May 18, 2020

Orange Business Services targets growth in new IMEAR 'super-region'

Middle East
Stuart Hodge
2 min
Orange Business Services targets growth in new IMEAR 'super-region'

The global digital transformation is impacting the way we do business on almost a daily basis, making it harder for enterprises, government bodies and service providers to properly strategise how to make the most of the technologies available.

Orange Business Services (OBS) believes its value is in helping companies to harness the power of those digital technologies and IT solutions, thus allowing them to create new business models which capture new revenue streams and empower employees.

Now to ensure that OBS manages to do so in the most effective way possible, it is now employing two of its heavyweights to look after a new ‘super-region’ of sorts, where the company is targeting significant growth. The company’s newly-formed IMEAR region combines established business operations, including indirect operations (SITA Business Unit), the Middle East and Africa (MEA), and Russia-CIS.

The new region will be looked after by Richard van Wageningen, who’ll take the lead in his role as senior vice president. His job will be focused on grouping the growing markets - essentially, the Middle East, as well as Russia and Africa, and the indirect business in the Air Transport industry. The idea behind the operational structure is that the newly-formed region will create more opportunities to share best practices in key areas, for example the smart cities which we told you about in this month’s edition of Business Review Middle East.

OBS’ activities in Russia and CIS have been headed up by van Wageningen since 2013 and he has developed extensive management experience in telecommunications, dealing with IT companies, service providers and equipment vendors. He also has international experience, having worked in a number of countries and cultures, including Saudi Arabia, Russia, Portugal and the Netherlands.

And van Wageningen’s right hand man will be Luc Serviant, who expands his role as vice president, Middle East and Africa. Serviant retains his responsibility for Middle East, North Africa and Turkey and will now take over African operations following the retirement of Giorgio Heiman. Serviant’s main expertise lies in marketing and the implementation of IT solutions within the enterprise sector, where he has over 25 years’ experience, mainly focusing on strategic planning and people management.

Orange Business Services has previously described itself as “a trusted partner to many businesses and governments in the Middle East for more than 20 years” and the company believes that its new regional structure will best facilitate the growth of its business in the region moving forward.

To facilitate the move, three regional headquarters will now be built in Dubai, Johannesburg and Moscow, with van Wageningen operating out of the Russian capital, and Serviant reporting to him from his new base in Dubai.

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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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