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.

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.

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!

7 Tips to Win the IT Talent War

7 Tips to Win the IT Talent WarAs any IT leader will acknowledge, attracting top talent is only half the battle. It’s keeping them on that’s the real challenge. And with an average employee tenure of only about 3 years, it’s a serious concern for many organizations across the globe. Add in the complex, fast paced and highly stressful role of IT support and you’ve got quite the conundrum. So, what’s the secret? How can you do things differently so that your company remains as safe as possible from cyber-attacks while your talented employees stay on for the long haul? Here are 7 tips to point you in the right direction.

Keep them challenged. The last thing you want is for your IT support personnel to become bored and stagnant in their current positions. Avoid this by investing in ongoing training, setting up mentoring programs, and offering opportunities to learn about and master new strategies and technologies. The more you keep your IT employees engaged and involved, the less likely they’ll be to look elsewhere.

Rotate project time. Being stuck on the same project day in and day out can lead to fatigue and frustration. Consider rotating employees onto various IT projects so that they don’t feel stuck. This will provide exposure to and the opportunity to learn about new skills and also open up the door to be able to approach long-term projects from differing perspectives – both of which can benefit your organization.

Give them the tools they need. These days, keeping up with the onslaught of cyber-attacks is nothing short of exhausting. Don’t leave your IT personnel out to dry by making them handle this monumental task manually. Arm them with the technology they need to do their jobs better, faster, more efficiently and more effectively, such as intelligent automation.

Provide a safe place to vent. Without question, the job of keeping an entire organization safe from breaches and outages can be incredibly stressful. Additionally, IT security personal often feel tense due to the amount of classified and confidential information they are entrusted with. Provide an opportunity and a secure avenue for these employees to vent their feelings.

Encourage time off. Everybody needs a little down time, but given the fast-paced and highly stressful field of IT, these employees could probably use some time off more than anyone else in your organization. This is where technology can help. By automating a good portion of tasks and leveraging the cloud to embrace more flexibility, your team can take the much needed time off they deserve without the company feeling any negative impact.

Use realistic metrics to measure success. One of the biggest reasons IT professionals find themselves dissatisfied at work is because they feel they aren’t being adequately recognized. This is often due to a lack of clear and specific metrics for success. Management should set realistic expectations, communicate openly and routinely measure progress. Good work should be rewarded and areas of improvement identified and addressed in a positive, productive way.

Empower them. If your employees feel that their only option is to come in every day and put in 8-10 hours of labor, they’re not going to develop any kind of connection or loyalty to your organization. On the other hand, if they know that the work they do plays a direct role in the “big picture” and that their achievements are tied into the company’s overall success, they’ll be much more plugged in, which means they’re more likely to stay on for the long haul. Empower them by inviting ideas and encouraging autonomy.

Are you doing enough to keep your IT personnel satisfied, engaged and plugged in? If not, you could be facing higher turnover, which can negatively impact your company’s bottom line and also leave you more vulnerable to things like outages and cyber-attacks. By implementing the above tips, you’ll create a more positive work environment that fosters longevity. Happy employees will work harder to ensure that your organization remains strong, secure and successful.

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

How NOT to be an intelligent automation failure

How NOT to be an intelligent automation failure

According to a recent survey by IDC, of the organizations already using artificial intelligence solutions, only 25% have developed an enterprise-wide AI strategy. What’s holding them back? Well, according to that same survey, most failed AI projects occur due to lack of skills, staff and resources, as well as unrealistic expectations. So, how can you avoid and/or overcome these common roadblocks with your own intelligent automation implementation? The following five tips should help set you up for success.

Start with the right partner/product.

First and foremost, you want to make sure the technology vendor you choose to work with is reputable and offers a robust, agile and scalable product. The right intelligent automation platform can easily make up for three of the main causes of implementation failure: lack of skills, resources and staff. But remember – not all products or vendors are created equal. Look for a partner that has a proven track record with other satisfied clients and offers plenty of support after the sale, not just before it.

