SAP Africa shows how to mobilise business intelligence for competitive advantage
From a young age, children now use search engines to quickly access information and this is prevalent not only in the private sphere but in all aspects of the business world.
The information society’s desire and demand for immediate access to information has become the driving force behind Mobility Business Intelligence (BI) as forward-looking organisations insist that their business intelligence needs are met easily and instantaneously in real-time.
With tight competition among BI vendors across the globe, customers are now look for differentiation in tangible product value and innovation.
In the recently released 2013 Edition of Howard Dresner's Mobile Business Intelligence Market Study, SAP BusinessObjects Mobile scored as the ‘Clear market leader in delivering high value Mobile Business Intelligence Product features and Innovation”, ahead of competitors like IBM and Oracle.
The report reveals that SAP clearly delivers the most comprehensive Mobile BI solution on the market. These findings were echoed by other top BI analysts that include Forrester, Gartner and Ventana Research, confirming SAP’s strong presence in a highly competitive market.
Merlin Knott, SAP Africa’s Director of Business Analytics, said: “The momentum around mobile analytics is increasing exponentially as it has proven to be a critical element to transforming businesses. It is also completely aligned with the current hype surrounding cloud computing, big data and BYOD (bring your own device).
“A lot of people use a smartphone or tablet in their personal lives and then expect to do the same at work, we are the instant gratification generation.”
During the course of their day-to-day activities, many companies collate data from a wide range of different corporate divisions and departments as well as external sources. The question is what can we done with this data and how up-to-date is it?
Using the SAP Mobile BI solution coupled with our real time in memory data architecture organisations can give their business users the ability to make the right snap decisions powered by reliable information.
“Imagine being able to ‘Google’ the contents of your local supermarket before you get to the store, then based on your search the store offering you the next best product that will be pre-packed and waiting for you at a drive through window,” said Knott.
The superior insights that businesses are able to gain though the intelligence will help them make operational and strategic decisions more effectively and more quickly, enable them to streamline their processes, reduce costs and ultimately generate additional business value to any end user of the information, internal or external.
SAP Africa provides a mobile-first approach to BI by way of its solutions for Android, iOS and Windows 8. These solutions help drive decision-making by delivering the information that businesses require anytime, anywhere, and on any device without the information consumer ever having to understand the complexity behind the scenes.
According to Knott, African companies are becoming increasingly empowered and see the necessity to provide critical business intelligence information to the fingertips of every person, thereby promoting more data-driven, consumer-centric businesses.
So, it’s not a surprise that these organisations are seeking technology strategies like mobile analytics to gather real value out of big data and to leverage more meaningful insights across their organisations.
The full Howard Dresner study can be found here
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.”