As businesses adapt to the realities of hybrid working, they’re increasingly turning to automation to manage resources and keep their teams safe.
Automation is being used to help manage resources by enabling what IT analyst firm Gartner calls “Anywhere Operations.” It’s an operating model “designed to support customers everywhere, enable employees everywhere and manage the deployment of business services across distributed infrastructures.”
Automation and integration tools are helping organizations adapt infrastructure faster to enable digital transformation while maintaining business continuity, as well as create a more Agile approach to equip physical workspaces on-demand for better team collaboration.
Greg Armor, EVP at Gryphon.ai, thinks artificial intelligence (A.I.) and automation are completely transforming the way business is conducted in a variety of industries. “More companies are embracing these technologies to find greater productivity across the board, especially in an effort to make remote work smoother or fill gaps left by increased employee turnover,” he said.
A 2019 study by Gartner found that, by the end of 2021, A.I. will create $2.9 trillion in business value and 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity on a global scale.
“The A.I. takeover in the business technology market is inevitable, and the companies that are beginning to embrace the technology will begin to see a vast acceleration in the productivity of workers and ability to drive results towards the bottom line,” Armor said.
Paul Deur, co-founder at ReadyWorks, a SaaS firm that uses data and automation to help organizations optimize their IT programs, said that, to achieve anywhere operations and realize these new capabilities and advantages, companies are turning to digital platform conductor (DPC) tools, which let organizations strategically manage across their infrastructure.
“A DPC conducts data, systems and people to cut through IT complexity and enable more efficient and agile operations,” he said. “It connects to all the other IT and business systems to integrate and normalize data, analyze risk, automate and orchestrate workflows, and report on program status.”
Meanwhile, workflow automation improves worker productivity by automating repetitive tasks such as scheduling, communications, task assignment, and execution.
“Users can leverage self-service capabilities to select a time… that works for them and based on IT team’s capacity,” Deur said. “That means no more back-and-forth to find a time that works for everyone.”
By adopting the capabilities of a DPC, facilities management and IoT teams can manage all systems throughout their lifecycle from one central platform, and security and compliance teams are able to get immediate visibility into the location and usage of assets. Deur noted they are also able to ensure assets are properly handled from “cradle to grave” and are running the latest OS and applications to mitigate security risks.
“Also, by leveraging self-service capabilities, IT teams are working with end users to offer a better customer experience, through communications, scheduling and attestation of data and usage,” Deur added.
Prithvi Mulchandani, vice president of IT at Deltek, explained that, as the pandemic hit, he realized his company—an organization of 3,000 employees around the globe—needed to optimize around their toolset to better collaborate. “Over the last year, our company focused on driving efficiency in the organization, giving our employees all the tools they need to work remotely,” he said. “Our IT organization quickly pivoted services to being remote and we invested in tools that we needed for better collaboration and running our business remotely.”
Some of the major projects Mulchandani’s company has undertaken include upgrading business communication platforms, employee mobility technologies, and office resource scheduling software. “All our business units have enthusiastically embraced these automation and integration technologies,” he said, pointing out the finance and HR teams have seen “significant progress” outside of IT.
In HR, talent acquisition uses A.I. to improve sourcing strategies, making it more efficient for recruiters to find the best available talent in the shortest period of time. Predictive analytics is used to anticipate future employee behavior and provide key insights for decision-making.
“Automated processes and tools allow departments to collaborate more effectively, and when they are more productive, they're rethinking how they do their jobs and doing their jobs differently because of the platform,” he said.
Examples of technologies Deltek is exploring include those that allow for even more engaging virtual meetings, including whiteboarding, polls and improved video. “It is more and more important that companies look for ways to scale and increase efficiency within their business operations,” Mulchandani said. “It is my team’s responsibility to support the business by providing technologies and tools to drive efficiencies through automation and data and analytics.”
To keep teams operating successfully from remote locations, many companies are turning to real-time visibility and A.I.-powered automation tools to manage their remote workforce. “Take a sales rep working remotely, who needs the ability to quickly execute on sales strategy or move to the next touchpoint to close a deal,” Armor said. “With an increase in demand for quick sales and a lack of training from the skills shortage, many reps lack the tools to perform to an optimal level.”
There are a variety of tools available to help maintain the productivity of your remote workforce, but the important thing is finding the solution that is tailored to your specific needs. It must also scale along with the company, allowing managers to stay flexible and Agile along with your team.
“One of the key challenges companies face in a remote model is a lack of visibility into workers’ productivity, and without a tool that can solve this, processes can get bogged down and productivity is slowed,” he explained. “This is especially true in contact centers or customer service organizations where streamlined communication channels are crucial.”