Point of View

Kryon’s Automation Expedition must emphasize business outcomes and less hype

October 8, 2021

What would-be automation adopters must ask themselves is: Can the data and insights Kryon provides help us achieve our desired business outcomes more easily?

While Kryon’s customers were certainly hinting in that direction at its recent Automation Expedition event, they could be more straight-to-the-point about the outcomes they’re achieving. For example, Johnson & Johnson referenced process and systems improvements, but no tangible value in terms of quality, speed, or cost; bp, the energy major, commented on new and improved operating guides and training times, without a real cut-through outcome outlining the scale of change achieved.

Automation Expedition expands Kryon’s offerings and approach to RPA, process discovery and AI

In fine Kryon fashion, 2020’s well-humored Automation Olympics on-line event became 2021’s “Automation Expedition” with a glimpse into Indiana Jones and the Search for Kryon (in the Cave of Full-Cycle Automation).

Kryon’s CEO, Harel Tayeb, kicked off the event maintaining the firm’s positioning as the “leading full-cycle automation company,” with full-cycle automation (FCA) encompassing the marrying of process discovery and automation. He delivered a review of 2020 accomplishments, including Kryon’s cloud-based RPA-as-a-service (RPAaaS) launch and a nod to its real-time AI-enabled process discovery. The roadmap portion of the program was a bit murkier, but ultimately Tayeb landed on “base your decisions on data with Kryon” and underscored it with the two event announcements: the launch of a free process discovery as-a-service tool and a rearchitected Studio+. The former aims to enable more users to experience a taste of the burgeoning process intelligence market; the latter hopes to foster enhanced collaboration and ease of use between citizen and expert developers.

Kryon’s 2021 Automation Expedition must maintain an eye for outcomes

Kryon put forward two headline announcements at Automation Expedition:

  • A free software-as-a-service (SaaS) process discovery tool: 2020 saw Kryon delve into RPAaaS with AWS. Now, process discovery comes as-a-service in both free and enterprise-grade versions off the back of its acquisition of processdiscovery.com. The free version appears easily accessible and produces weekly process insights by linking to business apps across five team members and limited data. The enterprise version removes these limits, as you might expect.
  • The launch of a revamped Studio+: Designed “from scratch” to provide insight, connect process discovery and automation, and enable developer-business user collaboration, in 2022 Kryon will strengthen this offering as it keeps pushing the value of integrated full-cycle automation.

Despite the potential of these announcements to add a lot to the Kryon product suite and outcomes for its customers, these outcomes risk getting lost in the same hype gripping the broader automation market: the hype around cloud, SaaS, and “low-code” citizen development. Kryon echoed a market shouting that “the future of automation starts with SaaS.” But is this really the case? Its competition is going hard on automation in the cloud, integrating discovery, and promoting all-around process intelligence and integrated technologies—some of it for free. But in reality, who cares where automation is or how it comes once outcomes are clear?

In fine HFS fashion, we’re warning not to go too hard on any line of messaging that’s not linked clearly to business outcomes

What Kryon did well last year was focus on full-cycle automation throughout processes and the integration of automation, analytics, and AI plus process discovery, enabling these technologies to achieve their best potential. Kryon still has this mindset, but messaging must stay laser-focused on the value of process understanding and the resulting automation. Kryon’s goal is very much a product-led growth movement.

Full-cycle process automation is Kryon’s sweet spot. Discovery is not a prerequisite for automation, but it helps. Orchestration in an improved Studio+ will hopefully double-down on this sweet spot combination and full-cycle automation.

Kryon’s customers are finding new visibility, insight, and outcomes, but there’s room to simplify and focus on exactly what these customers are achieving

Brooks Olphin, Product Line Owner for Process and Task Mining at Johnson & Johnson, explained that the outcomes are in the technology’s own name: discovering the process. Johnson & Johnson is finding previously hidden specs, updating documents and standard operating procedures (SOPs), and using these to improve the training of new hires; Johnson & Johnson has also been able to identify broad improvements throughout processes and systems, forming the baselines for business roadmapping. However, it remains unclear what the tangible value of these measures is versus the status quo, Johnson & Johnson’s investments, and what other options they might have investigated.

Steve Sutton, a business process management (BPM) consultant at BP, discussed how the energy giant wanted to mitigate the risk of insourcing 1,600 FTEs (full-time equivalents), accelerate process document creation, and build a training tool. The company wanted to eliminate unnecessary process variance; many processes are in the “extreme legacy” category with the same departments doing the same stuff differently. BP created guide videos for repetitive processes, which reduced training times for new hires in areas with repetitive tasks performed in collaboration with attended bots. In the future, BP plans to use Kryon’s Studio+ to low-code automate processes. Like Johnson & Johnson’s example, while the challenges and outcomes are in the journey, they were at risk of being lost in the conversation for those not as attentive. A suggestion is leading from the front with outcomes aligned to business challenges and the overall business context; at each stage, go into more detail, but always maintain alignment with the outcomes.

The Bottom Line: Enterprise leaders need to keep their automation providers focused on what they do best. Kryon must meticulously show how its new developments integrate and help its customers in their full-cycle automation journeys

In an automation market that so often loses sight of what technology means for business outcomes, there are deep pools of customer stories to draw on, but the outcomes of these stories are at risk of getting lost. Enterprise automation leaders must demand clear outcomes aligned to their challenges and then meticulously circle back to these outcomes in every customer story and new announcement a vendor tries and put in front of them. Kryon must continue to find a way to illustrate where it plays in the broader madness of the automation competition that risks hyping itself into oblivion around cloud, SaaS, citizen development; that will showcase Kryon’s maturity and the value of its full-cycle automation to customers on a new level.

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