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Humans and Bots in Digital Transformation: How to get the blend right.

18 September 2019

Lithe CEO – Anthony Murphy

My daughter has taken a real fancy to baking, meaning I need to be going to the gym a lot more frequently than I do! It’s not unusual in my house these days to spend Saturdays in the kitchen, covered in flour, with my daughter mixing various ingredients to try her latest recipe.

I’ve found that the first time she tries a recipe the results are excellent. However, if she bakes one a second time it is not always as good. Why the difference? Well, the first time she is following the recipe diligently, making sure the right blend of ingredients is added at the correct time. But when repeating she does things from memory and therefore doesn’t quite get it perfect.

Getting the right blend is important. It is the same when considering how best to implement bots to deliver successful outcomes within organisations.

There are excellent technologies which can be relied on to help digitise content throughout an organisation, both in terms of RPA and Cognitive Capture vendors, but success comes from how these ingredients are used.

To succeed with Digital Transformation, quality ingredients are not enough. You also need to have a recipe book to follow. If not, you may get a successful outcome, but the odds are longer, and the result probably won’t be as successful as the potential. If you do manage success, what chance you could repeat?

As with baking, success is not certain even when you have excellent ingredients and skills.

At Lithe, we have implemented over 100 Digital Transformation projects, on a range of platforms, and what we have learned is that greatest success is gained when it is recognised that automation projects should start not by analysing how things currently work, but rather by appreciating what your technology can automate.

A technology first approach is different from traditional process improvement, where you typically start by drawing maps of what is currently done. An organisation which is digitally transformed, looks nothing like it did at the start. It is not digital improvement, but transformation being sought and that requires a more radical approach to finding the right blend.

When it is understood where technology can transform, human resources are added to support these processes. The addition of human resources is often the way to differentiate from the competition and to offer unique customer experiences. It may also be where highly skilled knowledge workers are required to make judgements – where AI is not yet trusted to do so.

When choosing how to deploy bots, it is easy to be attracted to just low hanging fruit, and to concentrate on getting the bot implemented quickly and at as low a cost as possible. But low hanging fruit typically represents the lowest value as well. To maximise ROI, you must tackle the richer opportunities higher in the tree.

Taking this technology first approach on complex processes, is more difficult and requires a larger change process, but it is the way to deliver transformational outcomes. Once proven, this becomes the recipe to follow for all digital transformation initiatives, and one which greatly improves the odds for success.

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