Cloud Accelerator program launches in Bahrain
C5 Accelerate Limited and Amazon Web Services are working with The Bahrain Economic Development Board on the Cloud Accelerator program that will help businesses to adopt cloud technology services in place of traditional IT infrastructures.
The Cloud Accelerator aims to drive growth in the local business ecosystem by enabling the rapid adoption of cloud technology for any business that wants it. The program will develop and fund businesses in the region with a focus on technologies that align with the economic priorities of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), including, but not limited to, manufacturing, financial services and technology sector-development.
As well as providing resources for businesses looking to adopt these new technologies, Cloud Accelerator will invite a cohort of 10 qualifying businesses to work in its premises in Bahrain for up to four months. In this time the businesses can network with fellow program participants and will benefit from an array of training opportunities too.
Daniel Freeman, CEO of C5 Accelerate Limited, said: “The Middle East and Africa region has a burgeoning start- up scene and is well placed to leverage the potential of the cloud. Our Cloud Accelerator aims to drive this innovation further and boost the region’s economy. Our “AWS Activate” pilot program in Bahrain already demonstrates the investment potential of the region’s technology sector, and we are thrilled to be working with AWS, a leading cloud computing provider, to develop an innovation hub for the region and a catalyst for further investments. The Cloud Accelerator will be based in Bahrain, a location with outstanding human capital and a commitment to operating at the speed of technology when it comes to developing a world-class environment in which technology entrepreneurs can thrive.”
Teresa Carlson, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector at Amazon Web Services, Inc. said: “We’ve been so impressed with the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of businesses in the Middle East and Africa, and are committed to working with C5 and the Bahrain EDB to help these businesses grow and scale. In addition to technology resources, the Cloud Accelerator’s focus on education, training, and mentorship will help businesses reach their full potential, and AWS is excited to work with them to do so.”
Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, said: “The GCC technology sector is expected to grow by ten per cent per annum over the next five years, whilst sector spending in the Middle East will reach nearly $200 billion in 2015. However, the region faces a number of challenges around attracting investment in the technology sector, including start-up costs and access to funding; regulatory barriers; and attracting, training and retaining human capital. Bahrain is addressing these challenges and building on its broader strengths to develop a strong ecosystem that encourages technology focused entrepreneurship. The launch of the Cloud Accelerator program is one important step towards achieving this.”
Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work
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.
- 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
- Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
- Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
- 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
- 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.”