As the virus runs its course, remote-working technologies are gaining popularity! The digital transformation curve that usually took months is now fast-forwarded to a few days or a week. That’s because during these chaotic and unprecedented times, investing in and adopting new technologies is not a nice-to-have feature; it’s a matter of survival!
No wonder, organizations around the world are scrambling to get their hands on technologies that can support their remote working arrangements. Very few organizations have been successful in exhibiting their remote readiness even before the pandemic hit us. Those who did, are witness to how technologies like AI and robotic process automation (RPA) are key to improving business processes and employee productivity.
These technologies are not merely there to support; they are the core drivers of value. They help businesses stay operational and productive, thereby ensuring business continuity. According to a report by McKinsey, intelligent process automation (IPA), which encompasses RPA and smart workflow, is making inroads in the business world and helping firms reduce their operational risks and enhance work efficiency.
How these disruptive technologies are key to prepare your organization for the post-pandemic era.
Support Firms with Legacy Systems
Most companies are using legacy systems because they power most of the critical business operations. They carry a significant amount of proprietary data that are at a risk of getting lost or corrupted lest the business decides to change the status quo.
However, legacy systems can be unstable owing to their incompatibility and lack of support and maintenance. This makes them prone to security breaches. Not to forget, the siloed nature of these systems makes them blockers of agility and productivity.
AI and RPA possess the ability to transform legacy technology systems that are hard to access or work with during this remote working age. Imagine having remote new hires trying to work on a CRM system they have never used. They will find it challenging to create a new task on such systems. Instead, if a bot is used, it can quickly perform the necessary steps to help them achieve their objective.
Moreover, AI and RPA-driven solutions can help your remote employees access information stored on the company server. They can retrieve data from these legacy systems into modern cloud-based UI, making it easy for employees to access them from their remote devices. This can greatly improve organizational efficiency.
“AI and RPA tools easily integrate with existing business applications, averting the need to completely restructure or change processes and software. .”
Encourages Employees to Do Things the Agile Way
Doing agile means you are focussing on applying a process to make a few changes. It is related to processes, practices, and iterations. These are the core strengths of AI and RPA. These technologies help firms make agile changes to processes and deploy bots when they plan to scale process automation.
When applied strategically, these tools can help businesses rapidly adjust processes, collaborate with key stakeholders, and ensure the optimal utilization of resources.
Effectively Handle Mundane Tasks
Like machine learning, expert systems, natural language processing, RPA is a sub-branch of AI that can manage repetitive tasks, such as gathering disparate documents and transcribing data. The technology has the ability to configure software and react to or mimic specific triggers using rules (not code!).
According to a recent survey report, a majority of employees find themselves spending time on tasks that can be easily automated. AI and RPA can automate any time-consuming and tedious tasks, allowing employees to focus on other critical aspects of the business. This greatly reduces employee burnout and boosts productivity.
For instance, after COVID-19 struck most firms had to adjust their paid and sick leave policies. An automated bot can help achieve this easily in comparison to involving the HR and Finance team to rewrite the entire system.
Further, workflow organization and process automation is critical in a remote work environment as they put a clear timeline for the execution of tasks and individual objectives. AI and RPA tools can help streamline such orchestrated and repeatable patterns of business processes, driving significant productivity gains.
Most businesses are investing in RPA tools as it’s easy to implement, cost-effective, scalable, and easily adapts to a changing enterprise environment. These RPA software robots are mostly self-triggered, require little intervention, and can do most of the heavy lifting for the workforce. This allows employees to devote more time to cognitive and strategic work.
Ensure Effective Data Backup
During this era of social distancing, remote employees use their home WiFi for personal and official purposes. Depending on the device they are using (company or personal), the existing company policies, and the VPN services used, remote employees may or may not be able to automatically backup business data.
” AI and RPA-enabled backup bots can help automate the process of taking backups remotely. The bots can be configured to work with other backup systems too, making the return-to-office transition smooth and quick.”
Improve Human-Human and Human-Bot Collaboration
In an organization, everything is interconnected. So, if you need to completely automate a business process, employees from various departments need to collaborate and think through the existing conditions, challenges, and the possible opportunities and improvements. Thus, deploying AI and RPA solutions will bring all employees (even those who never had a reason to connect with others) to interact with each other.
Moreover, AI and automation don’t necessarily mean the end of the ‘human’ factor. In fact, the opposite is true! As businesses continue investing in AI and RPA deployment, the processes are expected to become more complex and multifaceted, increasing the demand for a hybrid workforce. In other words, humans and bots will need to collaborate on tasks.
RPA-powered bots will perform their set of tasks that are repetitive and arduous and then pass it on to humans who will decide the further course of action. In turn, humans will delegate critical processes to RPA tools without having to stress about their accuracy.
As human expertise in working with bots improves during this era, we can expect more such deployments that create real value for businesses.
The Way Forward
Going forward, businesses will retrospect on the challenges faced by them in managing a dispersed workforce and processes and look for innovative ways to support business operations in good and bad times. Technologies like AI and RPA will be at the centre of such decisions.
Businesses will increase their focus on process-level automation and deploy an increasing number of AI and RPA solutions to drive a new age of disruption in the post-pandemic era.
— Gaurav Belani is a senior SEO and content marketing analyst at Growfusely