Best Practices for Managing a Remote Workforce

Best Practices for Running a Remote Operation

The latest health crisis has forced many organizations into making the transition to remote work much more urgently than many would have liked. As such, a scramble to manage the logistics, like what kind of equipment will be needed, how to provision remote workers and how to maintain maximum data security have become the focus. What’s not being talked about nearly as much, but is equally as important, is how leaders who are used to managing staff in-person must adjust their approach in order to make the transition as seamless and undisruptive as possible.

Be intentional about individualization.

Not every employee is motivated or driven by the same things. Some may work best when given autonomy while others may require more hands-on leadership. Under normal circumstances, focusing on the unique needs and preferences of each employee is strongly recommended. When managing from a distance, this becomes even more critical. Managers must take the time to determine the circumstances and conditions under which each individual employee will perform at his or her best. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach to remote work simply won’t cut it.

Set clear expectations right from the start.

Did you know that nearly half of all employees in the U.S. do not know what’s expected of them? Add remote work into the mix, and things could go off the rails pretty quick. To mitigate this risk, remote managers need to set crystal clear expectations with each and every employee. Specifically, employees should know exactly what the work entails, what the quality of that work should be and precisely when it is due. There should be no ambiguity whatsoever.

Arm them with everything they need.

You can’t simply hand out tasks and expect your team to perform them if they don’t have the equipment, information, guidance and support they need to carry out those tasks successfully. This is the case in an on-site operation, but even more so in a remote working environment, where people can tend to feel isolated. Implement technology that facilitates collaboration. Provide self-service options, like virtual support agents, so remote workers can receive the support they need on-demand. And make sure leadership is available to answer questions, provide feedback and offer guidance as needed.

Communicate openly and often.

One of the biggest challenges of working remotely, as mentioned earlier, is the feeling of isolation that comes along with it. This is magnified for employees who are accustomed to working on-site, where colleagues and managers are present in the flesh. Understand that managing a remote team may require more frequent communication, whether it be team meetings or one-on-one sessions (ideally, a combination of both). The key is emphasizing relationships, which are more challenging to forge from a distance.

Be supportive of front-line management.

Executive leadership needs to recognize that front-line managers are suddenly being forced to adapt to an entirely new way of working, and practically overnight. It’s an adjustment that brings with it a unique set of concerns that must be taken into consideration. For example, some managers may worry that they’ll be held accountable for disruptions to workflow that they have no control over. Others may find it difficult to trust employees that they cannot physically see working. Support and guidance – practical and emotional – is needed to make this transition as painless for managers as possible.

A Look Ahead…

A recent Gallup study found that 43% of employees in the U.S. are already working remotely to some degree. Thanks to recent circumstances, that number just skyrocketed. And although there will certainly be some growing pains, there’s a significant chance that once the dust settles and life returns to normal once again, far fewer employees will actually return to the office. By learning how to manage a remote operation now, you’ll position your organization for a much smoother ride, both today as well as in the future.

Click here to find out how Ayehu is helping organizations across the globe make the transition to remote working.

How Virtual Agents Can Help Businesses Thrive in the Face of Uncertainty

As the world is currently in the throes of battling the latest global health crisis known as COVID-19, the way organizations conduct business has changed suddenly, and perhaps permanently. Businesses across just about every industry and sector are facing two primary challenges: significant spikes in demand for IT support and the need to prepare for an economic recession that now seems imminent.

Conversational artificial intelligence (AI), also known as chatbots or virtual agents, can address both of these challenges, allowing businesses to maximize availability while simultaneously reducing costs.

Sustained and Enhanced Service Levels

With a tremendous uptick in remote working and all the risks and issues that go along with it, IT teams are being inundated with an increasing volume of support requests. Couple this skyrocketing demand with a decreased number of capable and available employees, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Virtual agents, powered by intelligent automation, can assist in a number of ways, including:

  • Delivering instant, automated answers to commonly asked questions
  • Enabling users to report problems and request assistance
  • Sending outbound notifications and updates about things like site closures, changes in service hours, or travel restrictions
  • Ability to scale on-demand to meet unexpected spikes in support needs

Virtual agents help not only to prevent lapses or delays in service, but because they are available 24/7/365, they have the potential to actual improve service levels – something that would otherwise be impossible in a crisis situation.

Augment Existing Workforce

In situations like the one the world is currently dealing with, there will inevitably be a dip in employee performance and availability. Team members may need to take time off due to illness, request changes in their shifts and, of course, transition to remote working.

Virtual agents can help organizations navigate these changes in circumstances by providing an extra level of support when human agents are not available. Furthermore, intelligent chatbots can be programmed to handle everything from helping employees set up their at-home workstations to assisting with onboarding – all without the need for any human intervention.

Optimizing Resources and Reducing Costs

With an impending economic downturn on the horizon, organizations are under increasing pressure to mitigate damages as much as possible. The ultimate goal is to keep operations running at a minimal cost – all without sacrificing service and performance. Not an easy feat by any stretch of the word.

For a tiny fraction of the average cost of a human agent, virtual agents can enable organizations to restructure their workforce, either eliminating non-essential roles or reallocating their resources so that skilled IT agents can focus on more complex or revenue-generating activities.

Over the coming months, businesses will also be looking for ways to save on things like on premise software, hardware and equipment, opting instead for software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions that are much more budget-friendly. Cloud-based intelligent automation platforms can help organizations reduce development costs, boost productivity and innovate rapidly.

In business, and in life, there will inevitably be times when we are faced with circumstances beyond our control, whether it’s the current health pandemic or something else. These situations can profoundly impact an organization’s ability to remain functional. Thankfully, technology like AI-powered virtual agents can help soften that blow, providing the ability to not only survive, but even thrive in the face of uncertainty.  

Put the power of virtual agents to work for your organization and strengthen your posture against whatever may come your way by launching your free trial of Ayehu today.

IT Operations in the Age of Coronavirus

Coronavirus has been a shock to the system for many IT organizations who are traditionally accustomed to working together in person. When you’re in an office, you can often use informal methods of communication – like swinging by someone’s desk, calling them on their office extension, or even imparting critical information when you run into them in the company cafeteria. And when urgent incidents requiring a real-time response occur, you often have a live network operations center (NOC) you can call into, which is staffed 24/7 with personnel ready to respond to incidents, and to corral necessary people and dial the (few) people who are remote into a phone bridge.

Obviously, that which was possible weeks ago is no longer possible now. The worldwide and sudden mandates from companies and health authorities to make work fully remote have upended all of these processes. What IT organizations need to do today is twofold: automate communication and incident response processes and automate IT tasks.

Automate Communication and Incident Response Processes

IT operations conducted in-person can often mean that operational processes are ad-hoc, with poorly defined chains of communication. In some sense, it’s why NOCs and their phone bridges or war rooms exist: it’s a way to physically assemble people to deal with emergent or unpredictable situations. Without a way to do this, it’s time to invest in establishing standard, predictable workflows that can handle any kind of urgent, real-time operational incident, no matter where your IT staff are. This is especially critical if you’re in one of the verticals like online education or video collaboration services that’s being highly impacted by the current crisis.

