By RG Conlee
Turns out, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Just ask Pikachu. I’m sure you have heard of the new game sweeping the globe, Pokemon Go; whether you are playing it, your kids are playing it, or you have bumped into someone playing it on the street – literally. The free-to-play, location based, augmented reality mobile game has surpassed Twitter in daily active users on Android phones. In its first month. The Pokemon franchise has been around for thirty years and is experiencing a surge in new fans, both old and young – trying to ”catch them all” – due to this popular new twist of an old game.
Why am I talking about Pokemon?
Because the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) world is undergoing a parallel transformation with the introduction of technology such as automation, analytics and machine learning. It’s not just about deploying more of the same software to fix the problem. That won’t work, because today’s complex processes are still handled by people. Siloed solutions are narrowly applied and miss the bigger picture about the business at large. Instead, this new intelligent automation – the technology that turbo-charges BPO and delivers exponential gains — could be the start of a new industrial revolution.
Intelligent automation is a “virtual workforce” – software that performs tasks in an efficient, repeatable way. It mimics human actions, as well as harnesses the power of machine learning and advanced analytics to improve and streamline performance with every cycle.
Benefits of intelligent automation:
- It’s fast, accurate and highly cost‑effective.
- It’s available around the clock.
- It can be traced, and it reduces risk by limiting human access to sensitive data, either from customers or the organization at large.
- It ensures greater regulatory compliance.
- Scales rapidly to meet demand or growth.
- Enables improved business outcomes.
Intelligent automation improves business results because it allows organizations to move beyond the diminishing returns of labor arbitrage to automated service delivery, which brings exponential productivity gains. This solution delivers for all stakeholders within an organization:
- Process owners can simplify, streamline and automate processes, gain better visibility, optimize resources and scale to meet demand and growth.
- C-level/finance can operate more effectively, adapting to dynamic market changes with less costly and more productive processes.
- IT/compliance can increase security, improve data governance and simplify the workflow.
However, not all intelligent automation solutions are created equal. You have four possible choices:
- Buy an off-the-shelf intelligent automation solution and do it yourself. This is a one-size-fits-all solution, so you don’t achieve the true potential of process automation. Often, these solutions are narrowly applied in an organization looking to solve one or more localized issues.
- Hire a systems integrator that deploys intelligent automation for you, then leaves you to manage it. They are still using the off-the-shelf solution, which limits the effectiveness. Once you are up and running, you’re on your own, so there is a learning curve and hidden costs down the line, which can drive down the return on investment.
- Use an intelligent automation solution that your BPO service provider has bought and customized. Now you are getting the experience necessary to constantly refine and improve the process automation. But, the software is still coming from a third party so your provider, and your organization, are dependent on the lack of customization for your business needs.
- Use an intelligent automation solution that your BPO service provider has developed from the ground up.
In the interest of brevity, I will focus on the last option. This is a best-of-all-worlds approach that unlocks the knowledge and expertise of your BPO service provider in the most beneficial way. You get an intelligent automation solution that has been improved on through hundreds of existing implementations. Your partner will apply what it has learned from across its business to build in continuous improvements. Even more important, in this context, you’re getting a solution designed especially for BPO — built from the ground up in a BPO environment. It builds on decades of research, process expertise, investment and development experience, which means it delivers more value and better results.
BPO powered by intelligent automation is the next big thing, and is set to transform business processes. As process automation is constantly refined and improved, and as new technology comes on-stream, you get dramatic improvements in speed, quality and cost. So the gains are exponential and ongoing.
Now, if you’ll excuse me — Charmander is outside my office.