May 19, 2020

The Cost of Compliance in South Africa and How to Contain It

South Africa
Big Data
africa technology
Bryan Balfe, CommVault
4 min
How to: Make Real-Time Business a Reality in Africa

By Bryan Balfe, Enterprise Account Manager at CommVault

Compliance is becoming an increasingly pressing issue for CTOs and CIO’s in South Africa who are struggling to get to grips the fulfilment of legislative requirements and importantly, containing costs associated with this.

The challenge is the struggle to keep the right “stuff” in the right place at the right time. Unfortunately, many businesses with legacy solutions turn archives into permanent storage pools and don’t address long-term retention efficiently or cost-effectively. The trick is to balance long-term retention with bottom line economics. Questions to ask include:

  1. How much of what you’re paying to store has real business value?
  2. Are you keeping information that could pose a potential risk?
  3. What about finding the right content in real time?
  4. How much are you paying annually in long-term vaulting costs?

In the era of Big Data, there is a growing problem with saving too much information, or hoarding it. That can get messy. One of the many traps that businesses fall into is blindly saving everything without consideration for the value that lies within this information. 

This has a direct impact on costs and risk. What needs to be considered is that as new data comes in, old data can become redundant, outdated and trivial. 

In order to comply with ease and contain costs, companies need to understand whether their data is growing stale and consuming valuable storage space.  What they are storing, where and why?

This lack of insight is the chief reason for companies unwittingly embarking on a “keep everything” strategy. However, the costs of this mistake erodes profitability and ultimately, the bottom line.

Opting to make use of solutions that include content-based retention features assists  greatly to control the cost, risk and complexity of managing and retaining compliant data. These type of solutions can allow an organisation to better manage information in order to gain an understanding about content and enforce a clear policy on what to keep and why.

Furthermore, these solutions provide the organisation with a set of policies to automatically classify it, determine what is most relevant, move it to cost-effective storage such as a cloud service, and delete everything that is irrelevant.

It is essential for organisations to discard information that is no longer of value, ensuring only data with value remains. This can assist organisations achieve up to 70 percent reduction in storage which in turn, reduces costs. Reducing long-term capacity requirements makes the value proposition of cloud services for archival storage more attractive.

Risk to the business is also reduced because access to the right information is streamlined. Only content that has value is retained, while data that does not meet regulatory, legal or corporate policy is defensibly deleted from a single source.

Including features such as search and self-service access will further ensure that anyone, including legal and compliance teams, can quickly get to the right information when the clock is ticking.

Lastly, complexity is reduced because you can forget about manual processes and end-user classification. These solutions put data collection and long-term retention on automatic pilot with automated processes to store, classify and organise information according to business value.

The story about reducing cost, risk and complexity comes to life when we start talking about concrete customer use cases. We worked with a hardware engineering company that has multiple sites involved in the manufacturing of the same device.

The challenge they faced was that they had no way of viewing all of the project data for that particular device in a single place. This led to an issue when they needed to collect all project information for a patent request on their product.

They estimated that the manual collection and search efforts cost them thousands of dollars in resources and infrastructure alone to accommodate this one patent challenge. And that was just the first year as there were additional costs for every year the case remains open.

This is a large sum of money should a case remain open for two years which affects any organisations bottom line, all due to not having a single, accessible view into the right data. 

Developing a single information policy and strategy helps to control cost, risk and complexity for a variety of users across the enterprise. Consider this: according to Gartner, “Strategies to address the time value management of data can succeed, and are being deployed successfully in many organisations. The goal is lower costs and risk, and improved access to valuable data. Challenges exist and may seem insurmountable at times. However, the results of good data management will support an agile business that understands its data and empowers its businesses to use it.”

Data and information management challenges are by no means insurmountable with the right tools. The idea of content-based retention impacts many stakeholders across the organisation and ultimately leads to greater insight and increased value to the business.

Share article

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.”


Share article