PagerDuty has over ten years of experience helping customers to establish consistent, predictable incident response processes, and you can benefit from our knowledge by using resources like our Incident Response Guide.

Automate Daily IT Tasks and Remediate Alerts

Incident response processes generally require some action to be taken on systems or applications in order to resolve that incident. Again, when teams are physically co-located with one another, it’s easy for IT professionals to simply log into systems and perform manual activities such as typing commands and running scripts, and reporting the results of those activities by voice to those team members assembled in a war room or on a conference bridge.

Once teams are remote, this level of ad-hoc task execution will be difficult to perform safely. In some situations, such as with offshore managed service providers, or highly secure environments, employees may not even be permitted to work remotely – so automation of IT tasks is even more critical, to allow incidents to kick off auto-remediation actions, for example. It’s time to define standard automation recipes to achieve common tasks, reducing errors and improving knowledge sharing in a world where IT professionals don’t sit next to each other.

PagerDuty and Ayehu: A Joint Solution for Incident Response and IT Task Automation

PagerDuty and Ayehu, a leading provider of automated IT incident remediation, have teamed up to create a joint solution for IT automation in the context of incident response. You can combine PagerDuty’s six free licenses of PagerDuty Starter (use the code “COVID-19” when signing up) with Ayehu’s five free workflows package. You can connect the two using either custom incident actions from PagerDuty, to initiate Ayehu workflows from a PagerDuty incident, or even incorporate those workflows within a PagerDuty automated response play.

To learn more about how PagerDuty and Ayehu are working together to help you rapidly re-engineer IT processes and improve communications between IT teams during major incidents, please click here.

Bridging the gap of automation potential in the Nordics

TietoEVRY and Ayehu announce partnership around intelligent application automation.

Ayehu, a leader in intelligent automation, and TietoEVRY, the leading Nordic software and services company today announced a partnership to deliver transformative IT process automation solutions to enterprises whose top priority is an improved user experience and a happier future work environment.

As the core of the partnership, TietoEVRY will offer Next-Generation Application Management Services powered by Ayehu’s Automation and Orchestration platform. The solution helps enterprises save significant time on manual and repetitive tasks and maintain greater control over the application and infrastructure landscape.

“The partnership with Ayehu is an important cornerstone of TietoEVRY’s Zero-Touch Automation approach. We see tremendous automation potential in Nordic companies. Even 50% of IT service requests could be automatically solved. When looking at the automation value potential in support processes like HR or Finance, or in Core Business Processes, the efficiency potential increases to a hundredfold,” said Olli Pirttijärvi, Head of Applications, TietoEVRY.

“Automated remediation provides significant cost savings, but its potential is much bigger than that,” said Taly Dunevich, Vice President Alliances and Partnerships, Ayehu. “As enterprises gear up for the future workplace, employees are looking for an environment where they don’t need to wait for IT to remediate their issues.  As well, IT teams no longer want to waste time on daily repetitive IT tasks – they want to be empowered to do things in an automated fashion. Automating these processes greatly improves employee satisfaction.”

The AI-powered platform acts as a centralized integration hub that intelligently automates IT operation tasks based on the input from monitoring and advanced analytics. Intelligent automation and Virtual Support Agents help to reduce resolution time up to 90% with high impact on end-user and service desk employee satisfaction.

TietoEVRY creates digital advantage for businesses and society. We are a leading digital services and software company with local presence and global capabilities. Our Nordic values and heritage steer our success.

Headquartered in Finland, TietoEVRY employs around 24 000 experts globally. The company serves thousands of enterprise and public sector customers in more than 90 countries. TietoEVRY’s annual turnover is approximately EUR 3 billion and its shares are listed on the NASDAQ in Helsinki and Stockholm as well as on the Oslo Børs. www.tietoevry.com

About Ayehu

Ayehu’s AI-powered automation and orchestration platform is a force multiplier for IT and security operations, helping enterprises save time on manual and repetitive tasks, accelerate mean time to resolution, and maintain greater control over IT infrastructure. Trusted by hundreds of major enterprises and leading technology solution and service partners, Ayehu supports thousands of automated processes across the globe. For more information, please visit www.ayehu.com and the company blog.  Follow Ayehu on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Originally published by TietoEVRY.

How Slackbots and Ayehu Add Automation to BMC Helix Remedyforce

Author: Guy Nadivi

BMC Helix Remedyforce is a version of the BMC Remedy platform popular among organizations already using Salesforce.com, making it easy to deploy rapidly for IT organizations who value being nimble.

Since that’s a growing segment of the market, and given the surge of interest in chatbots, BMC and Ayehu have partnered to showcase how to add Slackbots and automation to the Helix Remedyforce platform.

BMC Helix Remedyforce provides a robust IT Service Management platform for running an IT organization and supporting the business. It takes a modern customer-focused perspective, and adds in very intuitive self-service capabilities that empowers non-IT staff to request services and solve problems on their own. BMC Helix Remedyforce is comprised of numerous modules, including:

  • Self-Service
  • Service Catalog
  • Knowledge Management
  • Service Level Management
  • Dashboards
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Incident and Problem Management
  • Configuration Management
  • Asset Management
  • Agentless Discovery
  • Client Management
  • Multi-Cloud Data Center Discovery
  • Change and Release Management
  • Mobile Apps for IT and Business
  • Collaboration via Chatter and Chat
  • IT Best Practices and Smart Practices

Together, all this functionality allows BMC Helix Remedyforce to offer a unique value proposition of a short time to value, with light effort, yet still yielding a powerful delivery.

If your organization uses a cloud computing platform like BMC Helix Remedyforce, then being very lean and very responsive is most likely a priority. But there’s a way to take that leanness and responsiveness one level higher to help your organization become a self-driving enterprise through the addition of Slackbots and automation from Ayehu.

At Ayehu, we often talk about the self-driving enterprise, which is our guiding vision that influences every aspect of our automation platform.

What is a self-driving enterprise and how do we define it? Very simply – becoming a self-driving enterprise means becoming less reliant on people, and leveraging intelligent automation to handle more of the robotic kinds of tasks humans really shouldn’t be doing anyways.

Ayehu’s platform comes with numerous features an enterprise needs to become self-driving:

  • SaaS-Ready Multi-Tenancy
  • Agentless architecture
  • Codeless interface
  • And overall it’s very easy to use

It also has two features which really extend automation’s ability to help enterprises become self-driving, and thus less reliant on people:

  • AI and Machine Learning
  • Slackbots, which are an extension of AI and Machine Learning that provide end users with an almost human-like channel as an alternative to calling the help desk everytime they have an incident or a request.

Slackbots of course, are part of the overall chatbot market, which is big and getting bigger. Lest anyone think chatbots are a fad, according to Business Insider, in 2019 the market was worth a bit more than $2 ½ Billion. In 2024 they’re forecasting it will approach $10 Billion!

