In my last post “Untapped Areas for Business Improvements” I attempted to point out the various areas where the potential exists for significant returns for your business through intelligent work automation. As well, time was given to examine some of the more obvious impediments as to why so little is done in this area.
I would like to take the discussion to the next level in reviewing the potential for rewards. No one is going to make intelligent work automation a priority unless there is some ‘gold’ to be discovered. The key to this is centered on employee productivity. And while I will dedicate most of this article to the rewards, we also need to look at what is at stake by ignoring these suggestions and doing nothing.
In a more recent update to an older IDC report, their data shows that 2.5 hours each day are wasted while employees search for information so that they can complete a task or even do their job. And that the complexity in a data driven environment is increasing. If we can significantly reduce that lost time, there are direct benefits. A more recent report, prepared this year by Avanade, shows that productivity gains go hand in hand with intelligent automation in digital business. They stress that “embracing intelligent automation will be key to organizations breaking through the productivity plateau and remaining competitive”.
If any of this resonates then there are some key areas to examine where you can find value. But first, I want to bring our Maestro – Intelligent Work Automation tool into the conversation. Maestro for Drupal 8 is a 4th generation workflow engine that can be applied to almost any work process. Think of it this way: Maestro can transform the use of paper documents and client based tools into a digital business.
Let’s take ‘product development’ as a work example. Assuming that marketing initiates a request, from here there are a number of individuals and different parts of the organization that need to participate in making a ‘go/no go’ decision. They can vary from engineering, production, legal, financial, sales and IT. Data and various other forms of content need to be captured, shared and applied to a process. Maestro provides the framework to manage the process, retrieve relevant information and do all this in the most expeditious manner.
This is just one example of where work automation can be a game changer. So let’s look at the benefits that can be derived from this example. Yet while there are many, I want to talk about the five that deliver the most value.
Consistency: Intelligent Automation greatly reduces the risk of human error through a variety of features. Integration with other applications to retrieve data or verify information produces more accurate work. Requests to clarify information or ask questions of others are managed in the workflow so as to not slow down the process. Maestro guided processes provide predictability in accuracy and timeliness.
Time Savings: Intelligent Automation can not only accelerate the process but can often eliminate steps where human intervention can cause delays. Initiators can manage variables such as time to respond so that tasks don’t go unaddressed. The integration capabilities of Maestro can access and update data from other key applications without manual intervention.
Predictability: Intelligent Automation can help where there is time sensitivity to the completion of the work cycle. This is essential where clients are involved with fully automated services or where completion dates are a requirement. Maestro manages all aspects of the work process, can escalate matters that get stalled, can reroute work if necessary and can keep the stakeholders aware of all changes or delays in the process. Initiators have access to a dashboard with a graphical display of which stage each flow is at, all in real time.
Metrics: Intelligent Automation can record specific data at every step of the work process. It can reveal problem areas in the process as well as help identify areas of improvement. Time can be one such metric that can provide management with a cost analysis of the work. In the example used, some organizations apply for the Canadian SR&ED grant program where Maestro can capture time and activity data to support any such claims and saving significant effort in manually tracking CRA required documentation..
Reduced Costs: The most significant area to reduce costs is in employee productivity. Reducing the time to retrieve information, research variable data, and having visibility to the entire process all contribute to labour savings. Existing Maestro clients have identified from 20 to 50% productivity gains through automation. We offer an application assessment service where we can help you prepare a ROI analysis of your workflow process.
Aggregating all of these benefits allow knowledge workers to focus on bringing value to the business without dealing with mundane and repetitive tasks. Employees feel more empowered. Customer response times are lowered. And more work can be done by fewer people.
Sometimes it is difficult to visualize the ‘state of the possible’. To this end we are happy to discuss any potential requirement you may have to assess the suitability of Maestro. In addition, we are currently in the final stages of preparing a fictional demo of an online insurance quote generation system. This will be launched on our site before the end of March 2018. The demo will allow you to experience a completely automated process that is driven by Maestro. Stay tuned, as my next post will be focused on the highlights of the demo.