How ubiquitous tech will impact your business

In five years, we’ll be working smarter not harder according to research into the implications of imminent technology advances

We recently commissioned an internal study into the major influences of change on business, economies, society and personal lives over the next five years – identifying five megatrends. One of these trends, the increased ubiquity of technology, will have a number of impacts on the way we work. One of the wins predicted is that we will be working smarter, not harder.

Here are just three of the ways digital transformation will enable better ways of working.

1. Integration for a single source of truth

Running your operations via a single integrated set of applications saves people time and effort. Having data flow through eliminates errors and streamline processes. It also enables simpler reporting and thus better decision making. The ability of managers to visualise key performance indicators in dashboards displaying real-time data on an hourly or daily basis, for example, is one of the benefits of a fully integrated ERP SaaS solution.

Australian Longline and Shellharbour City Council are two examples of organisations already taking advantage of integration across their operations. Another important benefit of integration is the ability to deliver relevant corporate information and personal data via apps and self-service portals. For employees, this gives them access to applications and data from wherever they are working on whatever device. Customers can be presented with personalised interfaces to make queries and requests, place orders and otherwise transact with your business.

In the education sector, London School of Economics and Political Science offers its students a combined, single fee account across residential tuition and other transactions via a single portal. Mobile anywhere, anytime access to its systems for staff really proved its worth when LSE campuses closed in early 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A council that has also effectively met the needs of a dispersed workforce during the pandemic is Tablelands Regional Council – with plans to extend online services to its community across 11,000 square kilometres in Far north Queensland.

2. The rise of robots

Robots are already here in the form of Robotic Process Automation or RPA. Early initiatives in finance departments have enabled automated workflows, like those in our Financials software. For example, marrying purchase orders with warehouse picking slips, delivery notes, invoices and payment receipts can be accomplished without multiple keystrokes, eliminating human error.

While some organisations have traditionally offshored repetitive and manual business processes to take advantage of lower human costs, many will be bringing them back in-house due to developments in RPA. It enables processes to be automated, turning employees into valued knowledge workers able to focus on exceptions and the design of further automation initiatives.

3. The robots are becoming more ‘human’

When they first appeared, most customer service chatbots lacked sophistication. They often responded from a set script and got in the way when you wanted to talk to a ‘real person’ in a contact centre. Today, chatbots are getting much smarter, with Natural Language Parsing (NLP), and the ability to translate from and into different languages.

The greatest advance is the increased use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide them with the ability to ‘think’ out problems laterally and deliver intelligent and relevant solutions. Machine Learning (ML) goes further and allows them to ‘educate’ themselves to continually improve – just like real people do. Sentiment Analysis is another feature of AI/ML which can escalate a question or an exception to a human when the customer shows signs of frustration because a chatbot is unable to deliver satisfaction.

The end result? Reimagining the customer experience.

One way to illustrate the above examples of ‘working smarter not harder’ is the customer experience (CX). Probably the biggest driver for digital transformation in most organisations, CX offers clear economic benefits through higher levels of customer satisfaction, revenues and loyalty. Digital start-ups such as Amazon, Uber and Airbnb have set lofty CX standards, and ubiquitous tech will be the way for traditional organisations to compete with them.

  • Integration of disparate systems is providing a ‘single point of truth’ – which forms the foundation of automated, personalised and highly relevant customer service delivery.
  • RPA will perform the day-to-day grunt work – leaving people to oversee operations and handle more complex processes – delivering superior resolutions in a shorter time.
  • AI and ML are already enabling fast, effective customer service via voice, chat or email – and will increasingly enhance the way organisations transact, interact and communicate with their customers.

One-to-one human service and support will never go away – but ubiquitous technology will free those humans to focus on solving the complex problems for stand-out customer experiences.

Publish date

04 Nov 2020

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