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Intelligent Process Automation for a Digital Workforce in New Zealand

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One of the most significant changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has been a reworking of core business processes. Organisations were forced to quickly rework many systems that had been in place for years as people were forced to suddenly work from home or remotely, disrupted supply chains and caused a major shift in customer demands and delivery modes.

Many of the existing processes were overly manual, inefficient and time-consuming to implement. Some, for example, were overly reliant on all staff being in a single, central location, and broke when people began working remotely. All these situations highlight the often-brittle interdependencies in how internal processes are designed and implemented. For this reason, attention is now turning to how intelligent automation can help in organisations.

Intelligent process automation is the layering of automation and intelligent technologies that enable organisations to harness technologies to transform the way organisations work and the way services are delivered. It has profound transformational benefits and organisational implications that require robust operational excellence and organisational change to be successful.

Intelligent Enterprise is a unique opportunity in the market to drive generational and digital shifts in the business, operational and technology imperatives of organisations. A successful intelligent enterprise views automation as more than technology and recognises its impact on all aspects of the business – people, culture, and processes. Many large organisations have already begun to follow this path. However, intelligent automation is increasingly being used by much smaller and mid-market organisations.

Since its initial deployment by a local enterprise over 5 years ago, robotic process automation (RPA) has been rapidly adopted in New Zealand, and many of the country’s largest industries now have multiple examples of successful programmes. Intelligent Automation integrates all the capabilities found in RPA, plus adds capabilities to process automation only possible through bots that learn and adapt to data in real-time.

In a survey, it has stated that intelligent automation in New Zealand is now a board-level focus and is included in strategic plans across all sectors including the tertiary sector. Intelligent Automation covers a wide range of technologies and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has been adopted by 78% of respondents and 16% plan to use it in the next coming years. Interestingly process mining is the lowest at 20% currently implementing and 42% planning to. However, companies expect this to grow quickly in New Zealand.

This shift is allowed by the emergence of newer, more cost-effective deployment and hosting models, as well as the ability of space specialists to provide tailored, intelligent automation models for smaller-scale use. Moving forward, embracing intelligent automation requires an organisation to follow a series of steps. The first involves the review and documentation of all existing business processes.

Intelligent automation can also be used to improve a small portion of a larger, inefficient process. A typical new employee onboarding process, for example, involves many different roles within an organisation, ranging from HR and IT to finance, to name a few, as well as the use of several distinct systems that may or may not be integrated.

Automation can help streamline this onboarding process by assessing the employee profile and sending the relevant information and pre-filled documents to the relevant systems. A bot can then ensure that the relevant documents are sent to the future employee and that they are completed on time.

While intelligent automation may sound appealing, many businesses may be put off by the perceived complexity. Working with an experienced partner, on the other hand, can allow a business to reap the benefits without being bogged down by the technology’s deployment.

It should be noted that most automation projects do not begin and end with robots. It all begins with humans and progresses through a slew of systems and integration challenges. It is important to work with a partner who can provide a wide range of capabilities, not just automation. The right partner will create a low-cost operating model, such as hosting and managing software robots in a multi-tenanted environment.

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