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Q2-2020: Top 10 automation partner requirements for finance and HR

In our Alight on episode, Cloud transformation during disruption and change, we discussed how the gaps in workforce seen around COVID-19 could lead to a profound acceleration of automation in the workplace. Alight has outlined the top 10 automation partner requirements your organization should look for to guarantee a successful deployment.

There are many automation technology and advisory partners out there competing for your business. Automation technology, ranging from robotic process automation (RPA) to Artificial Intelligence (AI) isn’t just hype. It’s here to stay and in more demand than ever as organizations ensure they are backed up for any changes or disruptions in their workforce. It’s mature, and it’s a critical tool in the never-ending need to be faster, cheaper and better.

What is required in an automation partner? Here are a few suggestions for organizations.


1. Fast
Automation partners should know the most common challenges organizations face and have standard bots that directly solve those problems. If designed well, standard bots shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks to implement.

2. Easy
Your automation partners should be able to implement their standard RPA solutions in the background. You should be able to give them system, data and document access and let them proceed with their day-to-day tasks with little involvement from you. Implementing standard bots is not an IT project, its an activity.

3. Proven
If your automation partners have mature offerings, they should be able to prove that their solutions work using your latest data. In addition, they should be able to use these test results to help you build a credible business case to support a “go” versus “no-go” decision.

4. Self-funded
True partners put their money where their mouths are. They are willing to charge for their services in a way that allows you to be cash-positive from the beginning. If your automation partners truly believe in their services, they should be willing to consider putting their fees at risk if certain performance measures are not achieved.

5. Secure
Security is a non-negotiable. Insist that your automation partners comply with your data and file-sharing demands. Let them prove that they have passed third party security audits and comply with all laws and regulations.

6. Scalable and Adaptable
If you are typical, you are constantly changing. You are acquiring, divesting, reorganizing and changing technology platforms. Your automation solutions should be able to easily absorb growth and be able to adapt to change with minimal disruption.

7. Evolving
Bots are not the be-all, end-all. Automation is only as good as the underlying end-to-end processes. Automation solutions should come with diagnostics that explain where and why automation was not possible. This process-mining should be used as a foundation for continuous process improvement and for continually increasing automation percentages.

8. Integrated
Automation solutions should be seamless. Bots should be fully integrated with underlaying technology architecture, otherwise manual steps will still be required, redundant validation rules will be in place, or other inefficiencies will exist. You should be given integration choices, for example, API versus upload template versus automated user interface input. You should discuss and understand the options and pros/cons with your partner.

9. Forward-looking
Automation programs often start with transactional, data-driven processes for which there are proven automation solutions. These processes usually reside in the back-office. Many of the related functions are similar across industries such as recruiting, onboarding, invoice processing and cash application. Consequently, if your automation partner has enough experience, they should have a point-of-view on which processes are the best early candidates for automation. Your partner should be able to help you quickly arrive at a high-level automation roadmap.

10. Insightful
Automation solutions should help you move beyond becoming faster and cheaper and help you get better and become more insightful. Your solutions should not only automate a portion of the work and they should help you understand how to increase your automation percentage. A good partner should also help you spot and fix control issues, self-explain variances, improve forecasts and ultimately help you make better decisions. Ask your partner how their solutions will help you enhance your business insight.

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