We Need to Rediscover the Relevance of Cross-Functional Automation

by Charles Araujo | February 23, 2023

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The Hot Take
  • Failed business process re-engineering efforts in the 90’s led enterprises to focus on functionally-centered automation
  • Efficiency gains from functionally-driven automation efforts are running out of steam
  • The technology is finally ready to revisit the potential power of a true end-to-end, cross-functional approach to automation

I know I’m dating myself, but who here remembers the era of “business process re-engineering”?

Pre-dating the first tech boom, the concept was that you could take a fresh look at industrial age business processes, reimagining them to create immense efficiency and optimization. The problem, of course, was that these highly complex, end-to-end business processes were bigger than a breadbox, leading to never-ending projects that consumed vasts amounts of resources and delivered, at best, iffy results.

At the time, many executives and pundits threw the baby out with the bathwater claiming that these sort of efforts were rarely worth the investment.

In my opinion, much of the problem was that organizations simply lacked the technology to both deconstruct business processes and then automate them in this sort of true, end-to-end and cross-functional way.

But that doesn’t mean that it was the wrong idea.

The result was that organizations put all of their focus on simpler, functionally-oriented automation — and saw great returns for their efforts. But much of that low-hanging fruit has (finally) been harvested and organizations are now finding that it’s getting harder and harder to get the same kind of returns from these targeted efforts.

I believe the pathway to recapturing those outsized gains in not only efficiency, but also in the customer and employee experience (which was part of the original remit), is to go back to the initial goal by looking at the opportunities found in reimagining and automating end-to-end, cross-functional processes.

The good news is that I think the technology available today is finally up to the task.

I’ll be exploring this topic in more detail in an upcoming deep dive for AgilePoint, so stay tuned!

I’d love to hear what you think about this topic.

#Automation #BPM #BusinessProcessReengineering #Efficiency #CrossFunctional

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About the author 

Charles Araujo

Charles Araujo is a technology analyst and internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise, the Digital Experience and the Future of Work. Researching Digital Transformation for over 10 years, he is now focused on helping leaders transform their organizations around the digital experience and to reimagine the future of work. Publisher and principal analyst of The Digital Experience Report, founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation, co-founder of The MAPS Institute, and author of three books, he is a sought-after keynote speaker and advisor to technology companies and enterprise leaders.

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