Automation combined with know-how
Artificial intelligence, automation and robotization of processes are some of today’s hottest market trends. Do solutions of this type always bring about the business advantages that are expected of them? The right synergy between technology and competence of the workforce seems to be the key to success here.
According to research conducted by McKinsey & Company , as many as 49% of activities performed by Polish companies may be automated. Entrepreneurs operating in the production sector, as well as those active in the field of collecting and analyzing data, enjoy the greatest potential of increasing the use of such technologies. Businesses are showing an ever growing interest in RPA (automation and robotics) and AI solutions, both in terms of in-house projects, and services rendered by outside suppliers.
Our customers are primarily focusing on generating cost-savings, while maintaining or improving the quality of services they offer. They are willing to implement state-of-the-art technologies, not only due to business-related reasons, but also to improve their image. Therefore, the solutions they are interested in must comply with costs- and quality-related requirements, simultaneously relying on current technological solutions – says Janusz Dziurzyński, Development Director, OEX Group and ArchiDoc Board Member.
Which processes should be automated?
An automated process works flawlessly and without any time limitations, and its cost is lower than that of activities performed in the traditional manner. It is an ideal model which cannot be implemented, however, in any configuration. Automation is used, primarily, in the case of standards, foreseeable and repeatable processes. That is why when implementing automated solutions, the first step consists in drawing up the norms and standards required.
Usually, the simplest processes are automated first, e.g. those related to data processing or to the flow of information. The first results of change may be noticed rather quickly and are very measurable. This encourages the users to continue their efforts. But the farther they progress, the more difficulties they encounter. Mastering more complex processes involving a high number of exceptions, special cases or complicated queries, requires human intervention – adds Janusz Dziurzyński.
Automation cannot be defined solely as a means of reducing the headcount. It turns out very quickly that simple savings are not achievable at the more advanced stage of the process. That is when the need to conduct a more in-depth analysis of the processes, to identify longer value chains and to be ready for a thorough modification of the current modus operandi appears.
When it comes to automation, a golden mean taking into consideration the facilitation of processes on the one hand, and the expansion of the team’s knowledge on the other, needs to be identified. Relying exclusively on technology or on external resources may lead to losing the local competence on which the organization’s competitive advantage is built – says Janusz Dziurzyński.
Hybrid solutions that seamlessly combine RPA and AI components with the work of humans offer the perfect balance between those two elements. The customer service process may serve as a good example here, where a customer’s inquiry is taken over by a trained helpdesk employee, in a manner that is natural and unnoticeable for the recipient, as soon as a need arises – says Janusz Dziurzyński.
Growing popularity of automation may also lead to situations in which companies – willing to meet the market’s expectations – claim to have deployed modern technologies, while in reality they rely on the work of human employees. In some cases, the reverse may be true as well.
Robotics and process automation are often perceived as a difficult sphere that may only be tackled by the largest and most technologically advanced companies. Meanwhile, the market offers solutions that are affordable for organizations of all sizes. They may be easily implemented in the service sector as well – adds Janusz Dziurzyński.
Optimized use of legacy technologies
When automating processes, organizations are encouraged to take advantage of the technologies they have already implemented, and harness them to simplify or automate a given process. Relatively simple processes, such as booking, availability checks, information on meeting a specific criterion, verifying the status of a preceding operation that needs to be achieved in order to initiate a subsequent activity – are just some of the examples in which creative use of mobile technologies, as well as image and sound recognition, QR scanning or augmented reality may bring about some interesting ideas that translate into boosting the efficiency and effectiveness of a given process. Solutions ensuring the highest level of safety and compliance with the ever more stringent formal and regulatory requirements, such as Blockchain, for instance, form a completely distinct category.
While experimenting with technology, one must not forget about the primary driver behind all our efforts, i.e. the business objective. Implementation of the most advanced solutions will fail to bring about the results expected if the new processes are not aligned with the expectations of the final recipients of a given product or service – sums up Janusz Dziurzyński.
1 “Hand in hand with a robot. How to take advantage of the potential of automation in Poland”, McKinsey & Company, 2018.