Elli Hurst
July 11, 2019

Adopting Automation at scale in pursuit of Operational Excellence

Elli Hurst has written an article on her interpretation of the Global State of Operational Excellence Survey Report - Critical Challenges & Future Trends - 2018/2019.  Click here to download the full Survey Report 2018/19.  

The Most Comprehensive Study of Critical Challenges and Future Trends within Operational Excellence

With nearly 1000 respondents, 37 insightful questions, detailed analysis & insights from 40 industry thought leaders, and the BTOES Insights executive team, this 130 page report is recognised as the most comprehensive study of critical challenges and future trends within Operational Excellence, and is considered a key resource for the industry. Areas covered include:

  • The Critical Operational Excellence Challenges faced by executives.

  • The Current Scope of Operational Excellence.

  • How is Operational Excellence success measured?

  • Key Findings & Roadblocks.

  • What are executives focusing on over the next 12-18 months?

  • What have been the greatest developments?

  • What are the key drivers pushing change in Operational Excellence?

  • Industry Perspectives.

  • Small, Medium & Large Corporation Perspectives.

  • Detail Analysis & Insights from BTOES Insights Executive Team.

  • Detailed Analysis & Insights from 40 Industry Thought Leaders.

  • Analysis of key themes, including Cultural Transformation, Customer Delight, Sustaining an Operational Excellence program, Need for end-to-end Business Transformation, Keeping up with new technologies/impact of digitalization and Leadership Buy-in & Understanding.


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Adopting Automation at scale in pursuit of Operational Excellence

I read this insightful report with great interest. Many of the findings resonated, and in particular, the challenges around people and culture.  The acceleration of technology across all areas of business is creating a shift in the type of work performed by employees and creating a culture of harmonization between humans and machines. Click here to read the full Survey Report 2018/19. 




Driving adoption and engagement

Many of our clients are seeking to adopt automation at scale in pursuit of operational excellence, and the frictionless customer journeys referred to in The Global state of Operational Excellence Report. Interestingly, often where they are most challenged is not in the technology, but in driving adoption and engagement.




As we advise our clients – it’s not about the bots, it’s about the humans.


In practice this means designing automation with empathy, and engaging with impacted teams from the outset to design new workflows that make the best use of a new, hybrid human and digital workforce. A related challenge is in the increased need for, as the report states, ‘digital talent’. We are also seeing a sharp increase in demand for ‘digital talent’ in the form of automation specialists. 

Adopting Automation at scale in pursuit of Operational Excellencey

These are not just developers and architects, but a new breed of Operational Excellence practitioners known as an Automation Process Consultant. These experts sit at the intersection of process excellence (many of them come with a background in Lean) and technical expertise (a working knowledge of automation solutions is vital). We anticipate more growth in this skill area, and many of our most exciting and impactful projects are focused on this ‘digital workforce’ space in tandem with the technology solutions.




End-to-end impact of change

To be truly effective, as the report observed, operational improvements need to consider the end-to-end impact of change. Over 30% of respondents found driving end-to-end change to be a critical challenge, and the challenge has only become more complex with the evolution of more sophisticated automation solutions. Yes, robotic automation can execute a single task flawlessly and at a high frequency – but connect it with machine learning, a cognitive chatbot and analytics and it can do so much more.


We are seeing the advent of intelligent workflows - truly digitized, end-to-end workflows (also known ‘no touch’ or straight through processing) which deliver the frictionless customer experience that is required to thrive in today’s market. This means improving not just one functional area’s processes, but transforming an entire integrated workflow or value stream. To do so requires engagement with stakeholders at a senior level, able to look horizontally across the business and with purview across the operational and system landscape.




Engaged workforce

It’s no mean feat, but for those who succeed the rewards are significant. We are seeing leading enterprises shift the balance of work from humans to technology and free up talent to innovate, to delight customers and to drive growth across the enterprise. The resulting ‘digital workforce’ is a fully transformed, extensible, pool of talent that brings the power of man + machine, resulting not only in competitive advantage, but also in an engaged workforce.

Want to learn more? Download the full Report.
Adopting Automation at scale in pursuit of Operational Excellence


About the Author 

Elli Hurst; Adopting Automation at scale in pursuit of Operational ExcellenceElli Hurst

Vice President, Automation, IBM

Elli Hurst is responsible for the strategy and development of Cognitive Enterprise Automation with a particular focus on automation for application management.

Elli's experience includes over 20 years in leadership roles within IBM in the application development management and innovation space, including deep expertise in global delivery models.Check out her LinkedIn page.



The issues in this article are just one of topic areas that are going to be discussed at the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence World Summit & Industry (BTOES19). March 18-22, 2019, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort®

BTOES is the industry’s biggest and best, senior-level, cross-industry gathering of Business Transformation & Operational Excellence industry leaders and senior executives.

It also hosts the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Awards, which showcase globally the most outstanding organizational achievements through the application of Operational Excellence programs.

The summits hosts a number of private forums for C-Level & Global corporate-level leaders as well as business unit heads.

With over 150 speakers, over 100 sessions, 12 Keynotes, 9 Track Themes, 5 parallel tracks, 60+ track sessions, 50 roundtable discussions, 20 Interactive Workshops, 6 Thought Leader Panels, 5 Leaders Boardrooms, 5 co-located events, the Industry Awards Program, Site Visits, 20+ hours of social networking including 2 gala cocktail parties, dinners, numerous group activities, this is the ultimate event to benchmark, network and drive Operational Excellence to the next level.


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There is a strong focus on Cultural Transformation, Customer Delight, Sustaining an Operational Excellence program, Need for end-to-end Business Transformation, Keeping up with new technologies/impact of digitalization and Leadership Buy-in & Understanding. We dedicated two tracks to advanced technologies, such as AI, Machine Learning, RPA, Predictive Analytics, Blockchain, Cloud infrastructure etc.


The agenda is designed to encourage active meaningful conversations though all day enhanced networking and interaction opportunities, including

  • All-day Refreshment & Themed Breaks

  • 1¼ Hour Hot Breakfast Networking Sessions

  • 1½ Hour Hot Plated Networking Lunches with Topic & Industry Sector focussed tables

  • 1½ Hour Roundtable Sessions by Topic & Industry Sector.

  • Keynote & Themes Panel Sessions

  • Hosted Welcome Receptions from 5.30pm

  • Expanded more lavish Awards Program

  • Newly launched Night Summit for attendees to meet after dinner

For more information or to discuss the summit in more detail please schedule a call below,

Click here to schedule a call. 


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