Assemble the right team.

If enterprise-wide proliferation of intelligent automation is your goal, then handing it off as a part-time project to team members who are already juggling a full workload won’t help you achieve it. Being successful with AI requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, and for that, a dedicated team is necessary. If you can’t afford to hire experts? No problem. Train and reskill your existing staff. Just don’t make it an afterthought, or the results will suffer.

Align your goals (and be realistic).

As mentioned, one of the main reasons an intelligent automation initiatives fails is unrealistic expectations. If you’re heading into the project thinking you’re going to automate everything right out of the gate, there’s a massively good chance you’re going to end up disappointed. Instead, start slow and work your way up. Identify and automate the areas of your business that will produce the quickest and most impactful ROI, and that directly support the company’s overarching goals and objectives.

Take time to understand AI decisions.

When adopting artificial intelligence, it’s crucial that you are able to understand the ‘why’ behind each decision made by AI. Taking a lackadaisical approach simply won’t cut it. For instance, if your AI is automatically approving some applications but declining others, you need to be able to confidently point to the factors that went into those decisions. This is important because while AI has come a long way, it’s not 100% infallible. Being able to quickly and effectively address and correct mistakes is key.

Keep it real.

Let’s face it. Change can be a scary thing. And perhaps nothing is more fear-inducing to a human employee than the idea that intelligent automation is going to render them irrelevant. You can’t expect to successfully achieve organization-wide AI if you don’t have the support and cooperation of everyone – especially those who will be directly impacted. People will inevitably have questions. Be open, honest and transparent. Communicate clearly and consistently how the impending changes will not threaten but instead improve their lives. Change doesn’t have to be a roadblock, as long as you manage it.

Without question, intelligent automation, powered by AI and machine learning, is poised to become a complete game-changer. The challenge lies in an organization’s ability to effectively implement it. By following the five tips listed above, you can avoid the common pitfalls plaguing so many others and position your company a step ahead of the game.

The best time to start is now! Download your free 30-day trial of Ayehu NG and put the power of intelligent automation to work for you!

Three Steps To Prepare The Enterprise For The Digital Workforce In 2020

Article originally published in Forbes Technology Council.

There’s no longer any uncertainty or ambiguity. Automation absolutely, positively will impact the way every one of us works. The degree to which that impact occurs will vary, but make no mistake: Humans in every industry and position, from warehouse workers to C-suite executives, will someday soon be working alongside digital workers (a.k.a. virtual agents).

Just what will this future digital enterprise look like? The answer to that lies in how organizations implement artificial intelligence.

The ‘How’ Vs. The ‘What’

For many workers, the way that automation and artificial intelligence technologies are adopted will be more effective than the technology itself. The same goes for organizations as a whole. To succeed in the digital age, business leaders must begin to shift their viewpoint from opportunistic to a more systematic approach. In years past, automating on an ad hoc basis was sufficient. Over time, however, that strategy led to silos that were not adequately governed, nor were they scalable.

The future of automation in tomorrow’s workplace must be rigorous and robust, policy- and data-driven, and, above all, enterprise-centric. In other words, it’s not so much about the “what” as it is about the “how.” This will be the main differentiator between organizations that succeed in achieving digital transformation and those that fall irreparably behind.

Three Steps To Success With Intelligent Automation

1. Build. New technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning will inevitably affect some workers in adverse ways. This has always been the case, as people continue to be displaced from one economic sector to another. In fact, according to one estimation by McKinsey, up to 30% of the global workforce (and between 400 million and 800 million workers) could be displaced by automation by the year 2030.

But while some jobs will ultimately be eliminated, the current and ongoing technological innovation we are experiencing will simultaneously create new opportunities.

