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The Digital Transformation End-Game: Automation

How It Drives Better Decision-Making, Business Value and Customer Satisfaction

July 28, 2021

The Digital Transformation End-Game: Automation
By Cheryl Rang, Director of Advanced Solutions, Ingram Micro

You’ve likely heard the popular saying, “Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees”—meaning, it’s easy to lose perspective on the big picture when preoccupied with smaller details.

Believe it or not, this can happen during an enterprise’s digital transformation, especially during complex, multi-phased evolutions—like the transition to a multi-hybrid cloud environment. With several layers of strategic discovery, technology selection and implementation—which can often take weeks, months or even years—it can be easy to lose sight of the objective.

It helps to step back and remember the end goal: the ability to scale and transform your enterprise to bring increased cost optimization and value, both to your business and your customers.

In the case of cloud adoption, your transformation happens by achieving a series of milestones, which we’ve outlined here. By seeing this “big picture,” you’ll know exactly where you fall in the overall process and what you need to do next to move forward.

Step 1: Get your data in order.
The first step is assessing where all your data is, collecting it, cleaning it, organizing it and making sure it’s located in the right places. That also means “containerizing” it—making sure it’s portable enough to migrate workloads between environments when needed to ensure better agility, security and cost optimization.  

Unfortunately, many cloud customers and partners are learning that it’s not always easy to move workloads in and out of AWS, Azure or Google full-cloud environments. Oftentimes, this work proves to be challenging, time consuming and costly. But there are downsides to keeping all your data in on-prem data centers, too.

What businesses really need is the perfect combination of the two—a multicloud hybrid environment. They need reliability, scalability for growth and control to determine where applications should run, depending on workload needs and timing. Read more on why flexibility and containerization through Red Hat OpenShift are key components of the most agile cloud solutions, here.

Step 2: Leverage AI technology for smarter decision-making.
Once you have a more efficient way of using your data, you can start to prioritize your next steps. You’ll need to hone your focus and determine how best to use your data to make process improvements across the enterprise.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can help you make the right decisions at the right time. By applying AI and automation across your hybrid cloud landscape, you can produce intelligent workflows and speed digital reinvention. Decisions can be made faster and with more confidence. You can implement automation to streamline low-value menial tasks. Customers can have better experiences and employees can focus on higher-value work.

AI can help you decide what processes to automate and how to automate them.

For example, within IBM’s hybrid cloud, Watson AI technology can scan across numerous workloads and environments—looking for ways to improve data sets, cost usage and consumption models to provide value back to customers. It can identify hotspots and bottlenecks in your operations, predict outcomes, run simulations, build contingency plans and provide guidance to make forward-looking decisions. Learn how it all works.

Armed with this information, you can take steps toward implementing automation across your multi-hybrid cloud environment—whether that includes using bots or AI or other automated tools to streamline processes. Read more about how AI can function across a hybrid cloud.

Step 3: Automate to remove human interaction.
After you understand precisely how automated processes can streamline tasks, save time and bring new value to your business, you need to deploy the right technology, trust the process and remove yourself as a barrier to progress.

In terms of technology, IBM Cloud Paks for Automation provide a complete and modular set of AI-powered automation capabilities to tackle common and complex operational challenges.

This technology can have a profound effect on business and operational outcomes.

Case in point: By applying IBM automation technology, the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) for a state in the southeastern U.S. transformed overburdened administrative processes and brought critical efficiencies to its public defense system. With 135,000 claims per year—and counting—these processes, and the staff whose manual work kept them moving, were struggling to keep up. In fact, more than 70,000 claims were on hold due mostly to simple errors that couldn’t be resolved until administrative staff manually notified the submitters.

Using IBM Cloud Pak for Automation, the AOC built a single integrated framework that automated the entire indigent defense claims process, from initial submission, workflow and reporting to approval by the chief justice and finally, payment. Read the full story.

The bottom line: With AI functioning in the background to help you make cost-efficient decisions about your data, and after you’ve learned to trust in those decisions, your job is to extricate yourself from the situation and redeploy your team’s time in new ways that add value.

That’s what digital transformation is all about. And with partners like IBM and Ingram Micro, this end goal is well within reach. The team offers free assessments and consultations to help enterprises of all sizes design, implement and reap the benefits of automation.

Cheryl Rang is Ingram Micro’s Director of Advanced Solutions for IBM and the recipient of several industry awards—the recent 2021 CRN Women of the Channel Award, and 2020 CRN 100 Rising Females in the Channel.