That’s a compound annual growth rate of over 29% a year. Very impressive growth!

I think we can safely say that chatbots are here to stay.

Gartner published a report about the chatbot market (“Market Guide for Conversational Platforms: July 30, 2019 – ID G00367775), which calculated that “31% of enterprise CIOs have already deployed conversational platforms.”

That number “represents a 48% year-over-year growth in interest.”

This is a strong leading indicator that the market is ready, if not eager, for conversational AI in the form of things like Slackbots.

One big reason enterprises are so eager for conversational AI and Slackbots is the impact they’re having on one of IT’s biggest KPI’s – Cost Per Ticket.

There’s a general industry figure published by Jeff Rumburg of MetricNet, an IT research and advisory practice, that a service desk’s average cost per L1 ticket is $20.

However, if you turn any given service request into a self-help or self-service function with chatbots, you can drive that cost down by 80% to just $4 per L1 ticket. 80%!

If you’re a CIO, CTO, or any senior IT Executive, and someone tells you that there’s a way to reduce your single biggest expenditure on IT Support by 80%, without reducing service effectiveness (in fact, possibly speeding it up), you’re probably going to want to hear more.

Enterprises are looking at chatbots as a way to divert calls or tickets or work away from the Service Desk, meaning people, and re-routing that load to chatbots, meaning software.

BTW – It’s not just because of bottom line costs and reducing calls and/or ticket volume to the service desk.

There are other value propositions for enterprise IT executives deploying chatbots:

  • Slashing MTTR by accelerating resolutions of incidents and requests
  • Liberating staff from doing tedious work so they’re freed up for more important tasks
  • And last but not least, raising customer satisfaction ratings, an increasingly critical KPI for IT

Today, there’s another big reason to start using chatbots – the Coronavirus COVID-19.

The Coronavirus pandemic is creating a new reality for everyone, and that’s led to widespread adoption of numerous precautions:

  • Washing one’s hands more frequently
  • Not shaking each other’s hands
  • Wearing protective facemasks

Perhaps the most relevant precaution being adopted, from an IT perspective, is the sudden surge in employees and contractors working remotely.

Numerous governments and health officials are imploring organizations to let their employees work from home, wherever possible, as a way of minimizing community transmission of the Coronavirus.

This has created a new reality for those workers, because now that they’re working from home, they can’t just walk over to the help desk cubicle to make a casual request. They might not be able to do it by phone either because the help desk staff is also working from home, and they’re pretty busy right now at most organizations just keeping the lights on.

Wherever remote workers may be though, they can always submit their service requests through a chatbot, and they can do it from both a web or mobile interface 24×7.

The great news about that is that there’s really no training required for someone to start using a chatbot or Slackbot, especially if it’s on their smartphone, an interface they’re already familiar with.

Slackbots can play an increasingly important role in a self-driving enterprise, allowing users to converse with the bot naturally (so to speak), and in their own language. The bot can understand the request, or if not, request clarification. Once it has the information it needs, the bot simply goes out and executes the request. It’s just that straightforward.

In addition to BMC Helix Remedyforce, there are many other systems you can quickly plug into Ayehu, which then acts as an integration hub across just about every platform in your environment.  This allows your users to initiate automated tasks via chatbot for every system you integrate with Ayehu. Best of all, almost every system Ayehu connects to can be seamlessly integrated without writing a single line of code.

If your organization aspires to be a self-driving enterprise, Ayehu automation + BMC Helix Remedyforce + Slack chatbots can provide a powerful combination which add value to such IT functions as:

  • Incident resolution
  • Alert-driven notification
  • Cross-IT change management
  • Service request management
  • Configuration management and infrastructure provisioning

If you’re interested in test driving Ayehu NG v1.6 with all its cool new features, download your very own free 30-day trial.

https://info.ayehu.com/download-free-30-day-trial-ng

How to Keep the Lights on When “Work from Home” Isn’t an Option

How to Keep the Lights on When “Work from Home” Isn’t an Option

There’s been a lot of buzz around the topic of work from home and the importance of having a business continuity plan in place, particularly in light of recent events. For many organizations, making the transition to remote work is relatively easy. For others, however, such as those with employees in developing countries who don’t have access to computers or internet connectivity at home, it’s simply not a feasible option. Intelligent IT process automation can provide a viable solution, effectively “keeping the lights on” by augmenting the human workforce. Here’s how.

Implementing the right intelligent IT process automation platform empowers businesses to continue operations, even when human operators are unavailable.

In fact, automation can be used to handle a wide variety of different tasks and workflows, many of which are complex and multi-faceted. Here are just a few real-world examples of how ITPA can be leveraged during a staffing shortage:

Each of these actions can be automated to be carried out with zero human intervention. Or, if greater control and oversight is preferred, can be set up to loop in human decision-makers.

And it’s not just the ability to facilitate staff absences that organizations stand to gain by adopting intelligent process automation. There are a number of additional tangible and intangible benefits to consider. For instance, ITPA has been shown to help MSPs boost their profit margins by as much as 35%!

Perhaps best of all, however, is that businesses can be up-and-running and fully functioning with automation in just one single hour. For organizations in crisis, this can be the lifeline that prevents the ship from going down.

If your company has been hit hard over the past several weeks and you are concerned about significant potential business disruption due to lack of available talent, we are here to tell you that there’s no need to panic. Intelligent IT process automation can become not just a means of survival, but a force multiplier, helping you weather any storm and eventually emerge on the other side stronger and more stable than ever before.

Don’t wait. Start your free trial of Ayehu NG today and give your organization the solid foundation it needs to achieve continued success, no matter the circumstances.

COVID-19 and Remote Working – 5 Essential Factors for Companies to Consider

A month ago, the economy was rolling along. Enter COVID-19 and suddenly everything seems to be grinding to a halt, with organizations scrambling to stay afloat and avoid disruption as much as possible. One primary way this is being accomplished is by enabling employees to work remotely. That being said, many companies were not adequately prepared to roll out work-from-home policies and, as such, are now trying to address the complex challenges that come with navigating unchartered territory. Here’s what business leaders should consider to make the transition safer, smoother and more seamless.

Identify and prioritize which processes will be impacted most.

Certain processes will be easier than others to transition from onsite to remote. The first step should involve evaluating how all of your organizational processes work, paying specific attention to the following:

  • Processes that are most mission-critical
  • Processes that mandate physical presence and/or are most challenging to carry out remotely
  • Processes that may be difficult to move online, such as paper-based processes
  • Any existing lockdowns or access limitations on systems, programs or applications

By gathering this data, you can more effectively develop process flow maps and – more importantly – prepare and plan for those processes which will have the highest impact on your organization’s business continuity.

Determine what logistical provisions must be made from a hardware perspective.

What equipment will your employees need in order to carry out their day-to-day duties from home? These provisions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Strong internet access
  • Telephones
  • Computers
  • Scanners/printers/shredders
  • Security keys/authentication devices

It’s essential that access to necessary equipment be assessed and addressed as quickly as possible. Equally as important is accounting for data protection so you can proactively manage risk and prevent potential security breaches.

