In the full article published in The Enterprisers Project, I offer 3 important considerations for CIOs who are ready to embark on enterprise automation. How can we ensure that automation is in compliance with company governance, both at the project level and at the corporate level?
Here are some common governance mistakes CIO can avoid as automation takes hold in the organization.
Mistake 1: Allowing too many functions to be automated without governance because it's "easy"
Easy availability of low-code tools has made it easier for business lines to get the capabilities they want without IT involvement. Business Process Management (BPM) tools aimed at “citizen developers” and the heavy push for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) means that IT doesn’t always know what and how automation is being integrated into business work and operational processes.
Whether appropriate levels of security and project policies are followed comes down to whether or not the manager remembers to consider it.
The role of the CIO is to be sure that organizational responsibility, quality control, financial compliance, security, and other governance requirements are understood well enough so that they are taken into consideration from the start by the responsible managers, or that those managers know when to ask the technical team for help to ensure compliance.
Mistake 2: Waiting for business project leaders to ask for help
The technical team should work with business from the beginning on both process automation (BPM) and task automation (RPA) projects.
Business’s job is to ensure that technologies comply with business processes and compliance rules; IT’s job is to help make sure that technologies are appropriately implemented - for example, that processes are secure and they don’t unintentionally expose sensitive information.
It’s up to the CIO to assure that the IT team culture is one of cooperation with business as equals on the team, not a resource that’s deployed only when a need is perceived.
Mistake 3: Trusting that teamwork will just happen
It’s easy to say that IT and business teams should be well integrated, with a high level of trust and good communication – but saying it doesn’t make it so. So how can we actually help ensure that collaboration and trust are established so communication about automation decisions and governance happens in a timely fashion?
We have seen the most success with process automation in companies that establish a “Center of Excellence” (CoE) for their automation projects.
A CoE includes key business and IT representation and responsibilities at multiple levels, from C-Suite to project leaders, and fosters collaboration by its nature.
A healthy CoE can help IT keep an eye on what and how automation is being integrated into business work through BPM, RPA, AI, and other implementations at various levels; it can circumvent the need for managers to ask for help or the need for IT constantly to assert its authority whether invited or not. And in the best case, corporate and project governance is “baked in” from the beginning of every project, whether carefully planned or ad hoc.
Of course, CIOs know better than to not pay attention, wait for someone to ask, or to leave good teamwork to chance – but as with all best practices, stating them explicitly is a good way to center them for better action.