“In order to succeed, you must first survive”, Warren Buffett.
Faced with a choice between business continuity and efficiency, it’s pretty obvious what a manager will choose. There is no point in focusing on efficiency when your business itself could be ruined.
As someone passionate about enabling Intelligent Automation, or Hyperautomation as Gartner refers to it, for businesses, our discussions with clients and technology partners have been around improving customer experience, increasing efficiency, lowering costs, and building resiliency in the system.
But in our more recent conversations, customers are looking at their investments in Robotics (RPA), Artificial Intelligence and Analytics to enable business continuity. This is where Intelligent Automation plays a key role. It brings together all these technologies in an efficient and effective way.
Intelligent automation is an insurance for survival.
Businesses have to incorporate extreme tails risks in their planning like risk of wars, pandemics and other black swan type of events. It needs to answer questions like:
- What if my employees can’t turn up to the office physically?
- What if there is a ‘cluster-spread’ of illness within my workforce that precludes their from working-from-home?
- What if there are geographical location threats or utility outages?
To address these and other such questions, business managers have to accept that ‘traditional’ business continuity plans don’t suffice. We need to use the technology available to ensure our organisations survive and succeed.
Intelligent automation is an insurance for survival and has to be incorporated alongside traditional pay-back period analysis.
I see three areas where organisations could leverage intelligent automation as both an insurance and investment.
1. Customer experience
Organisations are keen on digital disruptions to stay connected with customers and answer questions, particularly, those that require in-person meetings. They will adopt investments in chatbots and customer communications tools. We also expect to see more sophistication and improvements in artificial intelligence.
2. Volume of work
Many are facing increased volume of workload, like lending firms and healthcare companies. With significant number of loan applications coming through to lenders, particularly due to governments relief funds, leveraging bots, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Machine Learning can expedite loan processing significantly. Similarly, there is a surge in demand for healthcare products and need for medical services as patients are unable or unwilling to visit surgeries or hospitals. Responding to requests, telemedicine, analysing clinical data and reducing administrative tasks for nurses are areas intelligent automation can be capitalised on.
3. Deluge of data
Large volumes of data makes it impossible for humans to sort, identify and digest relevant information. CFOs can leverage Analytics and Artificial Intelligence to plan for contingencies and economic downturns. Scenario modelling, cost and revenue analysis and contingency planning just becomes a necessity as organisation plans their business. All of this involves leveraging a large set of structured and unstructured data.
Six weeks into our lockdown, as firms move into the ‘Acceptance’ phase from the initial anger and panic phase; they are adapting new ways of working in the new normal world — remote, digital and less social.
This Covid-19 outbreak is likely to give rise to more true agile, more resilient and kinder ways of doing business, while withstanding anticipated and unexpected threats. It will truly be a defining point in our attitude towards technology and digital workforce.
Intelligent automation will drive efforts to improve efficiency AND ensure business continuity.