From the outset, the idea of creating a digital workforce can be daunting. We’ve created a range of materials to help guide you through each step of your automation strategy — from ‘The essential questions when choosing your automation supplier’ to ‘How to implement Intelligent Automation’. But while these pieces of content give you a more in-depth look at how to build out your strategy, in this article let’s take a look in brief at the different value you can expect to obtain in the long, mid and short term. Because the best things come in threes, and a digital workforce investment isn’t simply a quick buck, but rather a route to the future of work and ultimately a business transformation tool. (And, we also know you might not have the time for an e-book, or whitepaper!)
The short — The quick wins, efficiency and productivity gains
It’s normal for organizations to see Intelligent Automation, or a digital workforce, and think “ah, we’ve got this automation thing sorted” — return on investment within months, money in the bank, productivity problems a thing of the past. And, they aren’t wrong. In the short term a digital workforce will remove the tedious, repetitive tasks, increase input from your employees and deliver those ‘quick wins’. The original lay out of rusty cogs, which a digital workforce can get working like new. But, these processes which may span the whole business are only those quick wins. Those ones to prove to in-house doubters that the solution does do what it says on the website, and they aren’t just jabbering fools selling you the technological version of snake oil. But, after the original short-term boom, with the right approach, this will keep on going - there’s gold up in those mid and long term mountains, but only if you take the tactical approach.
The Mid — Business Performance Improvement
Some will stray from the path once they’ve achieved the short term. After all, the ROI has been hit and the project is delivering the goods. It usually comes with companies simply referring to a digital workforce as a ‘project’, and not what it should be — an enterprise wide business strategy. In the past, the tools for Fiona in Finance, may not work in HR. But this isn’t some niche, mono-tool that simply does a finance, or back office automation. It’s multi-skilled and sees all tasks anywhere in the business as the same (Virtual Workers are the polymath of automation, the envy of all). In the mid-term, you can really hit your stride. The short term aims have created that base, and now it’s your time to go beyond and shine. Taking your freed-up staff capacity and additional digital resources to enhance customer experience, increase revenue and reduce business risk. How? Much of this is based on the time, speed and quality that a digital workforce provides. They give your people their time back, they deliver at speed, anywhere and anytime, and they don’t make mistakes.
The long — Enable Business Transformation
As you get to the long-term, you might be thinking it will be less effective. But, we think of the long term as the extra exciting part. The time to transform and disrupt, where you can free your experts to design the new business model or product you didn’t deem possible. We’ve seen customers do all kinds of things with digital labor from making whole businesses around it, to new-generation apps, which with human labor alone just wouldn’t be plausible. And the long-term part of your automation strategy needn’t be any different. Whether it’s an app to disrupt healthcare, such as a recruitment or digital health, or an app for tracking utility usage, or maybe you have something in mind that is totally out of the ordinary! Even if you have a smaller, nimbler competitor, digital labor can make you as fast to react as your agile competition. When trying to achieve this it is key to be open to the possible - our tip would be to never to think that an idea is to big. You never know what can be achieved together with digital workforce at your disposal — which can read, write, converse, interpret and interact with people, and machines alike.
While you are in the thick of it all, it is key to think about these aims as you ride the waves of a digital workforce strategy. Take the bitesize chunks of benefits as they come and keep the long term in mind. And, never just see this as a technology play for cost savings alone - because this is where you miss out on the overall value that it can deliver. Always keep in mind that together humans and people can achieve more.