Digital Transformation
Jan 17, 2018

Putting digital to work: the process edition

How to stay ahead of looming disruptors

Today, nearly every enterprise wants to go digital. After all, history proves that those who don't innovate and evolve are eventually outpaced by more daring competitors. For instance, we've previously discussed Blockbuster. While Netflix was transforming itself from a mail-order DVD service to become the leader in digital media streaming, Blockbuster clung to its brick-and-mortar business model and eventually dug its own grave. BlackBerry is another example. During its prime it was the mobile device of choice for consumers and entrepreneurs alike. Then competitors like Apple and Android emerged and set new customer expectations with the touchscreen. BlackBerry stuck by its QWERTY keyboard and trackball, quickly lost its standing in the marketplace.

The decline of BlackBerry

Not wanting to face a similar fate, companies across all industries are putting digital at the top of their priority list. And for many, going digital means bringing in artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. These technologies are set to help organizations improve process efficiency, reduce costs, better leverage their data, deliver better customer service and free up employees for more critical work. It comes as no surprise, then, that in a recent survey of 300 senior executives conducted by Genpact and Fortune Knowledge Group, 82% of respondents said they plan to implement AI-related technologies in the next three years.

Yet the survey also found that few organizations are ready to take full advantage of AI. Only 25% of the senior executives polled said they are generating the most positive business outcomes from their use of the technology. Why does this gap exist between companies looking to get on board with AI, and actually seeing real results? It's largely due to confusion around what technologies to use, where to deploy them, and how to start.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that AI and automation can take over everything. For example, a lot of hype has been built around technologies like robotic process automation (RPA). True, it can take over repetitive software tasks that would otherwise take up a large part of an employee's day, such as data entry into an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system or invoicing. But bringing in AI and automation doesn't mean your employees can just sit back and relax. There are still many tasks that require context, inference, and judgment — traits only possible with the human touch.

This is where intelligent business process management (BPM) comes in. Well-designed dynamic workflows can allocate work based on which tasks a bot can easily and rapidly execute and which require a human touch. What's more, these sophisticated workflows can escalate cases to the appropriate people based on their experience, skill sets, and current work capacity.

For instance, in prospect inquiry handling, a workflow can determine if an inquiry is a strong business lead. It can then alert the best person on the sales team to follow up by phone or email. Conversely, a workflow can route minor inquiries to bots that create and send introductory emails as a touchpoint for future follow-up. So the firm still gets the speed and immediacy of bots along with the nuanced knowledge of a human. Overall, intelligent BPM results in faster processes and quicker and better service for customers. All this leads to revenue growth as well as cost savings.

For more insight into how your business can effectively use AI, RPA, and dynamic workflows to innovate and improve performance, read Genpact's five-step framework, When AI and Automation Meet.