Business Process Outsourcing: Automation & Augmentation

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Business Process Outsourcing: Automation & Augmentation

The Intelligent Automation market is moving at pace,  it’s disrupting traditional services or people led industries and in-house departments.  On one hand, it is turning the tide on the traditional Business Process Outsourcing. The process of organisations housing large banks of teams off-shore (in low cost areas) to automate large percentages of repetitive tasks is soon to be a thing of the past. Intelligent Automation can bring back in-house teams to handle exceptions and situations with a more personal touch. In many cases, the repatriated teams built in local economies are built around more fulfilling and interesting roles. 

Not surprisingly, this is also forcing the hand of many of the outsourcers to transform their own delivery methods, as they attempt to embrace automation and renegotiate contracts to retain business against other outsourcers. In an IT service management scenario for example, would you realistically accept the cost of FTE’s to re-key ticketing information from your ITSM solution to theirs anymore (the scary thing is, this a real world example of how an incumbent provider just lost their renewal).  You’d use RPA now, not people, which is not only cheaper, but easier to integrate than two ITSM systems.

Conversely, we are seeing the growth of specialist organisations who can help you build run and manage Intelligent Automation. As these platforms are managed by specialists, organisations can benefit from automation without the need to support skill development or build internal teams. Typically, agile services companies providing consultative engagements deliver value quickly and provide light touch support services. Usually, this is provided at a fraction of the cost of Outsource Service Management wrappers – The rise of Intelligent Automation Managed Service Providers (MSP’s).

Lastly, we’ve seen the augmentation of company’s IT or Shared Services morphing into build Centres of Excellence (CoE) devoted to Intelligent Automation.  They are taking a number of existing skilled people from within the organisation in areas such as Project/Change Management, Development and combining them with subject matter expertise from functional areas such as Finance, Operations or Customer Services. This creates roles that didn’t exist in the organisation two or three years ago, and creating fast sprouting new departments that can deliver huge cost and efficiency savings within a meagre 12 months of operation.

This disruption is also consolidating some silos of business that has been siloed for historical reasons.  But now, these CoE teams using Intelligent Automation, AI and Machine Learning together are beginning to see their remit increasing, taking on wider functional responsibility for driving efficiency, cost savings and process excellence.  Digital Transformation, Customer Experience, Finance Operations, Artificial Intelligence and Data Integration have all been standalone groups of people wrestling with their own domains.  They are now coming together with the help of Intelligent Automation.  

This is because Intelligent Automation uses existing systems, applications, data sources, processes & task flows, it can leverage AI & Machine Learning to augment capabilities needed within the existing infrastructure. In the past, siloed teams would struggle to accelerate value quickly, using intelligent automation they now can make changes fast.  It’s clearly not a panacea and does often form part of a long term journey to transform business operations and bring in new way of doing business using AI, but it is driving accelerated ROI to business across many areas.

 Thoughtonomy is engaged and helping clients and partners in all three scenarios outlined and with a single cloud delivered SaaS platform that utilises Intelligent Automation, Machine Learning and with Virtual Workers that are not tied to a function, a role, a task or a system. We like to think we are accelerating these savings and efficiencies even more.

By James Ewing, Senior Client Manager