And, of course, you need to determine what impact all of this will have on your IT team’s ability to provide support to remote workers. (Here’s where technology can help – more on that below.)

Figure out who should have access to which information.

A big part of ensuring secure business continuity is determining who should have access to information and exactly what that information entails. This step can become more challenging in a remote work scenario because people working from home will inevitably share their space with others. For instance, some remote workers may need to utilize equipment that is shared with other family members. It’s important to identify the potential risks and determine whether additional protections, limitations, equipment or training would be warranted.

Utilize advanced technology to your fullest advantage.

A lot goes into facilitating remote work, and given the current situation – where the entire staff of an organization (including IT) may be required to stay home – leveraging the technology that’s available to us has never been more important. Whether it’s video conferencing to keep meetings on schedule virtually or setting up and provisioning VPNs for all remote workers.

In these instances, artificial intelligence can be a real game-changer. For example, intelligent chatbots can be deployed to enable self-service IT support and automated workflows can be used to free up IT so they can focus on more critical business needs. If there’s ever been a time to consider implementing these technologies, it’s now.

Develop a strategy for managing remote workers.

The last piece of the puzzle is the people aspect. Many leaders find it difficult to manage employees and teams who are not situated in close proximity. Getting comfortable with the idea of remote work may take time. To fast track things and improve the odds of a smooth and uneventful transition, consider the following best practices:

  • Create a communication strategy
  • Define, set and reinforce expectations
  • Be accessible and check in regularly
  • Focus on outcomes rather than activity
  • Arm employees with the tools and technology they need to be successful

Making the move to remote work has been put on the fast track for many organizations. Thankfully, with the right approach and proper strategizing, it doesn’t have to be a painful or disruptive transition. In fact, you may just find this new way of working to be a viable long-term solution for your business.

Get started today by downloading your free trial of Ayehu NG and empower your IT team (and your entire workforce) to be productive from anywhere.

Episode #37: From Witnessing Poland’s Transformation After Communism’s Collapse To Leading Digital Transformation for Global Enterprises – CGI’s Tomasz Jamroz

March 16, 2020    Episodes

Episode #37:  From Witnessing Poland’s Transformation After Communism’s Collapse To Leading Digital Transformation for Global Enterprises

In today’s episode of Ayehu’s podcast we interview Tomasz Jamroz – VP Consulting and Head of Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence at CGI. 

Societal transformations are often epoch-defining milestones in mankind’s history.  The transition from Stone Age to Bronze Age.  The changeover from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.  The overthrow of Communism in favor of Free Market economies & democracy.  The fall of the Iron Curtain was a particularly defining event for this episode’s guest, who grew up in Poland & witnessed his nation’s conversion to capitalism after the collapse of the Soviet Union.  What he experienced then not only continues inspiring him, but also influences the advice he gives organizations on digital transformation. 

As the person in charge of Data Analytics & Artificial Intelligence for one of the world’s biggest IT and business consulting services firms, Tomasz Jamroz is uniquely positioned to be an enterprise change agent.  He draws upon his vast expertise to share with us some fascinating use cases he’s worked on, the 2 key factors organizations must address before undertaking digital transformation, and the technologies most likely to advance our capabilities & impact our world over the next 10 years. 



Guy Nadivi: Welcome everyone. My name is Guy Nadivi and I’m the host of Intelligent Automation Radio. Our guest on today’s episode is Tomasz Jamroz, VP Consulting and Head of Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence at CGI, one of the largest IT and business consulting services firms in the world. Tomasz is a thought leader in emerging technology strategy and execution, and he has a specialized focus in advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and big data platforms.

Guy Nadivi: With a resume like that and being based out of Canada, we wanted to get Tomasz on the show to share some insights with us on what he sees happening in the world of digital transformation from his advantage point, north of the border. Tomasz, welcome to Intelligence Automation Radio.

Tomasz Jamroz: Guy, thank you for having me. I’m delighted to be here.

Guy Nadivi: Tomasz, please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you ended up in a senior position involved with AI at one of the world’s biggest consulting firms.

Tomasz Jamroz: Sure. Maybe where I should start is … And that will help the audience understand the funny accent they hear. I’m Eastern European. I actually grew up in Poland, and I had a chance to go through a significant transformation very early as a teenager when Poland’s move from being a communist country to become a free market and democracy republic. Experiencing that transformation so early created that I had a special relation with change. I always see a very positive aspect of any change that is occurring around me and this is something that really helped me to move and progress in my career.

Tomasz Jamroz: By education, I’m Neurobehavioral Psychologist. One could say that’s not a typical AI education or a background that you would expect for somebody in my position, but for me, Neurobehavioral Psychology was a way to discover, and learn, and build methodology that helped me progress. I think it’s very important when you look at the education as not really what you’re learning, but you are able to derive from the journey. I really like Neurobehavioral Psychology, but I haven’t had 100% conviction towards the discipline.

Tomasz Jamroz: I shared that with my profs when I was writing my undergraduate thesis and they advised me that, “Tomasz, you have this very logical approach and we’re currently building this interdisciplinary team with computer science department where your knowledge about cognitive psychology and neuroscience would be a perfect pair.” This was for me the first time to become a part of such a diversified team, and learn how I can utilize something that I have learned in a particular domain and apply it to something totally different.

Tomasz Jamroz: I got actually pretty excited about computer science, to the extent that I convinced the dean of computer science to enroll me in the fourth year computer science courses without having proper prerequisites and background. I almost failed, but it was a very valuable lesson. Very quickly I realized that Neurobehavioral Psychology is not really what I want to be doing. What I want to be doing is, I want to be helping organizations and I want to help organizations transform or improve them.

Tomasz Jamroz: I became the System Architect. I architected custom solutions for HR and IT departments, but I realized as I was doing it that I was still missing something. I realized that what I’m missing was the knowledge about business and I decided to do MBA. Throughout my MBA, I was absolutely fascinated by the concept of ERP. Looking at how you can take any organization and you can transform it and fit it into the ERP or SAP or any other, and run it successfully was something that really seemed very interesting and a great opportunity for me to go into and learn more. I became SAP consultant.

Tomasz Jamroz: Very early in my SAP consultant stage of my life, I discovered a niche and the niche was something that brought me closer to, we can say, automation. I realized that regardless organization you work with, there is multiple departments that translate into multiple different modules within ERP. However, there is one denominator that is the same. The denominator was that any of those processes, when it fails, it creates an exception and that exception prevented from a system automatically completing process from A to Z.

Tomasz Jamroz: I decided, could I collect all those exceptions? Could I find any anomalies in those exceptions, and identify that the exceptions are exceptions only because the system thinks that they are. But in reality, if we slightly modified a few parameters, they’re not exceptions anymore. As such, I was able to create a very interesting niche. Utilizing a lot of data input, I was able to help organizations decrease the volume of exceptions by 20 to 30%. When you think about it, all those exceptions, when they’re creating the system, at the end they’re sent to the back office where there’s number of people that they need to resolve them.

Tomasz Jamroz: The fact that you were able applying those simple analytical methods to resolve such a significant portion, was something that really made me fascinated about unlimited opportunities that there are when you really utilize the data and you find the trends and patterns to improve. At the same time, I was actually … At this stage of my career, I was part of Accenture Consulting. Accenture decided at the time, it was around 2014, pivots to the new digital economy. There was actually a great book written by Omar Abbas who was Chief Strategy Officer, and architect behind that transformation.

Tomasz Jamroz: Anybody who is interested of how to move and transform organization, you’ll find a lot of interesting information there. As Accenture decided to pivot, I felt the need and maybe that’s because it goes back to my appraisal that I’ve seen transformation, I’ve seen that there’s good things coming out of transformation. I decided to do the same, and I discovered a human-centric design. I spent a lot of time learning and getting involved in automated testing in robotic process automation, in advanced analytics, but it wasn’t until I joined my first data science team.

Tomasz Jamroz: I remember working my first data science team, and we were building this segmentation for the customer, looking at their clients. I engage in that discussion with my team and I started asking questions about centroids and distance between those centroids when we identify different clusters. I remember the team looking at me and asking, “Tomasz, you told us you don’t know anything about machine learning.” And I said, “That’s true, I don’t. But for me, this is statistics.”

Tomasz Jamroz: It’s a very funny story because I have this vivid memory when I was actually starting and I remember the advanced statistical methods course. Taking that class and studying K-means, which is what you usually use for clustering and segmentation, I was wondering “Why am I doing it and when and where will I ever need it?” Little did I know, this was something that helped me establish respect with my data science team, and then my career really progressed very quickly.

Tomasz Jamroz: It was pretty early stage of digitalization. I had a very good background and it enabled me to jump on those opportunities and I got engaged in multiple very interesting initiatives in the big data platform space in cognitive aspect. I was working on more and more complex projects and I really liked it.

Tomasz Jamroz: By total surprise, I was contacted and asked to come and interview by CGI. I was happy at the place I was, at the time. Out of respect of CGI, it’s a great organization, I decided to take that interview. I remember I felt that that interview didn’t go well, because when I came to the interview, I’d been proposed a particular role and I politely declined. I shared what I would like to do, or what I see the challenges that exist within the market are, and how I could help any organization resolving those. I remember leaving that interview, I was like, “Well, good that I have a job because I don’t think I’m going to have any other interviews anytime soon.”

Tomasz Jamroz: But to my surprise, I’d been contacted back and I had a chance to meet another person. We dived deeper and discussed about what is my vision and I found it very interesting. I found it quite fascinating that I am now having a discussion even though I rejected what was offered to me, and the organization did not take it defensively. Quite opposite, they decided they would like to understand better the idea that I had. We had a number of discussions that actually led to and ended with a job offer that was put in front of me.

Tomasz Jamroz: I remember when that happened, I found myself puzzled because I didn’t … I wanted to do it, but I was afraid and it was the moment when I realized that I actually became comfortable with what I was doing so far and this opportunity is a new challenge. The moment I realized, I had to do the same one I’m always advising to my clients that stagnation kills innovation. If you have an opportunity that scares you, it’s something that usually is good for you and I did. I’m very happy that I did. CGI is a big multinational organization, but at the same time its core is an organization that allows a lot of entrepreneurship.

Tomasz Jamroz: Probably it’s the fact that our founder started the organization from a team of two to what it is today, almost 80,000 consultants and it kind of happened over a short period of time. I’m very happy because it allowed me to join the organization that I can address the challenges that are there, and I can have a full support to do it. Pretty much, that’s my story.

Guy Nadivi: It really sounds like your whole life has led to a career focused on transformation. So, I’m curious Tomasz, if you can talk about some of the more interesting use cases you’ve been involved with at CGI and the quantified impact that digital transformation had on the organization’s you worked with.

Tomasz Jamroz: Absolutely. I’d like to share three different examples. One example I would like to share is coming from the manufacturing industry, which I think has a great potential for digitalization. Another is actually applying a particular type of technology across different industries. My last example would be from the utilities, but it’s interesting example because example that comes and it’s something that was fully built by one of our clients. I was really fascinated when I learned about it.

Tomasz Jamroz: Let me start with the first example. Everybody sees digitalization and when we look at the back and front office, there is a no brainer that that’s where the great opportunities for automation are. I would encourage everybody to look in any industry that is asset heavy, because that’s where especially advanced analytics can be very helpful. One of the examples that I would like to share with you today is Uddeholms. Uddeholms is a producer of high alloyed tool steel. They’re based in Sweden, and they came to CGI with a very particular challenge. They wanted to decrease number of cracks in the steel, and they identified that the steel cracks are really affecting their profitability.

Tomasz Jamroz: When we engaged with them, it was very interesting because very quickly we realized that they actually have a lot of data points that they collected around their manufacturing process. What they were missing was a proper platform that would allow ingestion and analysis of the information that they already had in different forms. When we started working with them, we first concentrated on establishing that foundation. Utilizing IoT devices and collecting all the information, including the historical data that they had, to build this platform.

Tomasz Jamroz: Once we collected all the information, we started to simulate and run different models, and develop algorithms that allow us to identify exactly when and where the cracks occur. Once we were able to simulate it, we were able to identify where within the process are the key elements, the gene to modify look for or change, in order to prevent those cracks. At the outcome of that model, we were able to predict with 70% accuracy when the cracks will occur, and as such we were able to decrease the waste that otherwise would be unprevented.

Tomasz Jamroz: This is an example that we often see in manufacturing industry, in pharmaceuticals. This is something where you can really utilize the vast amount of data that a lot of organizations is collecting today, and use it to build predictive analytics, digital twins, and so on.

Tomasz Jamroz: Another example, and I find it’s very interesting, is the concept of a machine vision. Machine vision in real time analytics, it’s something that really allows us to augment and enhance a lot of areas that we are already operating in. I’m going to give you an example of retail. We work with one of the consumer electronic giants, and they had a very successful targeted marketing campaign, and it shouldn’t be a surprise. Marketing using some advanced analytics for a long period of time, but what we decided to do is, could we augment the customer experience within the store with real time analytics and in particular with machine vision.

Tomasz Jamroz: What we very quickly realized that, when we were combining information that coming with POS, and we were enhancing it with the information of how many customers actually interacted with the new product that is on the shelf, what was their sentiment and what was the nature of their interaction? We were able to enhance and increase the sales using this targeted advertising now enhancing with machine vision by 120%. The concept of machine vision, it’s something that is really taking off. We work with a number of cities to develop smart cities.

Tomasz Jamroz: Cities receive a lot of CCTV feeds. There is a lot of monitoring in a lot of cities around the globe, and machine vision is something that can help increase the safety of the citizens. We develop the models that we were able to identify what are the accidents and where are they occurring, and what is the best way for emergency crews to be dispatched to it. We used the machine vision in another industry in renewable energy.

