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Keep up with the latest digital transformation trends and learn how automation and AI are revolutionizing the future of work across industries.

For automation success, understand your organizational structure

Successful, scalable automation applies to people across the entire enterprise, not to just a few, and a company’s automation journey should reflect that.

When it comes to planning and implementing automation, we’ve explored how more than half of companies have piloted at least some sort of automation technology within their organization—57%, according to McKinsey & Company. Yet only 9% feel they’ve scaled these efforts department- and company-wide for maximum benefit.

Lacking information about the right platform for your business as well as significant consulting costs are often among the deterrents to piloting automation in favor of the status quo. And for those who do implement, poor planning and rigid, inflexible technology can cause failure to scale for true transformation across the enterprise. 

One of the lesser talked about issues to explore when planning an automation strategy, however, involves the organizational factors that may either support or prevent proper execution as your business progresses through its automation journey.

For example, understanding how job title affects which person or which team should lead the charge on automation, and clearly communicating benefits and opportunities to employees company-wide to get full buy-in are just a few factors to consider when planning your digital strategy. 

After all, successful, scalable automation applies to people, data and systems across the entire enterprise, not to just a few. 

Let’s explore a few of these ideas below, from our recent data study, “The Real State of Automation Progress,” for more insight. 


Job title influences automation leadership

When automation first entered the scene as a way to bolster operational efficiency for businesses, decision makers were fewer and farther between—mostly executives and other stakeholders that controlled budget. 

As automation becomes more ubiquitous, however, the degree of influence and familiarity still weighs heavier at the top, but more and more enterprises should be looking to other leaders to weigh in, like directors and managers, as well as frontline employees who are the most familiar with processes primed for automation.

As expected, familiarity with automation increases as an employee goes up in ranks, according to the study. Some 71% of members of the C-suite report they’re “extremely familiar” with automation, followed by VPs/directors at 59%, and managers at 48%. 

However, familiarity with automation doesn’t always correspond to an executive’s influence in the decision-making process. The majority of higher-ups say they’re plugged into process automation decisions, at 89%, but only 41% of managers say they are “extremely influential” in purchasing a new tool. 

This begs the question: should the purchase decision lie entirely in the hands of the most top-line executives, or involve front-line employees who are most familiar with the day-to-day processes that would most benefit from automation? This leads us to our next point.


The value of frontline employees’ opinion on process automation 

In spite of the common misnomer that automation is responsible for mass layoffs, more employees are beginning to understand that not only is that not the case, but automation actually empowers them to do their job more effectively. 

In fact, 92% of employees surveyed are familiar with the concept of automation—with 51% saying they’re extremely familiar—and of that group, 93% believe it will make their jobs easier.  

We found that employees who are hesitant when it comes to the value of automation tend to know less about it, and those who are more educated see the vital role it can play not just within their own department, but organization-wide.

As a part of your company’s automation journey, you should make it a top priority to educate employees on the benefits and opportunities of automation, as well as outline what the implementation process will look like for each department. 

The value here is two-fold. Firstly, employees will feel more informed and you’ll receive more optimism and buy-in as your company begins your transformation. And secondly, your frontline teams can be an invaluable resource when applying automation, as they’re the most familiar with department-specific processes and will likely have the most insight in how to best utilize the technology.  




See how leaders at companies like Catalytic customer Bosch created governance structure to tame software sprawl and achieve impactful process automation. 

Read Forrester report

Written by Catalytic