We’re entering a new phase of automation: automation fabric. Throughout the past decade, process automation has surged as businesses have begun to see it as a necessity – especially during the pandemic.
But what does this new phase in automation spell for businesses and how can they adapt their processes and working culture to suit the upcoming, competitive automation environment?
Prepare to decorate your processes with a whole new kind of fabric.
What is the automation fabric?
You’d be forgiven for not knowing what the automation fabric is. And no, real fabric doesn’t come into it…sadly. But then again, it depends how you visualize it.
The automation fabric is the convergence of all automation capabilities under one platform to create a seamless, connected experience for employees and customers.
You can think of it as a long layer of “fabric” that has all automated processes stitched together e.g. RPA, low-code tools, process intelligence, chatbots, and machine learning.
The long road to the automation fabric
Many paths have been walked to reach this stage of digital transformation.
Phase 1: The tactical approach
Referred to as the tactical period, this phase encompasses 2016 to pre-pandemic. For many, it can be defined as a time when the robotic process automation (RPA) market surged as businesses focused on task automation.
In 2017, there was also the stirring of the low-code movement that recognized the gap between the number of developers and number of apps that needed to be created. This led to the rise of the “citizen” or “business” developer that could build applications using low-code automated processes without the technical know-how.
But, despite these advances in process automation, many broken processes have remained broken – or only slightly patched over for the short term.
Phase 2: The booster shot
The pandemic upended many established ways of working, with most organizations needing to conduct business remotely. This is where automation got its booster shot.
Intelligent automation (IA) and hyperautomation entered the business lexicon as process automation was invested in and deployed frantically by organizations trying to provide for remote employees and customers during unprecedented times.
Like tactical automation, this involved a pragmatic approach that addressed immediate issues rather than top-down, end-to-end transformation.
This rush to “automate, automate, automate!” led many organizations to make missteps. Those that believed only one tool like RPA could solve all issues were proven wrong. They missed the bigger picture. Or rather, the bigger fabric.
What to expect from the automation fabric
The automation fabric phase will build on the missed opportunities of the previous phases. It will deliver enormous competitive power to organizations that go beyond using automation as a tech tool and use it as part of their institutional values.
These are some of the things to expect from the future of digital transformation:
Transparency is essential to understanding bottlenecks and blockages in processes across your organization. With an automation fabric, you can have process discovery, process mapping tools, and more in one place so you can locate the broken processes and discover automated solutions that will free teams from time-consuming processes.
Employees and customers will gain seamless experiences in all aspects of their user journeys thanks to the robust, flexible nature of the automation fabric. With process automation capabilities streamlined across work (digital forms, RPA, automated workflows) and customer interaction (chatbots, e-signature), your organization can function at optimal efficiency.
Decrease in risk
Every organization needs to abide by compliance regulations to protect themselves and their employees. How does this tie into the automation fabric? Simple. Automation brings visibility (as above) and can cast a light on all organizational processes. With all automated capabilities under one roof, you can keep your company fully compliant and avoid risk.
How to embrace the automation fabric
Change is often difficult. But when it’s properly implemented, it delivers opportunities that you never thought existed.
Here are a few ways to embrace the change:
Okay, so “transformative” seems to be the key word to describe the automation fabric. And why shouldn’t it be? If the previous phases advanced basic automation tools and increased their usage, then the automation fabric can unleash their full potential. Don’t hold back on being bold with processes automation. Go all out. With the bigger picture firmly in place, create a cohesive fabric that liberates everyone from broken processes.
See that automation is more than an application
Automation isn’t just a tool. It’s a way to build a strong working culture that embraces change and innovation. The automation fabric will deliver a unified approach to working that encourages employees to also bring their own ideas to the table for automating processes.
Recognize that automation fabric can’t be bought… but it can be found
Many will claim to have automation fabric, but they won’t. All organizations looking to address their transformative goals will need to buy the technologies to build their automation fabric. This is where having a solution that has everything under one umbrella is key to creating a seamless automation fabric, so you don’t need to build it piece by piece.
Ensure customer and employee experience is the key focus
Employees and customers are the ones that interact most with automation. It can be with workflow processes (employee), chatbots (customer) etc. The automation fabric, and automation itself, is built to empower people and provide seamless processes at every pain point of an employee’s and customer’s journey. If they’re a part of the transformative process, then your automation fabric will be tailored appropriately so they stand to get the most out of it.
Start weaving your automation fabric with Nintex
Nintex is the perfect solution to start putting your automation fabric together. We have everything under one umbrella so you can access all process automation capabilities without jumping between solutions e.g. process mapping, process discovery, workflow automations, digital forms, RPA, process analytics, and more.
We are process automation experts. We see the big picture. With our depth of experience, we make sure organizations have the transformative automation fabric needed to deliver seamless experiences for all.
Ready to jump into the future of digital transformation? Get in touch with our team to build your automation fabric.