Tomasz Jamroz: One of the challenges with the wind turbines is that the maintenance is a critical aspect. Normally you have to dispatch your workforce to go and check regularly the equipment, and those are big constructions and there is safety hazards and so on. We’re able to utilize drones and machine vision to collect the information to identify where really the problems are, and as opposed to dispatching people just to go and check the structures and the wind turbines, we were able to dispatch them exactly to where the problem is and advising them what they need to take in order to resolve that because we’re able to provide some insights about the nature of the challenge. This is something that we see quite a bit.

Tomasz Jamroz: The last example I would like to bring is actually coming from one our clients. Hydro-Quebec, it’s one of biggest renewable energy power generators in the world. They’re based in Montreal, and they have their own research institute. That research institute has developed a fault location algorithm and using advance data analytics, they were able to detect and diagnose both permanent and momentary faults. Those faults are hard to identify. Those are network issues, and those network issues are actually the root cause behind many outages and ultimately customer complaints.

Tomasz Jamroz: What we engaged with Hyrdo-Quebec is, we actually realized it’s such a great solution that we would like to help them to commercialize it. I think this is really what speaks volume about the state of the industry. I think it’s really emerging domain. You normally are not surprised to see companies like CGI, a technology power house that is able to come and build AI-driven solution. But I’m very happy to see that our clients, on their own, are capable and they’re reaching a certain level of maturity to build solutions utilizing advanced algorithmic capabilities themselves.

Guy Nadivi: Tomasz, listening to you talk about all those different use cases, I’m curious. It’s been said that the failure rate for digital transformation projects can be as high as 84%. What is one thing you think organizations undergoing digital transformation must do to ensure that they’re a part of the 16% that succeed?

Tomasz Jamroz: Of course. This is actually a very interesting question and this is something that at CGI we … We actually perform our own study and what we do is, we have something called the voice of our clients. Through the voice of our clients, we interview the executives around the globe. It’s over 1,500 executives from different industries, different countries, where we’re trying to understand what are the challenges. One of the questions that we ask is, what are the challenges that you experienced and identified as your top challenges in the area of digital transformation.

Tomasz Jamroz: We actually see that 83% of people we interview, they share with us that culture change and change management is a key aspect of a transformation. I think this is something that is very important. Addressing the people in the digital transformation should be a key. I often see that when we talk about the digital transformation, there is a lot of emphasis that is put on the word “digital” where in reality we should really concentrate on the transformation.

Tomasz Jamroz: How do we transform the people? How do we transform the process? How do we transform the organization? Making something digital is fairly simple. You can take a piece of paper with text, put it on the scanner, and you have a digital format of the sheet. Making people to adopt and open themselves to embrace transformation is much more significant and much more challenging.

Tomasz Jamroz: The second thing, and this is like 70% based on our research is that, technology and especially legacy technology. A lot of organizations still today, they’re dealing with leftovers of mainframe computing and all the other custom solutions that allow them to grow and allow them to be where they are today. However, the lifespan for those technologies is really getting to the abrupt end, and a lot of organizations realize that when they really want to go and fully embrace the digital, they have challenges, their technology is not capable of taking them.

Tomasz Jamroz: On the positive note, when you look at those two major factor which are culture and the legacy, what we see asking the same questions and starting that year after year that you see an improvement. More organizations realize that the culture change and change management is a key in the digital transformation, as well as more and more organization address the challenges of having legacy systems. I think this is something that is incredibly important for any organization to address if they really want to be successful.

Guy Nadivi: Listening to you discuss the many different technologies and industries that you work with at CGI, I’d love to hear what you think are going to be some of the biggest disruptions that we’ll see in three, five, or even 10 years from now with respect to automation, AI, and other digitally transforming technologies.

Tomasz Jamroz: Okay, a million dollar question. I wish I had the answer that I can be 100% certain and invest in stock accordingly. But let me try to address it looking at what happened up to now and how do I foresee the change appearing in the nearest future. When I look at the first three years, I think that the greatest adoption or the biggest change will come from the adoption of the technologies already available to us. I feel that the maturity of a technology that is surrounding us is greater than our adoption. When you think about it, the concept of a PC that move the computer from a research center universities close to us with mobile, with augmented, with wearables, we really have ability to utilize the technology in very close proximity to where we are.

Tomasz Jamroz: We also created a lot of data which I don’t fully see that we’re utilizing today. When you think about it, we have creating over 40 zettabytes of data which actually translates into, we created more bytes of information than there is stars in observable universe. We have the vast majority of information available to us. We have the tools how we can access it. The limitations that I still see that we have today, and I don’t think they’re going to be resolved in the next three years. I think it’s more five or maybe in the full decade is our computing power.

Tomasz Jamroz: We’ve made amazing progress. However, we’re reaching the point that I foresee that the biggest change will come from some kind of a new computing power that is introduced. It could be quantum computing. The concept of quantum bits, they would exponentially increase our computing capability. One of the great examples when you think about the power of quantum computing is that encryption packages that we use today, if we were to attack them with a brute force, it will take us 200 years to crack. If we applied quantum computing to the same challenge, it would take us a month.

Tomasz Jamroz: I think that illustrates what is the odd of a possible that can happen. I think that is what really is required to answer something, what we call general AI. To enable artificial intelligence to have this heuristic capability of inheriting the information and becoming a more general or more true intelligence.

Tomasz Jamroz: The last thing that I think is very interesting is … I’m also curious how that field progresses is the edge computing or maybe even distributed edge computing. I think that at the moment we’re going to get a moment in time when we’re going to get to the point that we need to make a critical life or death decisions and milliseconds and really play the role. I think there’s a potential of the edge computing to really take off, and become a significant force, having an impact on the transformation and of future of technologies.

Guy Nadivi: Interesting. Tomasz, for the CIOs, CTOs, and other IT executives listening in, what is the one big must have piece of advice you’d like them to take away from our discussion with regards to engaging in digital transformation?

Tomasz Jamroz: My biggest word of advice is that any IT executive today should think like they are CEO of a technology company. This is something that I believe it’s critical, and the digital transformation is something that really defines be or not to be for any organization. This is something that when I look & I often discuss with different executives is … My biggest advice is always to be honest with yourself in terms of what is your maturity. At the same time, you need to understand what is the art of the possible.

Tomasz Jamroz: What you want to make sure is that in no point in time you allow that gap to really grow. Meaning that you have a certain level of technological agility, but by no means you match what is the potential of that technology. Because what this big gap is causing is, it’s actually decreasing the barriers to entry for your competition and for other technologies, technology companies to go and enter your business. This is something that for me is critical, that IT executives help drive IT organizations and they don’t look at it through the old paradigm that IT is just a cost center.

Tomasz Jamroz: IT should be a differentiator and the value creator for any organization, and IT executives are actually in the most important elements of that success. I’m not jealous of the challenge they face with. They play a very significant role and it’s very important that they become a part of any business strategy discussion and they also help drive the business.

Guy Nadivi: You raise a good point in that, I think it’s sometimes lost in the shuffle, that with all these digital transformations going on, it’s often IT that itself is undergoing the most radical, digital transformation of anyone. All right, looks like that’s all the time we have for, on this episode of Intelligent Automation Radio. Tomasz, thank you so much for coming in today and sharing your thoughts with us. By the way, I’m a big fan of Canada and especially your national dish poutine.

Tomasz Jamroz: Awesome. You should come to Montreal and we can continue the discussion and grab some good poutine.

Guy Nadivi: Sounds good to me. Tomasz Jamroz, Vice President of Consulting and Head of Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence at CGI. Thank you for listening everyone and remember, don’t hesitate, automate.



Tomasz Jamroz 

VP Consulting and Head of Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence at CGI. 

Tomasz is a thought leader in emerging technologies strategy and execution, with a specialized focus in Advanced Analytics, IoT and Big Data platforms. He is a leader with acute sense and ability to lead organizations through complexities of emerging technologies selection and implementation, with a clear focus on shareholder value creation, and a proven track record of execution of complex transformative enterprise-wide projects. Tomasz thrives on innovation and has an acute intuitive talent to identify and pursue value-maximizing strategic vectors in the space combined with a pragmatic vision of how to achieve the desired return on investment.  

A trusted advisor to corporate executive teams and Board of Directors of organizations focused on identifying and assessing the actual value of proposed investments.  Capable of identifying and mitigating risks to the existing operating business model derived from new market entrants.  Expert ability to evaluate, form, and deliver strategic initiatives enabling the organizations to correct course to meet the needs of the market and create a sustainable path to value creation for the shareholders.  Strategic leader with a proven delivery skillset gained through leading several successful full-life cycle implementations within large transformational programs across multiple industries. 

Tomasz can be reached at:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomaszjamroz/ 

White Paper: Artificial Intelligence in the Making: A Pathway to Success for Canadian Enterprises 

CGI Client Global Insights:  https://www.cgi.com/en/insights-to-action 

Quotes

“I always see a very positive aspect of any change that is occurring around me and this is something that really helped me to move and progress in my career.” 

“…stagnation kills innovation. If you have an opportunity that scares you, it's something that usually is good for you...” 

" Everybody sees digitalization and when we look at the back and front office, there is a no brainer that that's where the great opportunities for automation are. I would encourage everybody to look in any industry that is asset heavy, because that's where especially advanced analytics can be very helpful." 

“Machine vision in real time analytics, it's something that really allows us to augment and enhance a lot of areas that we are already operating in.” 

“How do we transform the people? How do we transform the process? How do we transform the organization? Making something digital is fairly simple. You can take a piece of paper with text, put it on the scanner, and you have a digital format of the sheet. Making people to adopt and open themselves to embrace transformation is much more significant and much more challenging.” 

“A lot of organizations still today, they're dealing with leftovers of mainframe computing and all the other custom solutions that allow them to grow and allow them to be where they are today. However, the lifespan for those technologies is really getting to the abrupt end, and a lot of organizations realize that when they really want to go and fully embrace the digital, they have challenges, their technology is not capable of taking them.” 

About Ayehu

Ayehu’s IT automation and orchestration platform powered by AI is a force multiplier for IT and security operations, helping enterprises save time on manual and repetitive tasks, accelerate mean time to resolution, and maintain greater control over IT infrastructure. Trusted by hundreds of major enterprises and leading technology solution and service partners, Ayehu supports thousands of automated processes across the globe.

GET STARTED WITH AYEHU INTELLIGENT AUTOMATION & ORCHESTRATION  PLATFORM:

News

Ayehu NG Trial is Now Available
SRI International and Ayehu Team Up on Artificial Intelligence Innovation to Deliver Enterprise Intelligent Process Automation
Ayehu Launches Global Partner Program to Support Increasing Demand for Intelligent Automation
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Ayehu Automation Academy is Now Available

Links

Episode #1: Automation and the Future of Work
Episode #2: Applying Agility to an Entire Enterprise
Episode #3: Enabling Positive Disruption with AI, Automation and the Future of Work
Episode #4: How to Manage the Increasingly Complicated Nature of IT Operations
Episode #5: Why your organization should aim to become a Digital Master (DTI) report
Episode #6: Insights from IBM: Digital Workforce and a Software-Based Labor Model
Episode #7: Developments Influencing the Automation Standards of the Future
Episode #8: A Critical Analysis of AI’s Future Potential & Current Breakthroughs
Episode #9: How Automation and AI are Disrupting Healthcare Information Technology
Episode #10: Key Findings From Researching the AI Market & How They Impact IT
Episode #11: Key Metrics that Justify Automation Projects & Win Budget Approvals
Episode #12: How Cognitive Digital Twins May Soon Impact Everything
Episode #13: The Gold Rush Being Created By Conversational AI
Episode #14: How Automation Can Reduce the Risks of Cyber Security Threats
Episode #15: Leveraging Predictive Analytics to Transform IT from Reactive to Proactive
Episode #16: How the Coming Tsunami of AI & Automation Will Impact Every Aspect of Enterprise Operations
Episode #17: Back to the Future of AI & Machine Learning
Episode #18: Implementing Automation From A Small Company Perspective
Episode #19: Why Embracing Consumerization is Key To Delivering Enterprise-Scale Automation
Episode #20: Applying Ancient Greek Wisdom to 21st Century Emerging Technologies
Episode #21: Powering Up Energy & Utilities Providers’ Digital Transformation with Intelligent Automation & Ai
Episode #22: A Prominent VC’s Advice for AI & Automation Entrepreneurs
Episode #23: How Automation Digitally Transformed British Law Enforcement
Episode #24: Should Enterprises Use AI & Machine Learning Just Because They Can?
Episode #25: Why Being A Better Human Is The Best Skill to Have in the Age of AI & Automation
Episode #26: How To Run A Successful Digital Transformation
Episode #27: Why Enterprises Should Have A Chief Automation Officer
Episode #28: How AIOps Tames Systems Complexity & Overcomes Talent Shortages
Episode #29: How Applying Darwin’s Theories To Ai Could Give Enterprises The Ultimate Competitive Advantage
Episode #30: How AIOps Will Hasten The Digital Transformation Of Data Centers
Episode #31: Could Implementing New Learning Models Be Key To Sustaining Competitive Advantages Generated By Digital Transformation?
Episode #32: How To Upscale Automation, And Leave Your Competition Behind
Episode #33: How To Upscale Automation, And Leave Your Competition Behind
Episode #34: What Large Enterprises Can Learn From Automation In SMB’s
Episode #35: The Critical Steps You Must Take To Avoid The High Failure Rates Endemic To Digital Transformation
Episode #36: Why Baking Ethics Into An AI Project Isn't Just Good Practice, It's Good Business

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Disclaimer Note

Neither the Intelligent Automation Radio Podcast, Ayehu, nor the guest interviewed on the podcast are making any recommendations as to investing in this or any other automation technology. The information in this podcast is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Please do you own due diligence and consult with a professional adviser before making any investment

A Surprisingly Simple Solution to Avoid Being Crippled by Coronavirus

Global Industries Being Crippled by the Coronavirus (and a Possible Solution)

Since its initial outbreak in China, the COVID-19 (a.k.a. coronavirus) has begun rapidly proliferating across the globe. Italy is on lockdown, Iran is teetering on the brink of crisis and the United States is bracing itself for a widespread and potentially devastating national outbreak. And this pandemic situation is spreading more than just sickness and death. It’s also disseminating a pervasive sense of panic that’s enough to send the global economy into a nosedive.

