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No islands in automation: Why reliance on a single automation platform leads to failure

The pandemic made us reconsider processes that we had originally accepted as manual, mundane, or repetitive. Many of these processes broke completely because they relied heavily on face-to-face interaction – which simply wasn’t feasible at the time.

Now—over a year into the pandemic—a majority of these broken processes are supported by an array of technologies that may not be the most efficient, effective, and connected.

In a recently published thought leadership piece, Nintex CEO Eric Johnson outlines what decision-makers should consider when purchasing automation technology. “Why relying on a single process automation platform will lead to failure” is now available to anyone looking to fix broken processes, optimize manual tasks, digitize paper-based forms, and offer stakeholders visibility into daily operations.

The all-in-one approach to process automation does not work

Unfortunately for some companies, success with a particular automation project has convinced them that: a solution that worked well once should be made the standard across the entire company.

In today’s world, most companies are facing pressure to innovate, automate, optimize, and transform as rapidly as possible. So it’s understandable why some business leaders might feel that since a certain automation vendor did a great job over here, let’s use that same vendor across the company for all our high-urgency projects.

When we reflect on our experiences with our 10,000-plus customers and many tens of thousands of projects, we can say with great confidence that the all-in-one approach to process automation simply does not work. But even worse than that: those failed projects burn up money, time, and opportunities.

The magic number of automation vendors for a digital business

As we lean on our worldwide experience and deep expertise across thousands of organizations in every major industry, we find that the ideal mix for mid-sized and large enterprises is between three and five automation vendors. Very often that plays out as three core vendors—one for simple processes, one for highly complex processes, and one for the mid-range.

For example, certain niche automation providers are exceptionally strong for building consumer-grade mobile applications and others are uniquely strong in document automation. Depending on your business you may need a few specialist providers on top of the three core vendors we suggest.

Over and over, we’ve learned that only one process-automation vendor just won’t work, while 10+ is too many.

5 tips for your process automation success

In a 2021 report, Gartner predicted organizations will lower operational costs by 30 percent by combining “hyperautomation” technologies.

Gartner’s research VP Brian Burke stated, “Hyperautomation is irreversible and inevitable. Everything that can and should be automated will be automated.”

As you set out on your own journey to jump into the digital world and get your processes automated, here are 5 steps that can guide you in making the optimal decisions for the specific needs of your company:

  1. Start off with this high-level 3-step perspective: first, reimagine the processes you’ll need to create in your digital future; second, automate those and all sub-processes around them; and then relentlessly optimize those processes to drive the best outcomes.
  2. Always look for the easiest and lowest-cost solution provided it solves your problem and delivers the desired business outcome. Are considering both the initial time to design and ongoing application maintenance when making this decision? The key to this will be knowing who you want building these applications; is it professional developers, operations professionals, or the average knowledge worker?
  3. Strive to automate as much as possible while ensuring the solutions fully align with what your users want and need not only today but also in your digital future.
  4. Don’t get distracted by vendors who promise to blow you away with wall-to-wall RPA, AI, APIs, or other fancy lingo. While those technologies are fantastic for some processes, they are dead wrong for others.
  5. Will the CEO of the automation vendor give you his/her personal commitment to see your project through to a fully successful outcome? If not, is that a vendor on which you’re willing to bet the future of your company? Good executive support, high peer review site ratings, high customer net promoter score (NPS), and a willingness to provide references are all good signs.

There are no islands in automation. Automation is the ocean that connects to every island.

As you begin or extend your digital transformation journey, remember that not all processes are the same and no single vendor can possibly deliver all the great outcomes you deserve for each of your business initiatives.

Automation is not an island. Your automated processes should connect every island across your business.

Download your copy of Eric Johnson’s leadership insights paper now!



Interested in getting started with the Nintex Process Platform to avoid leading to failure. Request a demo today!



Samantha Pugh

As a member of the Nintex Corporate Marketing team, Samantha Pugh spends her time creating content, organizing digital events, and delivering great experiences for Nintex customers and partners.

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