how CIOs can lead successful automation projects – TechCrunch

By John Kucera, SVP Product Management, Salesforce & Liam Doyle, SVP Product Management, MuleSoft

It is no longer viable to have unnecessary delays or friction points in business processes. To meet the expectations of a fully digital customer and enable a work-from-anywhere world, companies must find ways to enable their employees to make decisions and act faster. And the low code made it easy.

Companies are increasingly using low code to accelerate automation projects that support digital transformation projects and free up employees to spend their time on more meaningful and strategic work. New research shows that more than half (55%) of organizations now have a “very mature” or “mature” strategy allowing non-technical users to integrate API-powered applications and data sources, compared to 36 % in 2021.

As low-code automation gains momentum, the role of the CIO is to make automation capabilities more accessible and available to the organization. But the tension lies in the balance between autonomy and responsibility. In an environment more complex than ever, hHow do you hand over design and delivery, while retaining compliance, reliability, privacy and security requirements at an all-time high? How do you decide which processes can be automated by business teams and which should be automated by developers?

To address these challenges, consider the following strategies.

Part of your responsibility as CIO is to help reframe how people view automation. Automation is not just a way to digitize your existing processes. This is an opportunity to completely reinvent them. And that takes a mindset of transformation. Take the time to define transformation initiatives and goals while developing new products and services and reducing risk, but also enable more people to leverage automation to innovate, improving the employee experience and customers. When united on this, the entire company attracts and retains top talent, delivers better results for clients, and ultimately drives more growth..

In addition to rethinking business processes, it’s also important to rethink how teams work together. Research of Gartner shows that at least 84% of companies have established fusion teams, “multidisciplinary teams that blend technology and other types of domain expertise” to deliver more value – faster. High-performing CIOs recognize the importance of this collaboration and are exploring new ways of working with standardized automation tools to allow this culture to thrive. Not only does this reduce costs and maximize project success, but when everyone has access to the same technology, it makes it easier to automate workflows that involve multiple departments, such as closing a B2B deal that affects sales, revenue, operations and legal teams. .

With enterprise-wide automation, it’s also essential that modularity and reuse are at the heart of the effort, allowing business and IT teams to share common components and radically improve efficiency. and payback period. This makes your business more efficient, able to scale faster as multiple teams automate processes in parallel. Not only that, but taking a composable approach to automation ensures IT can secure and govern these components, so business teams can automate with confidence.

While CIOs remain responsible for improving efficiency, productivity and cost management, their role is changing. Today, you are much closer to the business results you can help drive.

It’s important to get everyone in the organization on the same page with clear communication about why you’re using automation and how it will help achieve your desired results. For example, providing automation tools that help create a just-in-time process that reduces inventory costs by matching inventory levels and fulfillment to actual demand. Clearly defining goals and communicating them consistently will help you build the trust, buy-in, and collaboration you need.

When talking to business users, explain the value of automation in a way that aligns with their goals: increased accuracy, productivity, and performance, and show how it ultimately leads to a better work experience. Since employees may worry about the impact of automation on their role in the business, share the positive changes automation brings. For example, research found that 91% of full-time workers say automation solutions save them time and provide a better work-life balance. Additionally, 89% of employees are happier with their jobs and 84% are happier with their company due to the use of workplace automation.

Every organization operates in a more complex environment than ever before. As you invite more builders into the mix and hold the business accountable with weak code, you also need to maintain your organization’s position on everything from data privacy laws, to strict compliance in regulated markets, through the prevention of cybersecurity threats. This requires clear expectations around roles and governance, and the importance they play to the health of the business.

Enterprise developers can solve many problems with low-code or no-code tools. They understand how processes work and can identify opportunities for improvement. But there are times when IT needs to create, maintain, and improve an automated process with pro-code building blocks and tackle bigger challenges. This is particularly relevant when considering the parts of the process that impact data integrity, confidentiality, security, compliance, and scalability.

Consider delegating automation projects when the risk is low, such as automating the creation of follow-up tasks after sales calls. This requires minimal IT governance as it is quite a siloed process and the impact on data security and management across different business systems is minimal. However, automating something as complex as an insurance claims process will require tight governance due to the increased risk when data is shared across systems and across departments.

You’ll also find that it makes sense to work closely with the sales team early on. The insurance claims process mentioned earlier, for example, is highly structured with interdependent logic, which means it will require greater IT involvement to review, test, and ensure that it works as intended. This is the goal of fusion teams.

There is no single governance, which makes it important to establish early on who is accountable throughout the lifecycle. What does computing have? What does the sales team have? Who is responsible for triaging and resolving issues that arise? If you don’t address this issue early in the process, it can lead to friction later on.

Low code breaks down silos between teams, systems, and processes. And it’s up to the CIO to strengthen collaboration between IT and the business, while enforcing governance and security to maintain trust across the organization. But you don’t have to tackle this alone. Many CIOs establish an “enabling center” – a cross-functional team to promote collaboration, foster autonomy, oversee appropriately sized governance, and improve results through feedback and results.

As you move in this direction, continue to set reasonable goals, measure incremental gains, and communicate progress on an ongoing basis. This will help you build momentum in this new environment defined by the partnership between business and IT.

Whatever your path, stay focused on the biggest opportunity. Years of competitive advantage are within reach for organizations that can harness the benefits of business and IT collaboration.

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