PwC: accelerating industrial digitalisation
The strategic partnership b...
To drive the acceleration of industrial digitalisation, PwC has formed a strategic partnership with Cognite and OutSystems.
The strategic partnership between PwC, Cognite and OutSystems will aim to deliver ‘unprecedented digital transformation solutions for manufacturing, energy and utility customers.’
“We’re looking forward to joining PwC, Cognite and other industry leaders to help customers take their businesses to the next level,” said Peter Dunlap, vice president of channels and alliances with OutSystems. “Transforming these industries using technology and innovation will be so important to so many people, and this partnership is uniquely positioned to drive value for these customers.”
As part of the partnership the three companies will strive to empower industrial data scientists and engineers to operationalise data and develop applications by abstracting complex data pipelines, contextualising data and application development tasks.
As a result the partnership will allow companies within manufacturing, energy and utilities to transition from idea to application in a matter of weeks instead of years.
Services that manufacturing energy and utilities companies can harness as part of the strategic partnership:
Cognite Data Fusion (CDF), a world-leading industrial data operations platform
OutSystems’ leading low-code development platform
PwC‘s change management and digital strategies for operation and scale
The ability to save time between the idea and application stage, is said to be a result of using low-code application development capabilities to integrate contextualised data in order to solve real problems.
“Working with OutSystems and PwC is an excellent opportunity for us to deliver value by playing to each of our strengths,” said Dr. John Markus Lervik, CEO and co-founder of Cognite. “We liberate and contextualise OT, IT and visual data, OutSystems leads in helping companies rapidly develop their applications and integrate them with CDF as unified data source, and PwC provides the expertise and consultancy for change management. The process from strategy to scalable innovation and value realisation is accelerated by working together as partners.”
The first project for the partnership is underway. Via the PwC Energy Experience Center in Norway Cognite, OutSystems, and PwC are providing their services for manufacturing company - Aarbakke.
“Aarbakke relies on operators’ skill and domain knowledge to drive operations, and this application helps deliver data to them to increase visibility and improve decision making,” said Rolf Thu, IT and Smart Factory R&D manager at Aarbakke. “With readily available contextualised data from Cognite Data Fusion and the speed of app development enabled by the OutSystems platform, PwC's developers have been able to rapidly build and deploy this solution.”
“PwC is in the business of helping businesses succeed with change and workplaces of the future, and we are committed to partnering with technology platform leaders in the industry,” said Eirik Rasmussen, partner and leader of the Energy Experience Center. “With this partnership, we are uniquely positioned to solve manufacturing, energy, and utility challenges.”
For more information on all business in Europe, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief EMEA.
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.”