Delivering more for less

Delivering more for less
Delivering more for less

The value of enterprise automation platforms

 

There is tech for everything these days. Tools for a particular department’s needs, those of a certain region, all designed to make business processes easier, cheaper, and more accurate. 

Though despite the wide availability of off-the-shelf ‘‘point solution’ tech (i.e., tech that helps do one specific thing), adopting a wide range of these tools is neither the best idea, nor the most realistic. 

Firstly, you can quickly end up with a very fragmented tech stack. By this, I mean that you possess a range of digital tools but they lack proper integration capabilities: systems which lack the ability to ‘speak’ to each other. Secondly, the cost of implementing a comprehensive suite of tools consisting of individual purchases can rapidly balloon. 

This neatly ties into the issue of how realistic it is. You need to convince stakeholders (and your finance team) that each and every one of these purchases will deliver value – or more importantly, sufficient value to justify the cost. Ultimately, this means budget requests end up getting pared down to the one or two pieces of tech you really need, and the others get left out. 

 

What if there was another way? Well, imagine still getting everything in that long tech shopping list, but under one purchase. This is the world of enterprise automation platforms. 

 

Enter: Enterprise automation platforms 

Enterprise automation platforms are digital tools (or toolsets) which allow businesses to automate a variety of things in one place. 

The idea here is that you get the benefits of multiple digital tools – perhaps a contract generator, onboarding workflows, tax tools, risk assessments – from one single software purchase. 

Beyond security and reliability up to the standards of any large corporation, the thing that makes them ‘enterprise’ is the fact that these platforms can be used by a number of different business departments. Procurement can have their own tools, legal has theirs, finance gets to dabble as well. 

Quickly, you’re consolidating a huge range of needs, requests, and even existing tools through one purchase, and making moves towards that Target Operating Model. 

 

How do they actually work? 

These platforms can be a little difficult to visualize. Many of them are ‘no-code’, drag-and-drop digital whiteboard tools, which allow you to map out your process and build in logic to automate it. If X clause is present in the contract, send it to Y in the legal team. If supplier risk is low (based on-predetermined parameters), allow Z to generate the engagement letter themselves by putting in some basic info. 

 

It can be a huge range of things, for practically any business process. Build in controls, your risk appetite, approval processes, or whatever a particular process may require. You can dive into our Use Case Ebook to explore just some of the possibilities. 

 

The less the better? 

Aside from being a purchase delivering value across different departments and use cases, there are a range of other reasons why investing in an enterprise automation platform is a more effective way to deliver on innovation.

Firstly, these platforms allow you to build totally tailored solutions – it’s what you need, how you need it. You have customizability built in to ensure that your tools deliver as much value as possible, integrate with any other relevant tools, and work how you need them to. 

With this customizability comes scalability. Let’s say you work in procurement. Perhaps for now you just need an internal purchase request tool, but later down the line you want to add an approval workflow, purchase order creation, vendor management component, and an invoice processing tool. You can build all this out over time, and just add these modules to an existing automated workflow

An aspect of this scalability is being able to respond with agility to changing rules and regulations. Need to check certain transactions against a tax regime they may now fall under? Just sketch out and build a new tool. Maybe you’re in a law firm and your clients now need to establish whether they are affected by the Corporate Transparency Act. Build an app to ask them questions and determine their circumstances (you can see a live app for that here). Essentially, while new problems may require new solutions, they won’t require new purchases. Just hit the ‘create application’ button, and get started. 

 

Saving money and getting more from it 

With this approach often come significant cost-savings. You can quickly have 5, 10, 15, 20 live automation tools far more cost-effectively than going shopping for individual software products.

It’s hard to avoid the fact of stronger return on investment – and getting to this point of strong ROI much quicker – with a purchase covering a whole range of use cases and business challenges.

But beyond that, it becomes far easier to make the case to finance to go for one ‘thing’ which will help you with a number of processes – and makes the vendor management process significantly simpler. Better still, join forces with other departments (or a centralized innovation team) and deliver value across multiple teams. 

 

Centralized data 

Having a range of workflows and tools under one roof also means that their data is also under one roof. You can track and analyze data from a variety of processes in unified dashboards, understand where time is being spent, and identify bottlenecks with greater ease. 

The added benefit is that if you realize a new bottleneck, this is an opportunity to try to solve it with another tool (or editing one which already exists). While it may not be your first thought, centralizing data in this manner is a driver for continuous improvement and developing a sustainable roadmap for innovation – capture learnings, implement solutions, rinse, and repeat. 

 

Bringing things together 

It’s best to look at enterprise automation platforms as central hubs. There’s still value in certain point solution purchases which do very specific things (like e-signature tools, CRMs, etc.), but you quickly build out a far more effective core to your tech stack with these enterprise platforms. Integrations are often a key component of these tools, meaning that you can streamline and enhance the interplay between existing systems as well as deploying new tools. 

It’s hard to overstate the crucial value of these platforms: being enabled to automate a whole range of processes – exactly how you want them automated – with one piece of software. The argument is really quite simple. Don’t compromise on your needs, and be better prepared for the future. 

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