a broken process. One can argue that intelligent automation can ‘fix’ a broken process but this shouldn’t be done at the cost of postponing transformation and modernisation projects. If the underlying technology supporting the process is unstable and IT integration isn’t complete, the full benefits of automation won’t be realised.

It is important that organisations review their processes and create an automation roadmap. Many automation initiatives often struggle owing to lack of a targeted approach for each components of the Targeted Operating Model (TOM), allowing for a messy automation journey. A proper automation roadmap will help align both the human and digital workforce especially since more manual work is going to be taken over by digital. Appropriate collaboration between humans and digital workforce will reap the desired business outcomes.