Top business performers are embracing the cloud. You should too
By Adam Lawrence, VP Cloud Solutions, SS&C Blue Prism
Cloud computing is undoubtedly on the rise, with global end-user spending on public cloud services alone estimated to reach over $590 billion this year – a 20.7% year-on-year increase. Enterprises increasingly realize the cloud’s tremendous value potential – up to $3 trillion globally by 2025. Despite the waves of economic uncertainty experienced these past few years, the cloud is seen as an opportunity to foster resilience, innovation, growth and scalability As such, large enterprises are striving to migrate 60% of their digital infrastructure to the cloud by 2025, including both private and public hosting setups
Why the push for cloud? The cloud brings with it a host of benefits, including facilitating long-term and secure remote work, reducing the total cost of ownership, and building the organizational agility needed to support sustained growth. However, until recently, the cloud conversation often eschewed one of its key benefits: serving as an enabler of advanced technologies.
Intelligent automation is one of the technologies ideally suited for adoption and scaling within the cloud environment. It combines artificial intelligence, robotic process automation (RPA), business process management, etc., to reengineer processes and drive business outcomes. The pandemic induced accelerated digital transformations around the world, with RPA experiencing massive year-over-year growth. Increasingly, businesses shifted from focusing solely on RPA to combining other advanced technologies to enable intelligent automation to meet the growing pressures for more digital transformation.
While most organizations have begun their automation journeys, many are not yet maximizing their automation capacity. This is inspiring a drive for combinatorial solutions – innovations across multiple trends – to meet growing digitalization needs and demands. By utilizing the cloud, organizations can more easily scale their automations across the enterprise, create the capacity to incorporate more advanced automations, and add intelligence to their digital workers faster and securely.
How can the cloud propel digital transformation?
Using a cloud intelligent automation platform provides organizations with a suite of advanced automation technologies at their fingertips, without having to invest to build their own infrastructure and deploy and integrate automation software. Companies can lower the total cost of ownership by leveraging a provider’s solution as a service instead of building and maintaining that for themselves. In addition to fiscal savings, organizations save the extensive time demands managing and operating an intelligent automation platform requires, freeing management and IT teams to focus on other strategic areas, like innovation, while the provider manages the cloud intelligent automation platform.
Organizations don’t have to worry about integrating advanced technologies into their platform or keeping up with the latest tech because their cloud platform offers these ready-to-use technologies. The cloud setup ensures companies have access to the latest updates, advancements, and capabilities, which is helpful in a space that continues to see rapid development and change.
The cloud also makes way for flexible and agile deployment and commercial models. Companies can customize their intelligent automation strategy to meet their unique needs. If a business needs more digital workers specializing in robotic process automation (RPA) than business process management (BPM), a cloud-based intelligent automation platform can accommodate these needs.
It can also be modified to meet changing needs. For example, in the airline industry, seasonal-based adjustments are necessary. Christmas and summertime are peak seasons, so more digital workers are needed to support human workers, but they don’t need to maintain this supply of digital workers year-round. With a cloud-enabled intelligent automation platform, airlines can adjust the number of digital workers they use on a seasonal basis.
A cloud-based platform is also able to accommodate unexpected changes in need. For instance, when the Covid-19 pandemic began, there was an influx in demand as passengers around the world suddenly had to cancel their flights. With a cloud-enabled intelligent automation platform, organizations could rapidly scale up their digital workforce to support their human workers with the surge in enquiries.
This flexible approach is much more cost-effective than buying on-premises digital workers and not using them all at full capacity or leaving some idle on the shelf throughout the year.
Going beyond RPA to use the full suite of intelligent automation technologies
While most organizations have recognized the need for advanced technologies, RPA tends to be the most commonly deployed. But in order to gain the full benefits of digital transformation, complementary advanced technologies, which include AI and machine learning, need to be used in tandem. This approach enables organizations to automate more end-to-end processes, which facilitates automation at scale and drives overall better business outcomes.
A cloud-enabled intelligent automation platform connects all these technologies, allowing businesses to achieve transformative change faster. Companies benefit from their provider’s economies of scale, skills, and experience, which saves investing their own resources into developing such capabilities. For organizations with an established Center of Excellence (CoE), a cloud-based intelligent automation platform allows for focus on automations without waiting for IT teams to build and develop the needed infrastructure for each advanced technology. By utilizing a provider’s cloud-based services, CoEs no longer have to deal with execution bottlenecks due infrastructural challenges. This drastically reduces time to value, empowering organizations to drive their overall transformation plans and make their operations increasingly competitive.
How do businesses get cloud right?
Businesses should start by looking at the bigger picture and making sure their cloud adoption goals are aligned with overall company and digital transformation goals. This type of vision requires high-level executive sponsorship to champion these objectives and vision across the organization. At the end of the day, nothing will slow down a digital transformation initiative more than an unsupportive work culture. You also need people to look at cloud adoption across the organization and ensure transformation is coordinated, aligned, and efficient. Similarly, senior team members need to look beyond tasks to end-to-end processes and how cloud-enabled technologies can automate these processes to support workers and customers.
Done right, the cloud is an important enabler of true digital transformation, providing all the tools needed for rapid and transformative digitalization. The infrastructure offers the customizability needed for businesses to devise automation plans that will have the greatest impact on their operations. The ability to adopt cloud with flexible deployment options has also opened up this facilitator of transformation to historically hesitant sectors, like healthcare and financial services. With solutions today, organizations can adopt a private or hybrid cloud model to meet investor and regulatory requirements.
Automation at scale better supports workers to tackle complex tasks, allows processes to operate more efficiently, gives more time to valuable resources, fosters innovation, and improves returns on investment. Across 2023 and beyond, cloud will play a central role in empowering organizations with the power of intelligent automation at scale.