5 Ways to Achieve Operational Efficiency Using Intelligent Operations

By Sean O’Neill | Aug 3, 2020 | Blog

The most dangerous kind of waste is waste we don't recognize. —Shigeo Shingo

Operational Efficiency is oftentimes described as a process in which an organization manufactures goods and services in a cost-effective and nominal waste approach. If the methods and approaches taken attain 100% operational efficiency, then all you must do is rinse and repeat. However, as recent events around the COVID-19 pandemic have shown, things are never that simple and the desired outcome oftentimes is not achieved.

Today, organizations and their operational efficiency requirements are in constant flux due to internal and external influences. Therefore, Operational Efficiency is a process that must be constantly monitored and strived for, especially when 100% attainment is rarely achieved. Operational Efficiency is critical to an organization's success. As such, organizations without a focus on Operational Efficiency are doomed for failure.

Organizations must constantly monitor and review the Operational Efficiencies within their various domains. Critical examples of these domains include:

  • Human Resources
  • Customer Care Call Center
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • IT Operations
  • Customer Engagement
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Customer Service Operations
  • Vendor Management
  • and many others

Operational Efficiency Improvements Using IA

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting the first one. —Mark Twain

In the last two decades, companies have adopted process automation as a means of improving Operations Efficiencies within their various organizational domain business processes. Advances in automation have brought about the convergence of business process automation with graphical interface automation. This convergence is known as Robotic Process Automation or RPA. Additionally, Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cognitive Computing (think Language Processing), and advanced Optical Character Recognition (OCR) have not gone unnoticed within the automation world. Combining RPA with ML, AI, and Cognitive Computing is known as Intelligent Automation (IA). Organizations that adopt Intelligent Automation have the potential to realize significant Operational Efficiency improvements throughout their operations.

The following provide some examples where organizations can use Intelligent Automation to attain cost savings, process improvement, and high ROI—achieving quantifiable improvements in Operational Efficiency.

Benefits of IA for Human Resources

Many organizations have high rates of employee onboarding and offboarding combined with complex application environments needing user access to be granted and removed. This leads to increased workload for Human Resources, Recruiting, IT, and Finance teams that manage the onboarding and offboarding processes. An additional challenge is that many business applications used by organizations do not provide programmatic interfaces (REST, WSDL/SOAP, or otherwise) for user management. Intelligent Automation solves this problem by providing the tools needed to automate end-to-end onboarding processes using the business application graphical interfaces.

Not only can users be created and removed across all business applications using Intelligent Automation—processes such as new employee benefit elections, employee handbook sign-off, training enrollment and tracking, federal and state tax withholding, annual open enrollment, and retirement plan contributions can be orchestrated as well. Applying Intelligent Automation to multiple complex HR functions can save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, all while improving the employee experience and increasing security controls and compliance during offboarding.

Deploying IA in Customer Care 

Deploying Intelligent Automation in a customer care or customer support environment drives many operational and customer satisfaction benefits, including:

  • Decreased costs by handling more calls per agent with higher resolution rates.
  • Improved customer experience by increasing a call agent’s focus on the customer, rather than on navigating and entering data into internal systems.
  • A rapid improvement in first call resolution of customer and employee issues.
  • Reduced call handling times by 2 to 5 minutes.
  • Production of rich data for call center analytics and AI.
  • Improved call center employee satisfaction and retention through improved and simplified processes.

In addition to the uses for Intelligent Automation shown above, providing the back end for customer service chatbots is another common use case in customer care. When a customer or internal employee interacts with a chatbot, RPA and AI work in the background to query data from relevant systems to provide answers to customer questions. This same workflow can be used to complete the customer’s request as well!

Ways to Ensure Regulatory Compliance with Intelligent Automation

There are many aspects to regulatory compliance in any corporation in various markets such as banking, finance, and accounting. Ensuring Regulatory Compliance can be a very tedious and an error-prone task. The larger the organization, the more data that is involved, which raises the possibility for things being missed causing non-compliance, which can add unexpected risks and costs to an organization.

Intelligent Automation can help with lessening the risk, reducing errors, and making compliance audits timelier. Some areas that Intelligent Automation can be applied in the regulatory compliance space include:

  • Ensuring approvals for specific regulatory impacted processes are followed in the right order and are handled by the appropriate people, and providing notifications documenting when approvals/denials are not followed appropriately or are delayed.
  • Performing Regulatory Audit Trail Analysis of data and automatically providing notifications for problems found.
  • Using NLP and OCR, Intelligent Automation can review regulatory websites looking for changes in regulatory requirement language and provide automatic notifications to the organization’s legal department thus ensuring further review.
  • Using Intelligent Automation for employee onboarding/offboarding helps ensure that regulatory restricted data is accessible only to the individuals with   and the right access levels. 

IT Operations Automation & Role of RPA

IT Operations has no shortage of automation tools. Configuration Management tools like Ansible, Chef, and Salt allow companies to orchestrate activities like environment provisioning and configuration, patch installation, compliance, and upgrades across server and network infrastructure alike. DevOps and CI/CD tools help with the software build process. In this environment, where do Intelligent Automation tools like RPA have a place?

One of the most common requests that we receive for RPA-type automation in IT Operations is in the act of help-desk automated issue resolution, as well as self-service. Every help desk has their “top 10” list of issues that drive NOC and SOC operators to act on a customer’s behalf. RPA can be used to work a queue in an ITSM system, and automatically resolve both customer-initiated tickets as well as system-generated alerts. RPA can be part of a CLIP (Closed Loop Incident Processing) workflow, in that as an ITSM ticket is generated, RPA can acknowledge receipt of the ticket and transition the state to In Progress, then attempt to perform resolution of the issue, and finally update the ticket status by either closing it out or escalating it to the next line of support.

Improving Patient Experience and Engagement with IA

There are many areas that Intelligent Automation can be applied to improve customer experience and engagement. Below are multiple use-case examples that can be applied within the healthcare industry. Look for an upcoming post where we dive into these areas in more detail:

  • Improve the Patient Check-In experience through self-service. RPA can be combined with AI to allow for advanced self-service using facial recognition. RPA and Intelligent OCR allow patients to provide identification cards electronically (for example, driver’s license), and have the information automatically extracted and populated into the patient’s records.
  • Automate the Patient Scheduling process by allowing RPA to provide the orchestration between patient-facing websites and chatbots, and back-end EMR or scheduling systems. It allows two-way interaction as automation queries for availability, then completes the scheduling process once the patient makes their selection. As in the bullet above, automation can also ensure that necessary patient details are collected at the time of scheduling and auto-populated into existing or new patient records.
  • Automate patient communications post-service completion. Ensure instructions are well communicated and received by patients. Provide ongoing notifications to improve compliance and patient engagement satisfaction rates.

 

Operational Efficiency with pureIntegration

Business continuity is so much more than power failover and system redundancy. pureIntegration has been partnering with our customers to ensure operational agility and frictionless crisis management with automated orchestration, intelligent cloud management, and advanced application monitoring for over 15 years. Engage with us today to collaborate on a highly relevant approach to leveraging the potential of our digital transformation practices to ensure business as usual—even amid the most unusual.

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