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It took a Pandemic to get Organizations to Evaluate and Elevate their Intelligent Automation Strategies

Business Process Services

November 24, 2020

In the bygone days, it was believed that technology transformation in the world of operations is not possible within the limited budgets allocated to them. It was misconstrued that it is nothing but a marketing game with new fancy words cropping up every few years. Though this is partially correct, because service providers must catch attention of the customers in this highly competitive market and so they try to reinvent the wheel. But we cannot ignore the fact that companies have kept these at a backburner for the longest time refusing to adopt these technologies. Since they always had a cheaper option – “Offshoring to a low cost destination”

With overall operating model going under a massive shift due to corona virus, the boundaries between physical and digital world are going to fade away. Technology would be infused in our daily lives in ways we could have never imagined. Due to the ongoing global crisis, fresh perspectives and strategic alignment towards digital transformation have found place in boardroom meetings. We have leapfrogged almost 5 years in terms of technology demand. As the most popular meme of lockdown goes –

Enterprises have realized that, dependency on human efforts alone to run operations is not sustainable and are thus looking for avenues, which can withstand risk and are crisis resilient. According to a recent HFS survey, 54% of enterprises state that they are going to increase spend on process automation in 2020 and beyond. Companies are ready to play offensive to create an actual business continuity plan.

Just before the COVID pandemic, clients had started to question the actual worth of RPA in terms of real savings and were putting up resistance to any discussion on AI/ML. We now observe a shift, only because expectations and focus have moved from saving costs to building a sustainable operating model resistant to crisis.

Due to this shift, in the upcoming Post COVID era service providers may witness boom in the following automation trends-

  1. Intelligent Platforms – Business Platforms (such as Pega, MediusFlow, SAP) have started integrating rule-based automations in their products so that the customer remains loyal and it is still deemed valid in industry. Activities such as data entry, email replies, OCR which were previously pitched for RPA candidates are vigorously being inbuilt in the platform itself. To achieve this, the big product owners either acquire a small RPA player (e.g. SAP acquired Contextor) or mimic RPA technology in-house to upgrade their platform.
  2. Automation-as-a-service (AAAS) – As Bot building becomes run-of-the mill and reaches “Factory” model, clients are more interested to “rent” this digital workforce instead of doing heavy lifting production themselves. With close to 75+ RPA tools available for usage right now, the market is getting too hot to handle and the buyer is becoming smarter. Recent example being Bot Store, a marketplace by Automation Anywhere where you can look for pre-built Bots.
  3. Bot Assisted Contact Centers – As operations and technology worlds merge, now more than ever because of the social distancing-safety measures, and millennials joining the workforce, a serious revamp of the contact centers becomes mandatory. More companies are embracing digital transformation post COVID, thereby increasing the need of an efficient contact center where response and resolution is expected to be delivered within minutes, only possible with bot-human collaboration.
  4. Self-Learning Bots – For a leader, best subordinates are the ones who do not need to be told the same thing twice. Why should machines be any different? As Machine Learning becomes more real with easily available infrastructure, computation power and other resources, clients are going to demand better cognitive tools for their operations so that a “True Digital workforce” can be realized – a gap which RPA has not been able to fill.
  5. Automated Discovery and Documentation – Development timelines are shrinking as automation is democratized. To achieve this, human interactions need to be minimized and be less dependent on. Process discovery tools such as AA’s Discovery Bot, Mimica etc. can help you map processes quicker and with 90% + accuracy, something a business analyst can rarely achieve. These tools will prove critical now as we need to overcome physical and geographical issues for years to come.
  6. Change Agents – As more and more technologies swarm the market, enterprises will need specialized players to help them implement best-fit solution and overcome change resistance within their operations. We may see more innovative engagement models (E.g T3 -Transition, Transform, Transfer from Hexaware) by service providers to enable Human-Bot partnership at a larger scale and aid in change adoption.

 

None of the above technologies is new. It has taken a virus to make companies realize the gap they ought to fill. Now we know that it’s less about innovation but more about adoption of sustainable technology that already exists. The Post-COVID race has begun and it will be worthwhile to see which organization thrives to stay in the game and which one loses the battle. As Warren buffet rightly pointed out “You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.”

About the Author

Vasudha Monga

Vasudha Monga

Vasudha has been part of IT Services industry for 7+ years. Having worked in multiple industries and roles, she has rich experience in the world of Operations and Automation. Currently, she is creating Intelligent Automation solutions and advising clients on transformation as part of Hexaware’s Automation Presales team.

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