May 19, 2020

ICT is a critical business enabler

Technology
ICT
iP
ICT tools
Bizclik Editor
3 min
ICT is a critical business enabler

By Paul Fick, Chief Technology Officer, the Jasco Group

 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has become a critical business enabler in today’s enterprises. 

 It enables greater efficiency, a more agile workforce and the ability to do business regardless of geographic boundaries. 

The term ICT refers to a multitude of different, disparate and increasingly complex technologies that share a single converged communication infrastructure based on IP or Internet Protocol. 

Despite the complexity of the individual solutions, more value can be unlocked if the interoperation and integration between such technologies is understood and enabled, and allows the overall ICT system to work seamlessly.

Conversely, this adds yet another layer of complexity.  As a result, ICT in not about the technology, but increasingly about the services that are required to deploy solutions, configure them, integrate them and to ensure that they keep on working and that full value is derived in a business sense.

Whether the overall solution incorporates access to data, enablement of people on the move or at remote sites, connectivity between people or devices, or whether it includes the ability to support decision making, monitor progress or raise alarms, these types of systems are frequently business critical to the extent that the typical enterprise cannot operate at all when they are not working as intended. 

 Keeping the systems working, and ensuring that maximum value is derived, requires very specific skills and experience, which in most cases is not affordable for the majority of businesses on a full time basis. 

Many enterprises are embracing the concept of managed services, service delivery from the cloud, or the use of expertise on a project basis to facilitate maximum service delivery and value add in the technology space. 

 The required expertise can be deployed to facilitate cross sub-system integration, deliver business level implementation assistance, human resource enablement (including training, process work and design and implementation of reporting) followed by change management and on-going support where required.

 ICT, while crucial in the modern enterprise, is no longer simply about purchasing underlying technology and ICT tools. 

The days of box dropping are over, as enterprises can source tools online without the need for a reseller. 

However, as technologies are more complex than ever and are mission critical to the successful running of a business, services are required.

Such is the nature of the ICT solution evolution that providers no longer simply supply technology, but should rather become partners of the organisation, working together to ensure investments deliver the returns required. 

Delivery of professional and technical services are critical in leveraging the full value of ICT, and without the assistance of a trusted partner, organisations are often left with sophisticated tools that are not used and are a waste of significant investment; the intended enablement just does not happen.

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May 28, 2021

Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work

Automation
UiPath
technology
repetitivetasks
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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