Develop your digital workforce strategy with intelligent automation

By: Kevin Jackson

Digital transformation calls for intelligent automation. Dez Blanchfield zeros in on this type of change in her latest episode of the “Pioneers of possible” podcast, in which she interviews Elli Hurst, vice president of Global Automation at IBM Global Business Services (GBS). In this conversation, Hurst explores how her life journey inspires her to help IBM clients use intelligent automation to enable globally integrated capabilities.

With six years at PricewaterhouseCoopers and 24 years at IBM, Hurst has come a long way from working at her family’s restaurant business. However, her passion for the service industry is still strong. That care is evident in how she works to understand the vision of her clients. By using their goals as the focus of every conversation, her team helps clients to execute priorities that deliver a return on investment within months.

Build a digital workforce strategy

As a technology company executive, it’s surprising to hear Hurst describe technology as only “table stakes.” While she recognizes the critical role that technology plays, Hurst prioritizes the need for processes and people to work together with the technology. While automation typically starts by reducing cost, it quickly transitions to delivering value.

Organizations often fall short by trying to automate what people do. Hurst recognizes that automation should be used to enhance what employees are already doing. Automation always impacts a workforce and jobs will change. True business value comes when this change opens the door for innovation and more exciting projects for that workforce.

Automation’s impact on the workforce is a good thing. Hurst recommends “taking it to the positive” by attaining buy-in and engaging the workforce. Experience has taught her that while point solutions may deliver a 40 percent increase in efficiency, when used in tandem with a digital workforce strategy, automation can also deliver a 95 percent increase in employee satisfaction. Establishing this strategy is key to any transformation that uses automation.

Manage back-office disruption

Automation drives the most significant disruptions to back-office repetitive tasks. By looking at the end-to-end business model through an industry lens, her teams have helped clients to positively impact their customers. This digital experience enriches the client’s entire business ecosystem.

When talking about automation, experts usually start by pointing out a specific area, such as robotic process automation, which has been spurred by a back-office disruption. Addressing any disruption requires a well-developed strategy. Global automation is a journey that aligns business process with rapidly changing technology. The organizational strategy must be able to flex and continuously adapt. A typical five-year strategy is no longer viable. Intelligent automation demands a “fail fast” strategic approach.

Hurst ended this fascinating conversation by describing the future of automation as a convergence of all technologies at the enterprise level. In her view, enabling self-healing, lights-out, information technology platforms will give business executives the ability to couple an integrated view of all business processes with an ability to take immediate and effective action through mobile devices.

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About The Author

Kevin Jackson

CEO/Founder, GovCloud Network

Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized cloud computing expert and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. Mr. Jackson has also been recognized as a “Top 100 Cybersecurity Influencer and Brand” by Onalytica (2015), a Huffington Post “Top 100 Cloud Computing Experts on Twitter” (2013) and a “Top 50 Cloud Computing Blogger for... Read more