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Here’s why your IT team could be holding you back

You're the chief executive officer of a major financial services provider.

Challenger banks are snapping at your heels, innovating new mobile payment solutions on applications being launched at a pace you and your team can't even comprehend.

It's time to innovate. Time to turn the tables on these young, agile organizations and deliver the new digital services your customers are demanding.

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But there's a problem. Innovation runs through your business like glue. And the reason for that stickiness is a lack of collaboration and understanding between your IT department and the rest of the business. Your IT staff are overwhelmed by manual, repetitive processes such as software development, the financial close process and digesting huge amounts of data.

They don't have time collaborate with the business and focus on innovation. If they stop what they are doing to concentrate on innovating new services, your business stops.

Research from consulting firm CEB found that 57% of IT budgets are still spent on maintaining existing service levels, or optimizing an existing IT asset.

There's nothing new in this "keeping-the-lights-on" activity. But now there is a solution that'll tackle the problem comprehensively and in a way that each piece of the IT puzzle is considered.

Intelligent, dynamic organizations are now using business automation to automate those everyday business and IT processes that absorb resources like a sponge. By using automation to free up multi-skilled, multi-disciplined talent across the business, the organization can focus on what matters most: innovating new products and growing revenues.

In the case of the CEO of the financial services organization, that means IT and the business working closer together, beating the challenger banks to market with that killer new banking app.

This is "human-centric automation"; freeing up talent to improve IT/business collaboration and drive new initiatives.

Human-centric automation enables the digital transformation you need to innovate and survive. That might be new cloud-based services that drive top line revenue, or mobile apps that make it easier for your customers to transact with you on the move, or finally, even Internet of Things solutions that exchange data remotely opening up entirely new business models.

In the past, automation has often been associated with removing labor from a process to cut costs and resources. By contrast, human-centric automation lights the blue touch paper on disruptive, digital transformation opportunities throughout the organization—like cloud, mobile and Internet of Things, which deliver revenue growth.

Just as crucially, those expensive IT staff that are sat hunched over a PC monitoring various processes are now free to use their knowledge, skills, and experience to work with the business to develop next-generation ideas.

Several years ago, the stark message for big business was "innovate or die." That's just as true today. The world is moving fast—customer expectations are changing, and competitors are always catching up and threatening to take away business.

Whatever the solution, human-centric automation opens the door to a multitude of other business opportunities. And in the process, those humans you free from the mundane will be happier, more productive and loyal. So as long as humans are part of the business equation, which I believe will be forever, let's set them free to innovate!

Todd DeLaughter is chief executive of Automic.

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