Strategic Automation: Building Process Excellence and Agility at Speed

Infogain, in association with Automation Anywhere, hosted Intelligent Automation: Building Process Excellence and Enterprise Agility on August 13th. In this virtual event, participants learned actionable strategies on leveraging intelligent automation in their organizations. The event resonated with attendees as they search for a successful transition to a post-pandemic environment with the help of automation.

The panelists, Ken Mertzel of Automation AnywhereRPA practitioner from Fortune 50 courier delivery services company, and Radhakrishnan R of Infogain, discussed their insights on automation trends, successful use cases, and implementation of best practices. Most of all, the event answered the frequently asked questions about automation and provided strategies for how to get started.

Here are key takeaways from the event:

Ken Mertzel, Global Industry Leader – Financial services, Automation Anywhere

Ken talked about how technology is evolving and being used in the current COVID environment. The pandemic has affected business operations, and companies are focusing on developing and managing a digital workforce leveraging technology and data to provide real-time insights and strategies to scale automation efforts. Robotic Process Automation bots are a Digital Workforce that can interact with any system or application the same way you do—everything from copy-paste to correcting data to making calculations. So there’s no need to change underlying business systems or applications, or any part of existing business processes to automate.

While most companies had automation efforts underway before the pandemic, now they are looking for ways to accelerate those efforts and best utilize their employees and their limited resources for high-value work. Companies are increasingly using robotic process automation to implement key processes in a fraction of the time that traditional automation that might take.

Key critical features of an automation platform include:

  • Process discovery tools such as Automation Anywhere’s Discovery Bot that help identify what needs to be automated.
  • The ability to accessing and structure data with technologies such as ML and computer vision.
  • Smart analytics to uncover true business insights. How is your business performing, given all the data that’s flowing through your systems?

Ken highlighted the many benefits of RPA, including error reduction, increased compliance, and audit savings. In the grander scheme, RPA also provides incremental revenue opportunities, freeing resources to focus on process improvements, and value-added work.

From Financial Services & RPA at Fortune 50 courier delivery services company

One of our speakers shared insights from his company’s automation journey. The Fortune 50 courier delivery services company has 15,000 employees, 2000 locations, and numerous back-office functions and opportunities for automation. Getting RPA underway was a challenge as team members across the organization tried to build capabilities in their spare time. The initial bots were clunky, and they realized that a better strategy was to formalize the way they were built. He formed an RPA Center of Excellence (CoE) with team members who understood coding best practices, who had time to dedicate and build things on a reasonable timeline.

Lessons learned

  1. Turning vision into reality was of a logistical challenge. They had to figure out as a company how to build reliable bots that don’t break.
  2. If you can’t build bots that can’t run on their own, then you can’t do this—there is no way going to scale. All you’ll do is fix bots all day. The team discarded many bots but kept the concept and rebuilt them down the line. “It was a major waste of time and we learned that building them right the first time is key.” Learning and investing in the knowledge to build bots correctly is very important. Finding tech-savvy people who are driven to solve the problem with whatever they have in front of them is critical.
  3. A third of the overall automation effort comes from the actual development, all the rest is in figuring out the processes.
  4. Instead of just automating little things, think about how to transform teams. How do we become a business transformation team?

Radhakrishnan R, Head of Hyperautomation Practice, Infogain

RK provided a view of how companies can make and automation engagement more successful. He shared lessons learned from an Infogain hyperautomation use case in partnership with Automation Anywhere and Google that involved deploying one of the first Automation Anywhere RPA bots on Google Cloud for a disruptive vacation marketplace.

Download the case study here

Radhakrishnan shared takeaways from this and other projects:

  1. Don’t go automate bots in a vacuum. Instead, look at the process ensure it is stable. If not, drive business process discussions and improvements to stabilize the process first.
  2. Look at automation holistically. Don’t take an approach where it’s either RPA or a technology. Automation needs to achieve a business outcome.
  3. If you’re looking to automate three or four processes, you’re not making effective use of automation.
  4. Develop a plan to get started:
    1. Put together an automation blueprint—a Center of Excellence (CoE), which helps you helps you define the governance model, an operating model, and helps you measure success.
    2. Upgrade the skills of your staff with talent augmentations strategies
    3. Develop a demand and program management framework to identify the right processes for automation.
    4. Create a pipeline so that you can have the momentum of automation across your organization.
    5. Put the right developer and best practices into place as you build your automation platform.
    6. Focus on and build a platform for scale. As you build it, develop and use your own toolkit to make sure that your engagement and success.
    7. Focus on and build a platform for scale. You need to have the right approach methodology, your toolkit, to make sure that your engagement and success.
    8. Determine which processes that you can generate as part of your demand generation program. Start small and de sure to automate the right processes.

Conclusion

At Infogain, automation is more than just about technology. Infogain has managed company-wide RPA programs at billion-dollar companies. We deliver performance transformation through the integration of multiple automation toolsets, processes, and technologies.

Event | Infogain at the DIA 2019

Infogain will be in attendance at DIA’s Global Annual Meeting (DIA 2019) in San Diego. We are excited to share our knowledge and case studies that will enable Health Tech companies to begin their Digital Transformation journey. This process is similar to a unicorn accelerating their journey while improving their time-to-market.

DIA, founded as the Drug Information Association, has provided a global, yet neutral stage, for collaboration to address healthcare challenges for more than 50 years. DIA’s Global Annual Meeting gathers stakeholders from across the world to openly knowledge share, generating insights beyond boundaries to advance innovation in healthcare product development and lifecycle management globally.

