Technology Forrester: The new automation fabric is where digital business happens
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Automation is changing the paradigm that development was limited to app development and delivery professionals with specialized skills, a new report from Forrester finds. Today, withtools and builders, "business users and non-coders can now build bespoke workflows and customized functionality," according to the Automation is the New Fabric for Digital Business report.
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But a piecemeal approach to automation technology has created as many problems as it has solved, according to the report. One issue is that tactical automation undersells transformative potential.
While automation is the enabler supporting transformation at multiple levels, "tactical, cost-focused automation disconnected fromgoals can inhibit this broader vision."
Other issues outlined in the report:
Islands of automation lead to a myopic view of the possible. Companies are crisscrossed by multiple automation programs that each exist in its own silo. For example, a company's finance team may use RPA while the IT team champions low-code orand the contact center dabbles in chatbots. Automation silos between different tech initiatives prevent teams from reaping the obvious synergies between these convergent technologies.
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Overreliance on a single automation technology causes suboptimal outcomes. Companies can overcommit to a given automation technology without considering whether it's the best approach to achieve a goal. This syndrome can be avoided by using holistic automation governance approaches.
The report quotes Pavan Subramanya, director of intelligent automation at Fiserv, who said the company has pivoted to focus on the business problem rather than the technology to solve it. "Today, our automation architects' approach is to design the technology solution using multiple tools to deliver the most optimal solution that fits the business case," Subramanya said. "All technologies are open for consideration, including low-code applications, chatbots, RPA, BPMS, IVR automation, SMS gateways and AI."
Tactical approaches create technical debt. Tactical automation can often temporarily patch over pockets of inefficiency, allowing CIOs and CFOs to defer modernization investments, the Forrester report said. The tactical approach "only lets inefficient legacy processes and applications stay broken. And if you let processes proliferate without strong governance, automation might only end up making them more brittle. This causes unpredictability in the short term and creates long-term technical debt, which impedes transformation later," the report said.
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The automation fabric unifies diverse technology options
Today's diverse automation options are already beginning to coevolve and converge into a broad weave—a "fabric"— that sits above the app layer, Forrester said. This fabric combines digital workers and AI agents such as chatbots with event-based and integration-centric orchestration.
Forrester defines the automation fabric as a system for whole-of-business automation that integrates multiple adjacent and complementary automation technologies, process architectures, organizational behaviors and partner co-innovation models, to support the goals of human-centered automation and an autonomous enterprise.
An automation fabric is not a product available on the market but organizations can buy the technologies that they need to flexibly address their transformation goals, Forrester said.
Within the fabric, automation is the application
The automation fabric is weaving together diverse technologies to reduce the complexity of underlying application and process landscapes, enabling work and empowering workers, the report said.
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When this occurs, the fabric starts acquiring characteristics such as processes woven throughout, and the ability for applications to "express themselves through the fabric," the report said.
The fabric also orchestrates interactions between humans and bots. AI capabilities are injected into the fabric, which offers opportunities for new forms of engagement. The fabric's extensibility also promises support for future use cases, the report said.
"Many real-world processes are disconnected from the ambit of process automation. Imagine a world where a user-created workflow triggers an automated process that ends in a robot flipping a burger or a drone delivering a package," the report said. "Such workflows are difficult to engineer today but will become commonplace in three years as sensors, drones,and proliferate. Due to its flexibility and openness, the automation fabric can extend to support cloud robotics platforms and several emerging use cases."
The report recommends organizations adopt five behaviors to help create success with the automation fabric:
- CEOs and heads of digital must embrace and drive automation as a "strategic motion. Set a "big hairy audacious goal" to achieve automation-fueled transformation. Enterprises that excel at automation will obliterate competitors that do not.
- Converge fragmented automation initiatives rather than allowing these technologies to remain in their own silos. Unify multiple automation skillsets such as RPA, low-code, APIs, and into a common framework.
- Use balanced scorecards to govern automation and provide visibility into its true impact.
- Empower business users to lead the charge. Let them build and support automations.
Make user and customer experience a key focus. Automation design often has no user experience or CX support. This is at odds with the fact that employees and customers are often those who interact the most with automation. Organizations must make CX tools, such as customer journey mapping, a core part of the automation toolkit, the report said.
The future of digital commerce is composable and connected
As we begin to look at the future beyond "the new normal", it's becoming apparent that we are in a brand new era of digital experiences - and the commerce platforms and solutions required will need to evolve to support it. So what is so different and necessary with digital commerce platforms of the future? To better understand the future of digital commerce, I asked Igor Faletski, vice president of products at Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and former co-founder of Mobify, a headless e-commerce company which was acquired by Salesforce in 2020, to share his thoughts on architectural and design innovation in digital commerce.
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Fox Sports executive vice president (digital) David Katz is leaving in September, raising questions about where they go next .
We’ve seen Fox Sports’ digital presence go through a number of evolutions over the past decade, from several different expansion approaches under executives like Pete Vlastelica, Mark Pesavento, and Mike Foss, through dramatic layoffs and refocusings (including eventually eliminating written content) when president of national networks Jamie Horowitz was also given digital oversight, through the Read more The post Fox Sports executive vice president (digital) David Katz is leaving in September, raising questions about where they go next appeared first on Awful Announcing.