The benefits of automating IT and business processes run the gamut, from better customer experiences (CX) and greater employee productivity, to decreased costs, increased revenue, and more.
But organizations with highly mature operations reap even greater benefits than their low-maturity operational counterparts. Why? Because their embrace of automation gives them greater adaptability, resilience, and agility.
That’s according to the final installment of a Cisco-commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting. Over the past few weeks, we’ve covered the research in a four-part thought leadership series that details how an organization’s operational maturity can impact their agility as they adapt to changing business and customer needs.
- How enterprises are trying to modernize their operations to boost agility — which is key to their ability to weather adversity. Top priorities included improving data resilience and quality, improving remote worker inclusion, reducing costs, and automating as many tasks as possible.
- How mature operations set some firms ahead of the competition, enabling them to grow even in the face of adversity. Four areas of competency that are common to operationally mature organizations (what Forrester terms leaders) are: strategy, technology, process, and governance.
- The different ways leaders handle and are impacted by automation challenges, compared to companies with low-maturity operations (beginners). The message to both: Don’t be discouraged! The difficulties you face can be surpassed.
The fourth and last installment, Automation + Operational Maturity = Major Business Benefits, highlights the benefits of automating processes and calls out ways in which leaders outpace beginners in reaping these benefits. Specifically, leaders make significantly more progress toward key goals, outperform beginners at business-critical KPIs, experience better business resiliency, and are more agile, collaborative, and responsive.
The installment culminates with several key recommendations for any organization looking to mature its operations practice:
- Passionately pursue data integrity. Organizations are swimming in data, but general trust of that data is at an all-time low for a variety of reasons. Discover, map, track, and maintain your data with tight policies and technology. You can’t do this manually, but AI and automation can help make your data more trustworthy — which will in turn enable you to trust the results you seek.
- Automate responsibly. Automation allows you to do things faster and more accurately, but it can lead to disaster if pursued carelessly. Start by automating the easy things, like infrastructure configurations and clerical processing. For the best business results, take what you learn here and expand the scope of your automation.
- Promote a philosophy for change. People dislike change because it’s often done wrong and can lead to painful results. Set up a program to socialize the beneficial results of change done right — and promote it relentlessly. The magic happens when people desire change, not just tolerate it.
- Abolish the “us vs. them” mentality. Toxic organizational silos will crumble when you reward collaboration and punish small-minded isolation. Deploy collaboration technologies that help streamline communication and joint development among distributed teams. And don’t forget to celebrate joint successes to signal that you’re all in this together.
- Embrace risk, to a limit. Your business’s future viability, and probably your own, requires experimentation and creativity. Don’t be afraid to try a new approach or technology, and learn from your inevitable failures. Exercise good engineering as you proceed. Risk is good, but careless risk is not. New ideas sometimes require stepping out of your comfort zone, but they can transform your business.
Here’s the bottom line: Automating processes leads to clear business benefits. If you’re looking to modernize your technology operations and embrace increasingly complex architectures and multicloud strategies, these recommendations — along with the rest of the Forrester study — provide the essential insights you need to get started and stay ahead of the pack.
Find out how you can mature your operations practice: