Evolution of Automation: Service Providers are transforming solution delivery in both cost and operational efficiencies

By September 11, 2017Kate Evans, News

Companies providing IT outsourcing services are constantly looking at ways of reducing their costs, increasing efficiency and eliminating errors so that they can provide better services to their customers. Cost reduction has traditionally been achieved by offshoring some of the manual skills, while improved efficiency and error reduction has been achieved by using automation solutions.  Although this has been successful to a degree, the benefits are not always seen by the customer, who can still experience delays and variable quality in the delivery of the service, and a lack of agility from the service provider in their ability to offer new services reflecting the latest technological trends, IoT being one example.

The reasons for these initiatives being only modestly successful can be attributed to an assumption that cheaper labour and automation automatically results in cost saving.  Automating ill defined, or little understood, and often isolated tasks cannot guarantee that error reduction and efficiency will be achieved, but can instead ensure that the wrong action will be correctly executed with greater frequency!  Robotic Process Automation may add another layer of complexity (all those ‘bots’ need tender loving care, just like humans, in the form of maintenance and upgrades).  The increasingly savvy customer expects to see a share of the savings passed on in the form of more competitively priced services, but the savings have either failed to materialise or are difficult to quantify for the service provider.

Developing an agile but comprehensive approach to cost reduction through automation means defining the desired outcomes, and it means understanding the journey to achieving those outcomes.  This can be achieved by utilising the diverse skills available to an organisation, and by using the appropriate technology.  Developing a Centre of Excellence for transformation needs collaboration between process owners, subject matter experts, and technical experts and an understanding of security and governance constraints.  The accumulated knowledge of the people performing these roles allows for a deep understanding of the desired outcomes, and the paths to achieving these.  With the Centre of Excellence in place the adoption of the Cortex Intelligent Automation Platform allows organisations to leverage and integrate existing automation “islands” in a “no code” environment, putting the automated processes under the control of the team that understands them.  The Cortex platform allows the Centre of Excellence to define and quantify where the time savings can be made, and to measure that saving.  With a design philosophy that allows an agile and modular approach to business transformation, and an ability to quantify the cost benefits of automation, Cortex provides the perfect platform for service providers to offer the most cost effective services to their customers, while maintaining the flexibility to rapidly deploy new services.

One practical example of this has seen one of our partners provide “self-healing” solutions to the most common incoming help desk problem tickets.  Using the Centre of Excellence and the expertise of the Subject Matter Experts, they were able firstly to identify the most common problems and their typical resolutions.  It was also possible to quantify how much time would be saved by automating the problem identification and resolution before it hit the help desk.  The systems experts were then able to work with those developing the Cortex flows to implement the solution, saving customers and the partner time and money.  An additional benefit of the Cortex approach is that the “no code” design philosophy easily allows for extensibility to be built in to the solution.  This allows staff without a development background to use the existing self-healing templates and easily copy and modify them to include problems and corrective actions that are identified in the future.