The future is automated…
Manual processing adds cost, risk and time. Not to mention it’s really boring – and your staff could be deployed to more high-value work. Here at Alpha we are helping clients with their automation objectives in a number of ways:
Workflow is a way of enforcing and auditing processes within your operating model. It should also give you better MI on how your model works and which processes are inefficient. Workflow can be restricted to a single function, but it works best when it can support processes across multiple systems and teams.
One example of workflow transforming a business process is client onboarding process. This is a complex process that often covers many teams and systems, and is often managed via email. By moving the process to a workflow tool, especially one that links systems together, clients can have greater visibility and deliver a much better customer experience.
Low code is probably the least well known of the options covered here, but deployed well it can deliver highly relevant business applications in a fraction of the time to traditional development.
Low code is the process of building applications using visual interfaces rather than writing lines of code. For example you can ‘drag and drop’ a button onto the page and the code will resolve itself in the background.
Low code is perfect for circumstances where there is no suitable vendor solution in the market. It enables solutions to be built quickly, often by business users without the need to code everything from scratch.
One example of the way in which we have deployed this for our clients is building a bespoke unit-linked pricing tool that replaced a number of complex spreadsheets with a robust and visually appealing tool.
APIs (acronym for Application Programming Interface), are software connectors that allow applications to talk to each other and exchange data. They can be deployed internally and with third party products to integrate systems at the application level.
APIs can be used to call data held by third-party providers – for example sanctions lists to support KYC/AML processes. They can be used to distribute master data across your organisation without manual re-keying. They can join together two systems – for example CRM system with an event management tool.
Alpha has supported clients with a number of API integrations, either integrating SaaS solutions such as Salesforce via APIs to other internal systems. Or using APIs internally to distribute data.
Robotic Process Automation, or Robotics, is the use of software to mimic the actions a human would perform at scale to automate processes. It works particularly well where APIs are not available – for example where screens are the only source of data inputs or outputs.
RPA works best at volume – so we have seen a number of clients experimenting with middle and back office processes. It also works well with repetitive data sets that can be downloaded from other systems – for example rebate checking from finance systems.
At Alpha we have a proprietary process for identifying the right use cases for RPA within our clients and in most cases we can get you live with a POC in eight weeks.
When people hear the words ‘automation’ or ‘robotics’ their minds often jump quickly to redundancy and cost cuts. Don’t bury your head in the sand on these issues. Automation will work best with the buy-in of the person whose role you want to automate. If the automation is only intended to free them up for high value work then make that clear. If it’s likely to result in their role being removed you need an incentives plan.