2 minute read 12 Dec 2018
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Three first steps in the journey to intelligent automation

By EY Americas

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

2 minute read 12 Dec 2018

If you're not aligned with the right outcomes, and if leadership is lacking, technology can only take you so far.  

The countless terms associated with automation can be confusing: cognitive chatbots, robotic process automation (RPA), application programming interface (API), and many, many more.

Despite widely divergent industries, geographies and business issues, transformation leaders around the world have something in common: they are laser-focused on automation. 

But determining which automation solutions are right for your organization can prove challenging. Before starting your journey, try focusing on three key priorities:

1. Start with the “why”

Consider the outcomes you need to foster growth in your business — whether that’s to become closer to your customers, enhance efficiency and agility or reduce risk. Regardless of whether the driver is the competitive landscape or regulatory intervention, the critical success factor is to understand that “why.” Look past the shiny new technology and align your efforts with business outcomes and purpose.

2. Then consider the “how ”

Technology is part of the answer, but it is never the whole answer. Once you are clear on your “why,” the next question is “how”? In an article for the MIT Sloan Management Review, Gerald C. Kane, a professor of information systems at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, states that digital transformation is about “how technology changes the conditions under which business is done, in ways that change the expectations of customers, partners and employees.” This means businesses must continually adapt and evolve to meet higher expectations. So consider whether you need new technology or whether changes to products, channels, your operating model or process reengineering can achieve your “why.”

3. Prepare your people

It's possible that some organizations start with technology to answer their “why” because it’s easier than leading and managing people. Evolving the skills in your organization, addressing “automation anxiety” and leading an increasingly diverse workforce can be challenging. The biggest challenge to business leaders, however, is the nature of leadership itself. Intelligent automation can achieve higher-quality outputs, enhance the customer experience and increase your capacity to handle higher business volumes. But without the right leadership — those who are prepared to take risks and to overcome automation anxiety — the journey is over before it started.


Business leaders worldwide are focusing on automation. But to determine what’s best for their organizations, they must be certain about three basic considerations.   

About this article

By EY Americas

Multidisciplinary professional services organization