Oct 14, 2020

Accenture: Cyber resilience for the future

Janet Brice
3 min
Five-point plan to protect data-driven enterprises against hackers from Accenture who call on companies to instil a “security-first mind-set...

 Companies must prepare against future attacks from hackers by becoming cyber resilient, warn Accenture who have produced a five-point protection plan.

Connected data-driven future enterprises come with added cyber risk, reports Accenture in their Build Persuasive Cyber Resilience Now report which outlines how to safeguard businesses now and in the future.

Sensitive data, connectivity and automation multiplies the opportunities for hackers. Expanding the “surface area” exposes companies to cyber-attacks. Digital systems are so embedded in daily operations, the potential damage from even a single security incident is magnified, outlines the report.

How to outwit the hackers

Accenture stress companies must prepare for the risks that come with new business models and intelligent technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).

Machines are now attacking machines. Companies not only need to link security with the business, they also need to use the same intelligent technologies (AI and ML)) that the business, and the hackers, are using. 

“Three-quarters of C-suite respondents in our survey expect cybersecurity risks to diminish in the next few years, thanks to new cybersecurity technologies.” Accenture polled 1,400 executives and Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) on how they prioritise security in new business initiatives.

Half of the CISOs said their responsibilities are growing faster than their ability to address them and 38% of companies said they brought the CISOs into discussions at the beginning of new business opportunities.

The report highlights that if companies want to grow safely then will need to embed security in everything they do. “Companies must instil a “security-first” mind-set - connecting security to the business, making security everybody’s job, and extending protection beyond the boundaries of the enterprise,” reports Accenture.

A changing enterprise brings risk

Accenture reports the future enterprise will be faster and more agile. But this data-driven, real-time action creates more risks from:

  • Connectivity - the internal digital networks and the internet connections that link the company to an ever-expanding universe of suppliers, partners, customers and virtual workforce
  • The “intelligent” corporation - employs voluminous and complex data sets and advanced technologies to guide decision making and discover new opportunities
  • Autonomous machines and processes - from robots to self-driving warehouse equipment to computer systems that automatically carry out work with outsiders

Cybersecurity must be woven into corporate strategy, product design, budgets, and permeate down to daily business activities, highlights the report. Today, it remains separated from the business. To adjust this will need organisational changes and investments directed by top leadership.

Five ways to build cyber resilience

  1. Create Resilience Leaders—by including the security team in strategy sessions and extending accountability for cybersecurity.
  2. Support the security leader by helping the CISO to be “business-savvy,” and create new security roles to bridge the gap between security and the business.
  3. Make employees part of the solution and engaged to act as advocates for cybersecurity and using technology to track suspicious behaviours.
  4. Be an advocate for protecting customers by educating them about how to protect themselves while securing consumer data to meet new regulation (such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation).
  5. Think beyond your enterprise by collaborating with partners and suppliers to share cybersecurity knowledge, products and services.

Corporate security experts have made great progress in the war against cybercrime. But winning the next war will need new strategies and new weapons. 

Top leaders can ensure the success of the connected, intelligent, autonomous business by making sure that security is a core competency across the organisation. 

“If they do this, companies will not only keep the enemy at bay, they will also build trust with customers and partners and develop the bulletproof business processes that will make them stronger competitors,” concludes the report.

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May 28, 2021

Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work

Kate Birch
4 min
As a new report reveals most office workers are crushed by repetitive tasks, we talk the value of automation with UiPath’s MD of Northern Europe, Gavin Mee

Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.

Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.

Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.

When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”

And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.

Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work

By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.

“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”

These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.

Repetitive tasks that can be automated

Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”

These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.

“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”

Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.

Five business areas that can be automated

Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.

  1. Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
  2. Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
  3. Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
  4. IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
  5. Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.

“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”


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