The most common point for Intelligent Automation (IA) programs to stall out is after the first set of 3-5 processes has been delivered. It’s natural to want to get some immediate points on the board by pursuing some low-hanging fruit, or easy candidates, and get them live and working for the business.

While this approach is perfectly suitable. With automation, demonstrating value to the business and building momentum is critical to long-term success. However, the relentless focus on ‘getting something live’ and ‘showing immediate value’ can often distract automation leaders from the longer-term objectives for IA in their business, which are presumably to facilitate some broader transformation or at least enable and deliver scaled benefits in the millions back to the business.  

Instead, the program’s focus and resources are allocated exclusively to the initial set of processes, with very little energy expended on solidifying the program’s foundations or the next wave of opportunities.  

What this typically leads to is a stagnant period after go-live, where resources and focus need to be re-aligned and the business re-engaged to identify the next opportunities. This can take weeks, and stall any of the momentum gained by first implementing automation.  

Here are a few tips to avoid your automation program stalling out:  

  1. Delegate 

As the Head of an Automation CoE, or as the program manager, it is highly unlikely that you will also be the lead technical authority. You really don’t need to be on as many in-depth calls as you might think, provided your team has clear and structured delegated authority to make decisions without you. In this way, you can enable better outcomes by pushing those decisions to the best-qualified team members, but also create time and space to focus on your role, which is engaging the business and being a highly visible champion for automation. 

Once you’ve delegated and bought yourself some breathing room, it’s time to focus on your pipeline. What comes next? Which business areas are you getting the most traction with? Who are your key sponsors and how can you best help them?  

2. Discover processes that make an impact 

It’s during this time that you should be conducting workshops with your internal customers and identifying where you can next target your analysts and developers. It’s especially crucial to ensure that the opportunities you’re identifying are growing in complexity and you look to deliver progressively greater returns to the business. Doing more of the same low-hanging fruit will please some but won’t get you to where you need to be.  

3. Focus on the wider automation roadmap 

Lastly, but crucially, don’t forget to project forward, anticipate growth and make sure that whoever is holding the purse strings knows you’ll need infrastructure, licenses, external support, and headcount – and, of course, that you’re expecting to give them a full ROI on those investments. Missing out on a budgeting cycle and the opportunity to grow your team can be a heavy blow for a nascent automation program.  

Trusted advisors to engage the business and find opportunities 

If this is resonating with you, and you feel you may benefit from some expert support to take your program to the next level, Tquila is here to assist. Schedule time with us and be sure to ask about our Prioritized Opportunity Pipeline methodology.