Five Areas to Make Your Mark with Intelligent Automation
Sep 25, 2018
Intelligent automation is a game-changer in transforming business operations. When you remove inefficiency from your operations, your productivity and speed will go up, and your costs down. The automation of many tasks wasn’t possible until only a few years ago, when RPA and AI tools reached a particular maturity, but now companies are racing to automate.
So where can you make the biggest impact with intelligent automation? I would suggest starting with the following five areas.
IT support and infrastructure
How much time does a support specialist spend doing low-level IT tasks such as installing new software, performing backups, and resetting passwords? The answer can be as high as 30%. It’s inefficient and costly, and sadly, the reality of many IT organizations. What’s more, most support staff find these tasks frustrating and demotivating, as it prevents them from fully utilizing their skills and knowledge.
The good news is that many of these tasks are highly repeatable—and therefore automatable—especially for level 1 and level 2 support. Many issues can be resolved much more effectively and in a fraction of the time, while also reducing the potential for escalations in the future. With automation, it’s possible to cut costs by as much as 40% while boosting efficiency by up to 90% within the first few years. It will also free up support staff to work on more critical, high-value work.
The problem facing businesses today isn’t a lack of data. It’s knowing what to do with it. Without timely insights, the business is driving blind, vulnerable to changes from competitors, customers, and trends. All of which adds up to higher costs and risks.
This is changing with the availability of business analytics solutions in the market. For example, using predictive analytics software and onboard sensors, a mining company running a fleet of haul trucks could predict the wear and tear of each truck and schedule maintenance in advance before a truck breaks down. A clothing store with an intelligent point-of-sale system could detect a spike in sales for an SKU and notify the factory to ramp up production to meet demand.
These insights can enable a company to be more responsive to customer trends and adaptable to unforeseen circumstances. The ability to comb through mountains of data to spot patterns, anomalies, and opportunities to drive business results is what will set an organization apart from the competition.
A traditional application could take a developer team six to 12 months to build. But take a closer look, and you’ll see that a significant portion of this time is spent on repetitive work such as replicating functionality configurations and testing.
Software companies like Pegasystems are changing this with visual development tools that enable developers to design applications with little to no code. The software writes, versions, and optimizes the code automatically, drastically reducing development time. Now, the development team can get the app out in two months instead of six.
By automating the most repetitive development tasks, organizations stand to reduce time-to-market for new products and services; improve flexibility to innovate and experiment; and boost responsiveness to customer demands.
The service desk is long overdue for a revamp. It used to be that improving service levels meant hiring more agents, but this is changing with intelligent automation.
For example, you would be able to accurately track every resource to reveal trends in call volume and adjust staffing levels accordingly to reduce costs. Or identify process bottlenecks such as the hassle of switching between multiple screens and eliminate it by having the system bring up the right screens for the agent before the call is answered. IA tools can also alleviate the workload of service desk agents by recognizing the needs of the customer and resolving most of them, leaving only the most difficult to human agents.
The result? Significantly lower resolution times, higher customer satisfaction, and lower operational costs. Human agents remain a vital part of the equation, but their roles would be focused on managing exceptions and solving more strategic issues.
RPA systems are uniquely suited to business processes as they’re repetitive, predictable, and labor intensive. And the banking and insurance industries, in particular, are ripe to be automated.
A mortgage application that takes a loan specialist 40 minutes to process may take only 15 with an RPA system—and with nearly 100% accuracy. Add in the many processing interruptions that may crop up, and you might be looking at cutting a weeks- or months-long process into hours or minutes.
By removing the many slow and error-prone processes, you stand to realize significant cost savings, higher productivity, and better regulatory compliance. And, like many of the examples discussed, your employees would be freed from redundant, low-value tasks to focus on higher-value work.
Did any of these use cases jump out at you? Are you thinking about adopting automation technology but don’t know how? My advice is for you to act now. The window of opportunity is wide open today but it’s closing in fast as more and more companies jump on the automation bandwagon. A good place to start would be our intelligent automation strategy brief below, which contains all you need to know to take the first step.
Transform Business Operations and Drive Revenue Growth
Find out how you can take your organization to the next level with intelligent automation.
Jeffery P. Romano
Jeffrey is a managing principal and brings more than 30 years’ experience in IT management to WGroup’s consulting team. He is a sourcing expert who has been involved in multibillion-dollar engagements.
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