Vodafone/Accenture provide managed security services to SMEs
In a recent announcement made by Accenture, the company has partnered with Vodafone Business to provide managed security services for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as national corporate customers in Europe. As part of the strategic partnership, Vodafone will provide its enterprise grade cybersecurity solutions in addition to providing access to leading cyber talent and expertise for those who do not have experience, time or resources to evolve with rapidly changing threat landscapes.
These services will be accessible to businesses in Europe via predefined packages that have been specifically designed for the needs of the user from a trusted provider. In addition to the solution packages, Accenture and Vodafone will also invest in security innovation helping to keep organisation safe as threats emerge.As a result of the global pandemic - COVID-19 - more organisations are conducting their business operations online, in addition to working to secure their supply chains. Due to this shift, the pandemic has highlighted the gaps between SMEs that are at different levels of readiness and as a result are vulnerable to cyber attacks.
“We are committed to better support small and medium enterprises and national corporate sized businesses as they transform and ‘future ready’ their organization. Working with Accenture, we will leverage our combined capabilities and global experience to deliver modular security solutions, offering access to technologies that until now were only available to companies with large IT budgets. Today’s news builds upon the recently announced,” commented Vinod Kumar, CEO Vodafone Business.
According to Vodafone’s Business Future Ready Report 2020, 41% of businesses are concerned with keeping data safe online, while 38% were concerned that important information or data could be lost.Together Vodafone Business and Accenture Security will provide comprehensive managed and professional security services including:
- Cyber assessment services including employee awareness, cyber resilience and vulnerability diagnostics
- Managed security services including monitoring, incident management and response
- Professional services including risk assessment and testing
- Joint investment in an innovation lab focused on security solutions and intelligence
- A simple and seamless experience
“The distinct nature of cybercrime makes it borderless and anonymous. Cybercriminals can come from anywhere and as they take advantage of the COVID-19 situation, they pose a significant threat to businesses of all sizes with costly consequences,” added Kelly Bissell, who leads Accenture Security globally.
“This strategic relationship brings together two leading global players and will give Vodafone customers access to leading cybersecurity talent and industry expertise globally.”Vodafone Business managed security services will be launched in late 2020 for SMEs and national corporate sized businesses in Italy and Spain, followed by the United Kingdom and Germany.
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.”