It's business time
On August 20 identity and mobility management company Okta announced the findings of its inaugural Businesses at Work report. Based on data compiled from Okta’s network of 4,000 pre-integrated applications and millions of daily authentications and verifications worldwide, the 35-page Businesses at Work report details how we get work done today and the preferences of IT leaders, employees and developers.
“We’re seeing companies of all sizes, industries and regions depend on cloud and mobile to propel their businesses forward.” said Todd McKinnon, CEO of Okta. “Business leaders are making big investments in cloud and mobile, and Okta’s dataset offers some insightful trends into the apps, services and security measures businesses are choosing to leverage.”
Key findings from this report include:
● Size doesn’t (really) matter in the cloud: Company size is no longer a strong predictor of how many cloud or mobile apps a company licenses – with medians falling between 16 and 11 off-the-shelf cloud apps. The same goes for businesses using MFA to protect sensitive data – there has been a 40 percent increase year over year in companies protecting their sensitive data with multi-factor authentication for at least one app.
● Popular enterprise apps can be easily ousted: Certain enterprise apps maintain early leadership positions – i.e. Salesforce.com in CRM, AWS in infrastructure and Box in content storage – but others have lost ground to competition, including Google Apps now trailing Microsoft Office 365 in almost every category. Media darling Slack has also come on strong, increasing usership 50 percent in Q2 2015.
● If software is eating the world, businesses are hungry: Businesses are making aggressive efforts to enable their partners, customers and contractors through new cloud-based applications, websites or portals. The number of the external identities in Okta grew 284 percent from July 2014 to July 2015, while internal identities grew 192 percent in the same timeframe.
● Businesses look beyond your mother’s maiden name to authenticate: Companies are moving away from birthplaces and bloodlines as secondary authentication methods with usage of traditional security questions dropping 14 percent since April 2014. Businesses increasingly prefer SMS (with usage increasing 8 percent in the same timeframe)
● SAML is finally the security standard it set out to be: With companies putting a premium on security, developers are increasingly creating apps with the highly secure authentication mechanism, Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) baked in from the start. Nineteen percent of applications entered in the Okta Application Network today SAML-enabled, a six-fold increase over the past two years.
To view a full copy of the 2015 Businesses @ Work report, please visit: okta.com/Businesses-At-Work/2015-08.
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.”