Digital transformation has characterised the past few years, especially following the pandemic. However, businesses are often left with systems and processes that don’t quite fit together, struggling to integrate technologies with other processes where human decisions, checks and other processes are required before taking further action. This is where IA comes in.
But why should your business make IA part of its digital strategy? Without further ado, here are our top six benefits of intelligent automation.
Intelligent automation essentially allows you to create a digital workforce. It’s an unmatched opportunity to streamline and strengthen your end-to-end processes, providing a myriad of advantages for both your business and its workforce along the way.
IA will streamline your business processes: It can be used to automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks like data entry, document processing and customer support. This, in turn, will free up your human resources for more complex, strategy-based activities, ultimately resulting in improved efficiency and productivity at a lower operational cost.
With IA, you can provide a better customer experience: IA systems facilitate more personalised interactions via chatbots and virtual assistants, which are able to offer an instant response to customer queries, directing them to the information they need 24/7. This ultimately leads to improved customer satisfaction and engagement, providing you with a wealth of data that can be analysed to determine habits and patterns that will inform future marketing and business decisions.
IA helps to eliminate errors: Whilst your human workforce will never be beaten when it comes to creativity and strategic decision making, people are still capable of making mistakes, especially when the tedium of performing repetitive, mundane tasks kicks in. With unrivalled analytical prowess – particularly when it comes to calculations, patterns and numbers – IA is incredibly accurate, reducing the likelihood of mistakes being made and improving your overall quality of production.
The data processed through IA can be used to drive innovation: Intelligent automation systems can be used to process large data sets much more quickly than a human team. Capable of determining patterns and making decisions based on the data it analyses, it allows you to take immediate action, whether it’s the timely launch of an innovative product based on your customers’ real-time needs or responding promptly to a crisis.
IA is easy to scale: Intelligent automation works with your existing technology and can be implemented in a matter of just weeks or days. As such, it’s incredibly easy to scale up your activity whenever required.
IA is good for employee morale: As mentioned earlier, intelligent automation frees up your employees to focus on creative and strategic tasks, rather than spending hours trawling through repetitive data and completing activities that leave them feeling drained. With greater fulfilment in the workplace, they are more likely to perform at their peak and give it their all when it comes to working as part of your team.
Intelligent automation operates using your existing technology, in your existing company network. It is therefore incredibly quick to install, in addition to providing high levels of security – particularly from a data standpoint. It has helped to transform many a business across all industries, as you will see in the examples below.
From the climate crisis to talent shortages and shrinking margins, the oil and gas industry has been hit hard in recent years. Humans are simply not capable of processing data and conducting research at the pace required to keep up with the modern climate, meaning solutions like AI and intelligent automation are becoming increasingly important. Indeed, 81% of oil and gas execs agree that they need to go digital over the next decade in order to fill skill gaps and truly drive innovation. IA technologies have already been proven to help reduce CO2 and methane emissions, in addition to helping with ESG targets and leaving more room for human creativity and critical thinking, as well.
This is much the case in other industries, too. For example, Johnson & Johnson’s most recent, comprehensive digital transformation has been reported to shift employee focus from manual tasks to “more engaging, creative and purpose-driven work”, boosting both productivity and morale as a result.
Companies like Amazon have long been using robots as part of their fulfilment process. In fact, Amazon currently deploys 520,000 warehouse robots across 1200 of its fulfilment centres. Furthermore, the use of IA has not only allowed the company to optimise its last-mile delivery routes but has also made it easier to predict customer demand and improve performance throughout the entire distribution and warehousing process.
Although innovative in its approach, other large retailers are also beginning to follow suit. For example, Walmart recently created an integrated supply chain in the US, hoping to extend its use of IA across Canada, Chile, India and Mexico in the near future. Its new automated distribution centres have helped to connect previously disparate merchandise distribution centres, perishable food distribution centres and ecommerce fulfilment centres to one another, giving Walmart better control over its inventory and making it easier to decide when to purchase new stock. This ultimately improved the flow of goods, making it much easier and quicker to respond to customer demand. Thanks to IA, the chain has also been able to make better use of its existing storage facilities rather than purchasing new premises.
The chief executive of Britannia Financial Group, Mark Bruce, claims that IA has “irreversibly become a mainstay in financial services”, furthermore stating that “it is not a question of strategy” but rather “one of survival”.
One good example of this is JP Morgan, which now uses bots to respond to its internal IT requests. Likewise, Barclays has recently introduced IA to manage its accounts receivables and fraudulent account closure activities, thus streamlining its backend processes and giving human staff more time to focus on building meaningful relationships with customers via a more personalised service. Not only this, but there are fewer critical errors, too, as IA technologies are better able to analyse vast amounts of data for compliance and detect any unusual transactions with unrivalled speed.
The healthcare industry is just one area in which IA is making waves – with huge potential to come. From improved diagnostics through the analysis of medical imagery to personalised treatment plans based on predictive patient data, the outcomes prove incredibly beneficial to both staff and patients. Staff will no longer need to contend with mundane activities like medical bill coding and straightforward patient registrations, allowing them to spend time providing better quality healthcare to patients, instead. Meanwhile, patients will benefit from a more personal touch, accompanied by faster pre-checks and eligibility checks that mean a better use of their time.
Unsurprisingly, IA proved especially beneficial during the Covid pandemic, with companies like Bupa using the technology to identify any staff members who were ill much more quickly than if humans had to process the vast amount of data that needed to be processed. Indeed, the healthcare provider had to process 10,000 test results per week. Thanks to IA, however, they were able to successfully alert staff on the frontline within just seconds – something also seen in the NHS.
Like other sectors, IA can be used to alleviate the burden of repetitive tasks in education. Examples include monitoring attendance and other back-office functions. This frees up staff time to focus on quality of education and, because everything is seamlessly integrated, means clunky legacy systems are replaced with a seamless system that provides a better experience for students, too.
A key example of this is the UCAS system, with universities like the University of East London (UEL) using IA to transfer records from its internal system to UCAS in record time. Traditionally, the institution would need to transfer 1300 records manually, which would take up to 435 hours of staff time. Instead, the entire process took just two days using Niico IA software – all with 100% accuracy. The same software actually won the 2021 Heist Awards for extraordinary work in higher education after it helped Manchester Metropolitan University to make its clearing process so much more efficient that it saw a 240% ROI, just demonstrating what a tangible difference IA can really make.
When it comes to implementing your own IA solutions, it’s important to remember that cultural barriers like fears surrounding job security and the general implications of automation tend to be more of an obstacle than cost. Implementation is actually much cheaper and faster than other technological transformations, so the majority of the effort is centred around preparing your workforce to see the benefits, instead.
As experts in building digitally enabled businesses, Equantiis can help when it comes to creating a strategy and setting a vision of how IA will drive people-positive change. Our award-winning Niico platform can be used to automate your business in just a matter of weeks – without changing your current technology – and, with a library of more than 100 sector-specific bots to choose from, your whole team is guaranteed to be pleased with the results.
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