Quanton's World of Business Process Automation

Automation as a Strategic Lever

04-Jun-2020 13:13:39 / by Adam Taylor

Automation as a strategic lever


90-Days to immediate value with in-year pay-back


Automation is a strategic lever that will help innovative leaders drive rapid change to expedite the speed of transformation and support short-term business imperatives. Implemented correctly, Automation has the potential to provide immediate benefit with in-year pay-back on the total cost of ownership. And it’s possible to deliver a pilot into live production in under 90-days – we know this because we’ve done it for multiple clients.


This is the 3rd article in a 3-part content series. Part one addressed the growth in the global RPA market, followed by an article which explored how automation will support businesses through the coming challenges associated with Covid-19 and the impending recession. This article addresses what to focus on to create immediate business value.





The Covid-19 pandemic has forever altered the fabric of New Zealand. We have seen New Zealand’s economy shut down for more than a month and the changes to businesses have been dramatic. As we prepare for the impending level-1 lock-down rules the focus for businesses is now on business recovery. But for many, this is a complex challenge requiring a careful balancing act with resources, funding, customers and people.


Achieving short-term value from automation – rapid delivery with immediate benefit, is a team effort that requires a commitment from the businesses. If you believe that automation can help you address your unique business challenges, and you want to prove immediate value, the three things to focus on are to be agile, solve specific business problems and to understand the required level of return on investment.


Be Agile


The definition of insanity is to do things the same way you have always done and expect a different result.


If you want results in 60-90 days this is the opportunity to start thinking and doing differently.


Our recommendation, in the context of this conversation, is not to approach automation through your business as usual processes and governance structures.


Existing frameworks are typically geared towards minimizing risk, ensuring due diligence and balancing internal priorities, which while effective at their purpose, generally constrain the rate of change and transformation.


Set up a dedicated innovation or incubation lab. Governance and parameters are still important to ensure businesses make effective decisions – but to be agile you have to create a specific set of rules that allows a team the room to try, fail fast and learn – to succeed with the big wins and break throughs that can truly transform businesses. The rules and parameters that you apply to an ‘innovation lab’ have to sit outside your standard frameworks to create the capacity for speed and agility.


Involve only the people required to make decisions and involve the people who can make the decisions. Place the focus on what initiatives are attempted and what was learned, not on mitigating 100% of risks and completing extensive due diligence before something is attempted.


Understand what the minimum viable solution is. At this stage you are not attempting to deliver a perfect solution – determine what the minimum requirements are for the solution to work and eliminate any focus or effort outside of this scope. This is how you deliver a solution fast.


If we haven’t already made this clear, be prepared to step outside of your business as usual processes. If you work in I.T, security or risk pretend you’re not reading this sentence – you don’t need full infrastructure to run a pilot.

And if you’re gasping at that idea right now you would be surprised at how many major New Zealand brands started their programmes on a laptop.


It is time to get out of the boxes we’ve created for ourselves.


Solve Business Problems


Understand what the strategic levers and priorities are for the business. For businesses experiencing demand surges this may be resourcing customer facing processes. For businesses who have experienced disruption from out-sourced operating models this may be getting critical processes up and running back in your own operating model and for many cost control will be front of mind.


For business value to be real – any process which is automated must solve a problem that is aligned to current strategic priorities. Understand these levers and then identify the processes or areas of a business that align with your priorities.


There are two other imperatives which we include under this section: It is imperative to select a supportive area of the business, a team or department that will embrace automation and have the required stakeholders engaged.


Understand Return on Investment


If you want to deliver in-year benefit, you must first understand what level of return on investment is required to be successful. Understanding this parameter supports one of the most critical dependencies of delivering immediate value – selecting the right process.


The process you select to automate in your pilot is one of the single biggest critical dependencies on success – defined as rapid delivery with in-year payback and real business value.


The process you choose has to be low-complexity to reduce risk and right-sized to be delivered in a short time frame.


You must understand the required level of benefit. This will help you ensure you are only looking at and selecting processes with the potential to give you in-year payback and a level of immediate benefit.



Summary Left

The nirvana…… Deliver a pilot in 60-90 days to live production with immediate business benefit and in-year payback.

As Lincoln famously said, “give me eight hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first six sharpening my axe”.

Achieving this is possible if you are prepared to approach innovation differently. It is worth the investment to take a step back with your business and discuss how you will approach an automation pilot differently to be successful in this way.

It is possible. We know because we have helped businesses do this.

Summary Right



Further Reading 

Content Series Part One:Robotic Process Automation Market Growth and Adoption

Content Series Part Two:Can Automation be a Saviour for NZ's Economy Post-Covid?

Customer Case Studies


Topics: Digital Transformation, Automation Strategy, Winning in Recession, Business Process Automation, Future Operating Model

Adam Taylor

Written by Adam Taylor

Having spent over 15 years delivering world class Intelligent Automation and Digital Transformation Solutions across New Zealand, Australia and the U.S.A, Adam supports enterprises to create digital strategies and enable future operating models.

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