More energy companies are turning to automation technology. But it’s critical to start off on the right track. Blue Prism Cloud has a free ebook outlining how, plus seven key pointers below.
The dual challenge of complex evolving regulatory demands and a fierce competitive landscape is seeing more utilities and energy companies turning to automation technology.
The take up of automation has been largely driven by the need for cost savings, improvements in customer services and efficiency in back-office operations. However, to remain competitive, the future of utilities companies and the wider energy market relies on using technology to go further – by applying intelligent automation to drive new at scale efficiencies and innovation.
Moving beyond tactical implementations of RPA to a more strategic vision requires intelligent automation capabilities, such as AI and machine learning. Cognitive technologies like this expand the pool of processes which can be automated and enhance the control function of the digital workers, both of which are arguably essential for any sustained automation strategy.
While the importance of the technology itself should not be overlooked, it’s not enough on its own to ensure success. Business leaders must also work on keeping their automation strategy continually aligned to business needs and under regular review.
With that in mind, through market research with utilities and energy companies, Blue Prism Cloud has identified seven essential elements needed to create a scalable automation programme. You can also read about these in more depth by downloading the ebook.
1 – Internal skills development
Depending on the automation platform a company chooses there isn’t always a need to bring in outside RPA expertise. But regardless of what technology is deployed, enabling employees to be able to use automation by expanding their skill-set is essential to success.
2 – Engagement between departments
25% of utilities leaders said that engagement between business and IT stakeholders was a main operational challenge to scaling automation. It’s crucial to keep open lines of communication between stakeholders and work collaboratively to get the most value from an automation project.
3 – Win over your workforce
Employees are naturally suspicious of anything that can take over parts of their job, even if it is no threat to them. It is essential to be understanding of fears and communicate why you are using automation. From there, you can crucially win over your workforce and start working towards success. Because once they’re won over, the next step towards scale is moving them from simple buy-in to proactive ownership of their digital workforce.
4 – Changing your goals
The goals you want to achieve with automation will naturally evolve over time. While most companies start out focused on specifics such as cost savings and improving customer service, in order to find the true value of automation at scale, organisations must aim for broader goals such as improved productivity and accelerating product release.
5 – The right operating model
77% of utilities leaders said that expanding distributed expert teams was the best way to accelerate adoption of automation. By moving away from a central automation management model, to distribute automation expertise across departments, companies can quickly implement specialised functional automations such as switching customers to new tariffs or managing engineer appointments.
6 – Digital workforce management
Two aspects of digital workforce management are important to note. Firstly, ensuring that the tools are in place to manage automation lifecycles effectively. Some automations will be implemented and run indefinitely, and others will be put in place for a specific project with a finite timescale. Bot utilization is second area of focus. Where digital workers are owned and operated within individual teams to run just one or two processes, this isn’t using them to their full potential. An intelligent digital worker should be able to run processes from any department to fill their 24 hours a day, 7 days a week capacity. Again, it’s important to have the right tools to manage this.
7 – Licence and virtualization management
When you have multiple RPA licences within your organization, managing them and their users can become cumbersome. Similarly, virtualization technology is important for scaling to avoid reliance on IT for managing physical hardware.
These are just a few of the considerations to be made when planning for the future of automation in an organisation. To help utilities and energy companies meet their regulatory, customer and environmental responsibilities, technology such as intelligent automation will become invaluable. Read this case study of Utilita and Blue Prism Cloud to learn how they are using the technology now and their plans for scale.
For a chat about intelligent automation or visit our website cloud.blueprism.com.