May 19, 2020

Hudlr knocks down hurdles to business information

South Africa
Bizclik Editor
3 min
Hudlr knocks down hurdles to business information

Amorphous, a digital corporate communications company owned by The Times Media Group, has developed a business tool that provides users with detailed demographics and other key information about the residents in any location around South Africa.

The tool, called Hudlr, pulls data from the records of more than 20 million financially active South Africans and geo-maps it to provide a unique and intimate view of entire business networks and the markets that surround it.

The information is drawn from a database created and maintained by 3-Way Marketing, the company that uses geocoding to generate leads to many of South Africa’s business to consumer companies.

Grant Shippey, CEO of Amorphous, said: “Business is now more competitive than ever before making it essential to understand your markets on a micro level.  Hudlr allows for detailed insights from real aggregated demographic data to create actionable business strategies.”

There are a number of products and sources that, when used together can provide similar insights, but Hudlr alone provides this accessible and consolidated view – taking the legwork out of research.

“Setting the system up with all the client’s data requirements is far quicker than any traditional research method and the interface is live with data that is updated quarterly,” said Shippey.

The Hudlr data is extremely accurate, differentiating between different locations in the same general area.

Traditionally statistics for Sandton would aggregate demographics for all people living in the Sandton area, which stretches from Fourways to Alexandra where the demographics are in fact very different.

“Opening or stocking a shop, or carrying out a promotion relies on having accurate data on the people who will see and interact with it,” said Shippey. “Hudlr gives you the information you need to develop better business strategies.”

For instance, a retailer could assess the average income in the area immediately surrounding a store when planning what merchandise to stock or a restaurant chain could identify the number of students in an area and promote their new value deal via SMS or email.

Hudlr is available on a number of different platforms including an online geo-mapped environment, interactive applications for mobile and tablets, and offline reports.

“We’ve designed it to make things easy for users no matter their role within an organisation – in the information it provides, in the way that the information is presented and in allowing you to access it from the platform of your choice,” he said.

 “With this kind of information at your fingertips, the guesswork is taken out of business strategy,” says Shippey. “We’re confident that it will make a difference to the outcomes of any informed business actions that you take.”

Andrew Gill of Times Media Group said: “As a large media player we need to ensure we remain innovative and relevant by developing new products and services that service business in South Africa better, Hudlr is one of these products.”

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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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