As COVID-19 continues to grip the world, captains of the industry across the globe are relooking at their business priorities and strategies. The sharp spike of the virus across the US and Europe has Compelled businesses to go into a reactive or rather survival mode.
Businesses need to unlock new Continuity Plans during the lockdown
Perhaps, the biggest sufferers in the pandemic have been the business delivery models that heavily depended on human intervention. Most large-scale businesses have a disaster management plan, but rarely do they have a pandemic contingency in place. That’s because there have been no incidents of this magnitude like COVID-19 in the recent past. That’s why organizations are changing their game plan overnight by looking at innovative delivery models and outside-the-box business continuity plans. As we see an increased lockdown and decreased movement of people, organizations will have to leverage productivity by empowering employees with the right facilities and technologies to boost their existing business continuity plans.
What’s the business continuity plan of action?
While most organizations have started executing business continuity plans by remote working, early data indicates that organizations that have adopted Intelligent Automation (IA) seem to be sailing smoothly through the pandemic. Businesses that were earlier shy of using IA technologies like Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and so on, are now slowly considering and embracing it. In fact, they are automating their core business functions despite a lack of FTE benefits to ensure business continuity. Let’s look at how enterprises are revisiting their automation priorities with respect to the three most important dimensions critical to any business:
Finding opportunity during adversity should be the new business mantra. Yes, these are trying times but it’s also an opportunity for businesses to reassure and stand by their customers and avoid disruptions to business as usual (BAU). Top priority needs to be given to automation of the core business functions that serve the organization’s end customers. Some of the processes that organizations can consider on priority across verticals are:
- Account servicing processes like payment processing,
- Product renewals
- Loan disbursement
- Customer support
- Policy renewals
- Claims FNOL
- Underwriting of standard policies and functions that engage with intermediaries
- Supply Chain Management-strategic sourcing
- Supplier management
- Procurement-order processing automation
- Process order tracking,
- Electronic invoicing
Automation of the HR function ensures seamless execution of policies with minimal disruptions and remotely monitoring the workforce and their productivity etc. Enterprises should also consider automation of processes in areas such as payroll, learning solutions, administration, compensation and benefits. IA can also be leveraged in the form of virtual assistants, for example, an HR chatbot to answer employee queries, an induction bot to virtually onboard employees or an interview scheduler bot I to plan interviews and screen resumes.
The third component for automation is Security. An entire workforce connecting remotely and using digital channels during a pandemic is a matter of deep concern for enterprises. After all, they are monitoring the landscape for vulnerabilities 24/7. What’s the fix? Enterprises should diligently provide these new remote workers with not only technical knowledge, but also best practices in this new remote-working ecosystem. Certain steps that can be taken to make an organization, safe, secure and sound are:
- Risk-assessments of remote workers’ computing setups
- Taking inventory of devices attaching to the office network
- Ensuring device security (multifactor authentications, mandated antivirus etc.
- Implementing a zero-trust approach to minimize the threat of cybercriminals taking advantage of a pandemic like COVID-19.
IA can play a vital role here in automating areas where there could be a data breach and leakage (by automating tasks around data collection, data analytics, automated reporting, false positives and many more). IA can also be leveraged to ensure adherence to security regulations and compliance.
There’s never been a better time for organizations to embark on an automation journey. These three dimensions will help businesses to survive, sustain and thrive in the current and post COVID-19 world.
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