May 19, 2020

Lack of understanding is the biggest barrier to agile adoption

IT
Productivity
agile
Jess Shanahan
3 min
Lack of understanding is the biggest barrier to agile adoption

Agile is an umbrella term for several iterative and incremental software methodologies. While each of these is different in its approach, they all share common core values. They all involve continuous planning, continuous testing, continuous integration, and other forms of continuous evolution of both the project and the software.

The most important part of agile methodologies is that they all empower people and encourage collaborative working.

The idea is that software is built incrementally from the start of a project. Tasks are split up and prioritised by the client so the developer can get the most important elements completed first with continuous feedback.

Analysis, coding, design and testing are continuous activities rather than following one after the other. Agile allows developers and clients to add to a piece of software, continuously developing and improving it.

Agile development also allows for changes to the plan and is often welcomed. Because of the way agile works and its continuous processes, the cost of a change to the plan or software can be relatively flat unlike traditional development where any changes could incur hefty costs.

Unlike traditional development, agile is collaborative, quick and flexible. Once businesses can understand what it is and how it works, they can improve software development processes and more business value from a developer.

Unfortunately a lack of understanding is holding many businesses back in the adoption of agile. Research from CA Technologies showed that cost is not really a factor for businesses when it comes to becoming agile. Many respondents said they expected more investment in agile in the future and almost half expect growth in agile within the next 12 months, as the statistics below shows:

  • 82% of respondents believe there are still challenges to widespread adoption of agile in their organisations
  • 15% believe this is due to cost and 70% expect investment in agile to increase in the future
  • 36% said the challenge is a lack of understanding of agile as a concept
  • 40% IT departments are currently expecting to do more with less resources and 87% said agile can address this to some extent
  • 25% currently experiencing growth of agile and 49% expect to experience this within the next 12 months

The research reveals that there is momentum when it comes to agile but there is more progress to be made; only 18% of respondents say their organisation is currently fully agile, a further 62% of respondents say their organisation is agile to an extent.

Looking forward, 2016 is set to be the year agile really comes to the fore, with more organisations adopting it and reaping the rewards. For the moment, IT departments are leading the agile revolution - 42% of respondents say that agile adoption has increased in their organisation.

Follow @BizReviewEurope

Share article

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.”

 

Share article