Get Set for the Intelligent Automation Revolution

| 14 May 2019

Get Set for the Intelligent Automation Revolution

In the first of a three-part series, ‘The Automation Revolution’, Konica Minolta, reveals how intelligent automation is spearheading the digital workforce of the future.

Automation touches so much of our everyday lives. Semi-autonomous vehicles are driven without the need to even touch the steering wheel and can now be spotted on our roads, while cashier-less grocery stores let shoppers buy items without interacting with a human being. 

However, a less visible but equally transformative automation revolution is taking place inside the workplace, hastened by the need for organisations to work smarter and tackle their productivity challenge.

A number of solutions can help address the above mentioned challenge. But the most promising is called Intelligent Automation (IA). It is a new form of automation using software robots, taking over the mundane and simplifying the automation of manual, repetitive, structured and transactional tasks, typically prone to human error and holding organisations back from achieving their true potential.

Not only can you implement an Intelligent Automation solution right on top of your core business systems and benefit from almost immediately ROI, but its use cases across any organisation are almost endless. From finance and accounting to customer service, HR, supply chain and more, one can digitise human tasks, streamline processes, accelerate the customer service experience and drive strong efficiency gains. 

Take the example of a large telecom company. During calls, agents consult a knowledge base to provide answers – searching, reading and understanding the answer. It’s a time-consuming process that too often frustrates the customer holding on the line, absorbs resources and can quickly result in mistakes. With Intelligent Automation, agents can identify similar errors from different users and provide an instant resolution, thereby decreasing the response time and delivering a more rewarding experience.

Human resources teams are also using Intelligent Automation to automate the employee on boarding process. For example, capturing and updating employee information, provisioning access to applications, updating legal and vetting paperwork, and notifying their managers through email.

Finance function ideally suited to Intelligent Automation

Finance and accounting (F&A) is one of a number of rich seam for Intelligent Automation to mine. Here you typically have a mid-to-high volume of transactions that involve a limited number of decisions and touch multiple applications. According to Forrester*, closing, consolidating, and reporting processes such as general ledger, quarterly close, reconciliations and consolidations are ideally suited to automation, as are purchase-to-pay systems such as partner credentials and purchasing itself.

Intelligent Automation is gaining in popularity with many organisations because it offers the potential to move full-time employees (FTEs) and re-assign them to more productive roles and functions. Forrester calculates that a typical organisation could potentially save £115,000 on average annually by automating the accounts payable process and £85,000 annually by using Intelligent Automation in the billing/collection process alone.

Other benefits associated with using Intelligent Automation include higher level of accuracy, elevated service levels, constant watchful eye on potential fraudulent operations, audit trails, rapid data extraction and aggregation, and stronger regulatory governance, compliance and control. 

The deployment of Intelligent Automation solutions is not without its challenges however. These for example include:

  • Employees might feel less indispensable and a little nervous about deploying an IA solution, pondering whether their jobs could be at risk 
  • Limited number of experienced knowledge workers with the appropriate skills and experience to confidently assess, map, develop and implement such solution
  • Strong governance is required to maintain control of Intelligence Automation solutions development, implementation and actual use

Make no mistake, IA is here and has the potential to transform operational processes. First, by interacting in real time with humans who initiate and control robot tasks, generally associated with front-office, agent-led activities. And second by replacing a complete human function in a ‘lights-out’ manner, creating a virtual workforce, generally associated with back-office activities.

Digital workers are here to stay – so now is the time to prepare for the revolution.

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* Source: Inquiry Spotlight: Forrester’s RPA Inquiries Reveal Activity but Low Maturity

Intelligent Automation Revolution – Are you ready for it?

Are your Finance, HR and Operational systems disconnected and it’s impossible to make them communicate with each other? Do your people spend more time than they need to on manual data collection and processing? If the answer is yes, then your business is ready for a new type of intelligent automation.

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Intelligent Automation

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