Why Don’t People in UC Talk about RPA?
Shaun Wormald, VP Asia Pacific, VOSS Solutions
Thursday March 31, 2022
Earlier this month, I was in a customer meeting which opened my eyes to a troubling scenario. Business Process Outsourcers (BPO) and Systems Integrators were coming up against some tricky GDPR legislation. The situation was this: Indian-based BPOs and SIs provide outsourced contact center services to high profile European and US organizations. Onboarding and offboarding their staff is so bound by the extremely strict GDPR compliance requirements that the BPOs and SIs risk fines sometimes in excess of US $200,000 if the compliance process fails. Suddenly, it has become top priority to ensure that their workers’ personal details are being stored securely, users are being provisioned with prerequisite compliance applications like call recording, and also providing a full audit trail of every onboarding and offboarding process in detail.
The reason the BPOs and SIs are talking to VOSS is because we are in a pretty unique position to be able to solve this problem plus many others for them. The solution? Domain-specific robotic process automation (RPA) tools for the workflows and the assurance of transactions. RPA is a form of business process automation technology that makes it easy to build, deploy, and manage automated processes that emulate human actions. Put simply, RPA takes away the risk of any manual process by replacing it with a trusted, pre-tested, secure, automated process that always carries out the task properly with few errors and less risk while providing full audit logs of every step. In this way, the BPO can ensure that GDPR rules are always being adhered to; they can prove this with an audit trail, and they can sleep easy knowing that no fines are coming their way.
This set me thinking.
Why isn’t RPA higher up the agenda?
RPA is so fundamental to the success of a business nowadays, it’s shocking that it’s not higher up the business agenda; especially due to its complexity and impact when not done right on employee experience, employee productivity, and supporting business innovation at a significantly increased clock speed required for industry 4.0. For the uninitiated, Industry 4.0 (also known as the fourth industrial revolution or 4IR) is changing the way that companies manufacture, improve, and distribute their products. In industry 4.0, companies are set to adopt and integrate the very latest technologies, including IoT, cloud computing, performance management, collaboration tooling, analytics, AI, machine learning and RPA, to harness interconnectivity, digitization, and the smart automation of enterprises.
How does RPA for the digital workplace domain help?
In any organization, RPA starts to deliver immediate value in the HR process of onboarding a new employee. Automated flow-through (zero-touch) workflows will provision a new employee’s productivity tools (Microsoft Office, Teams, Zoom, their telephony, IT equipment, any licenses they need) to ensure they are productive on the day they start work. I guarantee this will lead to a positive employee experience and unlock immediate productivity.
So, the RPA value to the HR process is clear. But what about the rest of the business? Isn’t it true that automation brings value to all areas of a business? If so, why aren’t we introducing more RPA, and then integrating across domains? Automation doesn’t stop at HR. RPA improves processes across ITSM and IT and UC as well. Why are these domains all operating in silos? Organizations need to mesh the whole infrastructure together with automation, so when a ticket is logged, it fires off a whole series of automated steps across multiple domain silos, ensuring the issue is immediately resolved without the need for manual intervention.
What happens when we don’t use RPA?
So, what is automation worth to your business? For the BPOs and SIs out there, the ROI is clear. RPA helps them avoid massive fines. Should not the question rather be; what is the risk of NOT automating? Manual mistakes will be made, rollbacks will be necessitated, and errors will negatively impact the employee or the customer experience. All costly. All avoidable.
So, let’s turn our attention to the digital workplace domain.
Why don’t people in the digital workplace domain talk about RPA in the same vein as general RPA?
Imagine taking the data that you are gathering from different domains, and integrating it into your digital workplace and unified communications (UC) data. You could, for example, take talent analytics and optimization statistics out of your HR dashboards (HR 3.0 linkages create some interesting and valuable cross-domain use cases) and combine this with collaborative tool data, enabling employees to search and find colleagues with the relevant skills and experience to help them solve a particular problem. Or, you could marry HR data with collaboration tool adoption and usage data, to understand employee behavior. Or, you could blend staff data with collaboration tool license data, to reduce costs. Or, you could push UC data into other systems, or pull data from other systems to enrich your digital workplace. This would create such incredible insight and actionable intelligence that is critical to operating a successful business. The opportunities are limitless when viewed through this lens.
Let RPA for the digital workplaces support your company culture and digital way of working – Aligning HR and IT
Now that we spend so much less time at the office, there is a real risk to company culture – the essence of your workplace. VOSS can help here too. We already support the physical side – where you are working from, what IT equipment you are using, how to access the collaboration and productivity tools to make you successful. We also support the digital side – we automate any task to make it effortless to reset a pin, change a password, forward your calls. Couple these together and you have the means to positively influence your company’s culture and way of working together. The digital operating environment that VOSS helps you influence will set the company culture and ensure consistently positive employee and customer experiences by leveraging a deep domain-specific RPA platform for automation, workflow, and insights.
Final thoughts … Which comes first?
Here’s one to mull over. If your business is new to general RPA, is there a case for automating your IT processes before the business, or the other way around? Or, do you have to do both at the same time? Do you transform the IT platform ( collaboration innovation engines) and then transform the business using this digital workplace transformation engine at higher clock speeds ? Or, does the order of things not matter, as long as it gets done? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.