The impact this outbreak is having on businesses simply cannot be understated. Some organizations are being directly affected by things like mandatory quarantines and worldwide travel bans. Others are realizing the trickle-down effect that comes with things like international trade restrictions and disruptions to the global supply chain.

The unfortunate and downright bleak reality is that this health crisis isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In the meantime, business leaders across just about every industry are facing difficult decisions about things like production and staffing. Talks of layoffs are undoubtedly on the table, ultimately impacting the livelihood of everyday workers and, subsequently, pushing the world further toward another recession.

The good news – if there can even be “good” news at a time like this – is that there is a solution that could potentially prevent business disruption and keep organizations (even those hit hard by the epidemic) afloat, despite the dire external circumstances. That solution is intelligent automation. Here are just a few ways:

  • Workers on mandatory quarantine can continue to perform their daily duties from their home offices.
  • Organizations in high-risk areas can improve their odds of avoiding exposure and also reduce further spread of the disease by voluntarily allowing employees to work from home.
  • Companies that rely heavily on travel can utilize virtual technology to continue “business as usual,” slashing travel expenditure at the same time.
  • IT teams can leverage intelligent automation to balance the workload so they can either operate on skeleton crews or manage their normal workload remotely.
  • Advanced technologies, like machine learning, natural language processing and artificial intelligence can be employed to enable end-users (either on-site or working remotely) to self-serve a wide variety of their IT support needs, such as password resets and system restarts.

Is intelligent automation the be-all and end-all solution? Of course not. Some industries, such as travel and tourism, will undoubtedly feel the brunt of this pandemic outbreak. For most industries, however, the scenarios outlined above can help keep things operating on schedule, thereby limiting business disruption. Not only does this help organizations avert financial loss, but collectively, it could help to keep the economy more stable, preventing or at least minimizing the impact of a widespread downturn.

The best way to prepare for the coronavirus? Wash your hands. Avoid touching your face. And if you’re a business decision-maker, implement intelligent automation as soon as possible. Get started today with your free 30-day trial of Ayehu NG.

5 Ways IT Automation Can Help Your Organization Survive the Coronavirus

5 Ways Automation Can Help Your Organization Survive the Coronavirus

With the number of people infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19) nearing a hundred thousand worldwide and the death toll steadily rising, there’s no question that we’ve got a pandemic situation on our hands. In the face of fear and uncertainty, more and more organizations are curbing corporate travel and turning to remote work arrangements in order to minimize impact and prevent potential business disruption.

The importance of preparing for what is quickly developing into a world health crisis simply cannot be understated. And with these sudden and substantial changes that are occurring in the workplace as a result, there are additional challenges to consider. In particular, there are the logistics of facilitating remote work (provisioning more VPNs, providing remote access to files, etc.), which means more work for the IT team – effectively pulling them away from their normal daily duties.

Addressing these serious and impactful concerns – and quickly – has become a top priority for business leaders across every industry. The good news is, it starts with the right technology. In light of this, we’ve pulled together the top 5 use cases every organization should be prepared to automate and how to pull it off as seamlessly as possible:

VPN Access

With so many employees now getting the green light to work from home, the demand for VPN is going up substantially. Subsequently, VPN access issues for both employees and contractors are also on the rise, such as resetting, opening, closing, VPN certificate updates etc. This places a tremendous burden on IT personnel, many of whom are already overworked and lacking appropriate staff and/or resources. By automating this workflow, remote workers can be up and running quickly without adding to the IT team’s already overloaded schedule.

Permissions and Password Related Issues

The requests for systems permissions and password resets don’t go away just because employees aren’t working in the office. In fact, with remote access, these issues tend to increase in frequency, which means the IT team should expect an uptick in these types of tickets. Unfortunately, as any IT support agent knows all too well, requests like these are time consuming, pulling skilled workers away from other, more important tasks. Again, this is where automation can have a tremendous impact, providing self-service options for end-users and alleviating the pressure on IT.

Extend More Resources

One of the biggest IT challenges with a remote workforce is resource management. Manually monitoring and allocating resources is not the best use of your IT team’s time. With IT process automation, however, resource provisioning requests that would otherwise bog down the service desk can be turned into automated workflows, including those that end-users trigger on their own with just a few simple mouse clicks. This results in a much more satisfactory experience for both the end-user as well as the busy IT team.

Day-to-Day Server and App Maintenance

Just because the office is empty doesn’t mean IT isn’t still responsible for meeting their day-to-day expectations. Things like service restarts, app pool rotation, log cleanup, disk space, memory and CPU utilization, etc. must all still be completed in order to prevent, or at least minimize, business disruption. With automation, you can set up workflows that are either scheduled or automatically triggered via an event. Best of all, this can even be done when IT agents are working remotely as well.

On-boarding / Off-boarding

The spread of the Coronavirus may be most ill-timed for incoming or exiting employees, but life goes on, regardless of whether these team members are in the office or working from home. The problem is, onboarding and off-boarding employees is a time consuming process, and as we’ve already established, IT has enough on their plate as it is. Thankfully, the entire onboarding and/or off-boarding workflow can be automatically initiated and completed quickly, eliminating delays and ensuring a more optimized allocation of resources.

Additional pandemic preparedness tips for IT teams:

  • Evaluate the IT supply chain to determine preparedness
  • Implement remote data center management solutions
  • Review and/or implement remote work policies, especially issues regarding BYOD, company-issued equipment, prioritized access and Internet bandwidth capacity
  • If possible, leverage the cloud to mitigate risk
  • Investigate and utilize alternative communications channels (voice, chat, etc.)
  • Leverage web-based video conferencing
  • Decide which business operations requiring heavy resource usage must continue, and which can be postponed
  • Delay/reschedule non-essential IT ops activities
  • Stagger hours of operation and staffing allocation to ease bandwidth demand
  • Reorient IT budget and projects accordingly

Unfortunately, this latest catastrophic health crisis serves as a sobering reminder of just how vulnerable businesses can be to external circumstances. By leveraging the latest technology, like intelligent IT process automation, organizations can keep employees safe and minimize potential impact. And since enabling remote work has been shown to improve productivity, reduce employee turnover and slash operating expenses, companies implementing these policies may find they come out even stronger on the other side.

Ready to strengthen your position and arm yourself for battle against this and future pandemic situations? Start your free 30 day trial of Ayehu NG today!