Name of attendees:

Veera S Raghavan has joined Infogain as Vice President, Business Development.

Event Venue: DIA 2019, JUNE 23-27, 2019, SAN DIEGO, CA

For more information or to connect with us, email us at Events.US@infogain.com

Changing Face of Retail Business Intelligence

Rikki Jolly
VP-Global Delivery (Retail), Infogain

Paving way for a bigger, brighter and magnanimous future, analytics and Big Data are transforming one of the largest global industries – the retail industry. The value, variety and velocity of retail data is surging by the day, making it imperative for the industry players to elevate their offerings to match the changing consumer paradigms. While consumers may be tilting between the widely growing network of e-tailing and traditional brick and mortar stores, it’s the innate charm of providing a personalized experience that still draws consumers to ground zero. However, times are e-changing and gone are the days of long-term business planning. With technology paving its way deep into the sector, it has become crucial to transform to stay in the game.

The traditional retails stores are left with no choice but to be a part of the change and make a dash for a bevy of reforms to give attract, retain and widen their consumer base. With understanding the consumer forming the basis of every business strategy, it becomes the demand of the industry to scale up data collection, analytics and its usage. A McKinsey report had suggested that retailers making use of big data analytics could increase their operating margins by as much as 60 per cent.

The tremendously competitive retail environment has made it extremely complicated to understand and win consumers. The roadblock doesn’t exist in the unavailability of data defining the consumers and their buying patterns, rather its available dime a dozen. The biggest challenge is to fathom and interpret the data procured from a multitude of channels to take informed business decisions. And this is by far the tallest challenge given the plethora of tools available analyze and report on data that may not give deep decision making insights unless rightly interpreted and aligned to the business goals.

This makes it imperative for retailers to be proactive, alert and dexterous with having customer-oriented ground staff, aided with technology to enable a customer needs friendly environment. There is a need to adapt technological disruptions and work closely on the data and analytics capabilities to survive in the ever-moving market dynamics. This agility and ability to understand the mind of the consumer gives the retailer an opportunity to gratify the consumer across all contact points and occasions, building relationships that have the potential to deliver incremental profits.

How is Big Data helping Retailers?

1.Identifying customers – Today retailers have a better way to identify the customers and offer them the right product. The customer segmentation is now much more refined and data driven based on customers transaction history, basket analysis, loyalty programs, social media interactions. It is easier for retailers to get a 360 degree view of the customer and offer them customized products based on their past preferences or what people similar to them are buying.

2.Price Optimization – Online Retailing is based on Dynamic Pricing and the price of a product depends on multiple factors from market demand, inventory, competitors pricing, whether a particular product is the seasons must have product, etc. Earlier retailers used to give end of season sale. But now based on Machine Learning, prices are adjusted real time and recommendations or offer are sent to a specific set of customers who has purchased those products or has earlier shown interest, propensity to buy those.

3.Generating Customer Loyalty – Customers today need to be treated royally, they want Retailers to understand their requirement, recommend product and services that suits them, and keep them informed at every stage of the selling cycle from booking, shipping, and product delivery to feedback. This is not an easy task for the retailers keeping in mind the varied customers they serve. Big Data Analysis can help you to recommend the right products to a customer or run targeted marketing campaigns to reach out to a specific segment. It also helps you to understand the customers’ path to purchase or their buying pattern, thus reaching out to them at each step to close the sales cycle.

4.Forecasting Demand – Predicting demand has become much more efficient now and retailers can easily find if a particular product is in demand during certain time of the year, or in a particular city or by a specific group and how to adjust the inventory. Retailers also gather a lot of data using social media to understand the changing preferences of a customers or do sentiment analysis to find whether the product is getting positive, negative or neutral feedback in the market.

5.Fraud Detection – Big Data Analytics can be effectively used to detect any fraud by analyzing data from daily transactions and activities such as purchasing, accounts payable, POS, sales projections, warehouse movements, employee shift records, returns and store-level video and audio recordings.

Enhancing Customer Experience
In the extremely competitive retail environment, the trick lies in creating an unforgettable customer environment to attract and retain customers. And effective use of technology can help in making this a reality as innovative retailers are making use of digital tools to augment the customer experience in their stores. And the ones that understand the consumer pulse are getting down to offering free Wi-Fi, cloud based POS systems among other measures, encouraging consumers to do research and make informed buying decisions, giving the retailers also an opportunity to track their shopping behavior. This preliminary insight will enable the retailer to create bespoke recommendations and multi-level reward programs. And the free Wi-Fi may turn out to be as good a crowd puller like a sale signboard!

The pace and the dexterity with which micro data is collected, gives the retailers immediate insights on the shopping trends. This analysis on the move allows them to adjust their prices and add to the lure by announcing on the spot discounts on the sales floor based on their current and previous shopping patterns. This data, often collected through interactive mobile devices in stores, provides the retailer an understanding of the buyers needs and give insights into making smarter decisions about product placement in the store.

These, small yet effective insights, gives a retailer acumen about future consumer behavior, which is a must to stay alive in the competitive retail world. This would be a far cry from the historical retailers who only scratched the surface while making use of the piles of customer data available with them. And with the social media redefining the rules of the game, understanding and leveraging these social media sentiments can give them insights into the customer behavior and intentions. The formidable power of social media that can make or break brands is forcing the retailers to transform the retail landscape dramatically with interactive and immediate communication strategies pushing away the traditional approach. Customer has indeed become the king for retailers that needs an ‘out of the way’ experience with unexpected customized and bespoke services on offer to be able to make an impression in the bevy of lures already preoccupying their minds.

News Originally Posted on: ET Retail