Automation to drive business continuity, efficiency and value addition from human resources

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If data is the new oil, automation is the force that drives enterprises forward. Implementing automation technology can streamline processes, enable faster decision making and even solve business problems, when used in conjunction with AI, machine learning and other digital technology. Effectively, it can completely change the face of businesses management by freeing up mental bandwidth of leaders, leaving them to innovate and strategize.

Interestingly, the pandemic gave a boost to the use of RPA and offering enterprises a first-hand experience of the importance of automation. To discuss their insights on how intelligent automation is transforming the way India Inc. works, technology leaders from diverse sectors of India Inc came together for a virtual conversation, under the aegis of ‘Future Ready India’, an initiative hosted by Automation Anywhere in collaboration with CNBC TV-18 and Forbes India.

The participants included Rajesh Uppal, Member Executive Board (HR, IT, Safety) Maruti Suzuki India; Anantha Sayana, Chief Digital Officer, Larsen & Toubro; Alok Khanna, Executive Director (Strategic IS), IOCL; Manoj Kumar, Head-IT, HMEL and Milan Sheth, EVP – India, Middle East and Africa East Region, Automation Anywhere.

Ushering in an era of de-headquarterisation, automation, when coupled with cloud, enables the collection and flow of information across units of an organization. With automation as part of its digital transformation journey, L&T’s Anantha Sayana shares, “We have connected 10,000 pieces of construction machinery, across 600 project sites using IoT. All these machines upload data on their work hours, levels of production and efficiency and various other parameters to a dashboard, which offers complete visibility to anyone, anywhere, even on a mobile phone.” As a direct result, project management has become much simpler, without even visiting the site. It also facilitates sharing information with customers on their project status. “This leads conversations towards what can be done next rather than what the status of the project is,” he says.

Coming from the auto industry, Rajesh Uppal of Maruti Suzuki shared his experiences with automation, saying, “Digital interface with customers has been a primary project which we have been driving. With a large customer data base at the backend, we are trying to find out how we can become very prescriptive to each customer, on any mode or channel, be it through dealers, sales executives, phone calls, the website and app, etc. We want to give our customers a multi-channel experience, which has to be digital, especially in these post-pandemic times. With automation in the lead, this central digital framework for customers is supported by various other technology projects in all areas of our business.”

Going a step further, HMEL’s Manoj Kumar suggests, “We need to deliver enriched experiences not only to customers but to employees, partner eco-systems, even society. We are realizing the need to deliver quality work because quality is the demand of the current generation. If we take the mundane and repetitive tasks out of their lives, they can spend more time analysing and innovating. To achieve that, automation must become part of the DNA of an organization and not a separate strategy.”

As an automation technology provider, Milan Sheth agreed that whether it is creating supreme customer experience or boosting productivity in front, middle and back office functions, automation could play a crucial role. “If you are a technology laggard or started early, there is a huge opportunity to automate, simply because the ratio of technology to people is still sub-optimal. Automation can be used to assist employees and make them more productive, help service customers faster and at a lower cost.”

Once the panel had unequivocally established the need for automation, Alok Khanna of IOCL expressed that automation tools need to be simple and user-friendly. “Although these tools are created by the IT fraternity, non-IT users should feel comfortable using them to develop solutions to their problems. This will ensure that automation gains much more acceptance among a wider base of users.”

As Automation Anywhere caters to a range of automation needs – from off-the-shelf bots to custom built systems – Milan Sheth acknowledges that while large businesses have complexity, making it difficult for them to leverage something readymade or from a bot store, smaller enterprises can use standard bots. Further, using bots on cloud delivers reduced cost of operations for small and medium enterprises.

Looking ahead, it appears that automation will become more pervasive, finding relevance across verticals and in large, medium and small enterprises, alike. Most importantly, it will become more intelligent, taking the robot out of humans, freeing them up to take on higher skilled, greater value-added work, motivating and encouraging them to move up the curve.

This is a partnered post.



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