When we consider what makes a business a truly Intelligent Enterprise, we typically envisage the mix of operational and information technology required to optimise a company’s operations.

In a prior blog, the move from an operational to an outcome based focus was outlined as a critical mindset shift, paving the way to develop new business models rather than simply optimise existing processes.

As we’ve seen through the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns and solutions offered by SAP to check in on staff working from home, we also need to consider how technology can improve the experience for staff, beyond simplifying existing business processes.

Looking at emerging technology solutions, such as Intelligent Robotic Process Automation and the major benefits that can be achieved applying this solution to enable time savings and quality improvements, we need to look at the problem being solved not just from a process perspective. We also need to consider the people element and more importantly, the experience being delivered to employees to the same extent we now look at the customer experience.

For many business processes, the insights and skillsets brought by employees with many years’ experience in a domain are critical in maintaining a competitive edge, or perhaps required for regulatory reasons. While medical images can be interpreted by algorithms, we still rely on the expertise of radiologists and other medical professionals to analyse these insights and communicate the results and meet required medical professional standards.

This is an important factor in the design phase of automating processes – understanding those parts of a process that can be completely automated, those that need to be “augmented” by people with skills and expertise (this could be in-process supervision, quality assurance or other review mechanisms) and finally those aspects that must be undertaken by employees due to regulatory reasons or scenario complexity e.g. when a specific scenario is presented that can’t be automated.

A lens needs to be applied beyond just this process view – taking a “people first” approach to a situation or automation scenario to understand what employees are both good at and also enjoy doing – be it social interaction through to the opportunity to apply their valuable skills across a range of operational issues or perhaps customer engagements. Solutions such as Qualtrics are perfect to be able to ascertain these sorts of views and ideas when changing from a process- to a people- mindset as part of becoming an Intelligent Enterprise.

One current focus for SAP’s Innovation Services & Services Ventures’ group is on enabling energy traders at Australia’s leading utilities to optimise the energy trading process – using the insights from Machine Learning applied across massive datasets to empower traders in applying their expertise to trading decisions.

Rather than completely automating the trading process, our research has shown the insights traders have built up in understanding all facets of the market are critical to the operational and financial success of utilities. There is a role for technology derived insights to inform these traders, however by taking a people-led view of trading, not just process-led, our solution will enable utilities to continue on the path of becoming Intelligent Enterprises.

This article originally published on Linkedin.