Perhaps it is more than fitting that a fictional Borg from the futuristic Star Trek series uttered the infamous words, “Resistance is futile.” Like it or not, AI and automation technologies are already having an impact on the workplace, and they’re not going away any time soon.

The future of work will ultimately belong to those individuals who are willing to embrace and leverage artificial intelligence to their advantage. This may come in the form of self-automation — that is, the foresight and desire to automate portions of one’s own job in the interest of productivity and efficiency. Organizational leaders can and should meet them in the middle by seeking out key employees who show promise, optimism and a willingness to adapt and reskill, if necessary.

Investing in human capital with the ultimate goal of developing an automation center of excellence will create a compromise between top-down mandated automation and bottom-up, enthusiastic support and participation. This is the ideal scenario and one that will drive ongoing innovation and success. Some key roles to focus on for the future include:

  • Automation architects.
  • Automation engineers.
  • Site reliability and DevOps engineers (SRE).
  • API product managers.
  • Data scientists.

2. Standardize. With the right people and teams in place, the next step toward leveraging intelligent automation for digital transformation should involve the standardization of processes and the creation of best practices.

To start, the focus should be on delivering continuous value rather than aiming for one major change. This is achieved via strategic increments.

Centralized governance will then help to ensure ongoing compliance and support future growth and expansion.

3. Invest. Many will find it surprising that technology is actually the final piece in the automation puzzle. This is due in large part to the old-school, opportunistic way of thinking. The new recommended approach is one that involves a strategic cultural change and focuses on people and processes first, and then tools and technology.

Once these first two factors have been determined, the search for the right automation platform can begin. Ideally, the criteria should include no-code or low-code solutions that are both robust and agile. This will enable the eventual proliferation of automation across the entire enterprise while also supporting the future growth and changing needs of the business and/or industry.

Closing Thoughts

What will the workplace of tomorrow look like? For human workers, it will be markedly different and require new skills and greater adaptability. For the enterprise, it will be a composite of real and artificial intelligence — humans and machines — working together toward a common goal of innovation and success.

Dare to take risks despite your fear. Organizations and their employees who approach these challenges with eagerness and optimism, a willingness to adapt and evolve, and the ability to strike the ideal balance between humans and machines will ultimately be the ones who rise to the top.

Building Intelligent Automation Into Your Organizational Culture

In order for intelligent automation to be truly successful and produce sustainable results, it can’t be a one-off project that is exclusive to the IT department. It has to be woven into the very culture of the organization and fully embraced across the entire company. But changing corporate culture is much easier said than done. How can you incorporate automation so that it becomes an integral part of the everyday work environment? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Get buy-in from top leadership. Cultural changes typically start at the top and trickle downward, so make sure that everyone in a leadership role within your organization understands the benefits of intelligent automation and why it’s so critical that it become a part of the underlying atmosphere of the company as a whole. Once they’re on board, it’s time to start leading by example.

Sell the benefits. If you want your company culture to embrace automation, you have to make everyone in every position aware of how it will benefit them directly. In other words, show what’s in it for them. Otherwise, you will lack the support needed to make the final shift. Remember, intelligent automation isn’t just about those running your help desk. Things like self-service automation also provide enhanced flexibility, autonomy and empowerment to the end-user. Get the message out.

Identify and address obstacles. Change management is challenging, especially when it involves the evolution of an entire corporate culture, but it’s not impossible. You just have to understand what’s standing in the way so you can overcome those obstacles. For instance, if your employees are scared that intelligent automation will make them obsolete, they will resist. You have to address and quell that fear head on by showing them the opportunities it will bring for new roles, such as Automation Engineer, and the ability to do more with less.

Incentivize and reward. Culture change happens much more smoothly and effectively when it’s not shoved down the throats of your employees. Instead of simply telling them and expecting them to adapt, make them a part of your company’s evolution. Not only will this help them better understand the reasons behind the change, but the buy-in will create a much stronger foundation for the shift across the board.

Keep it fluid. The beauty of intelligent automation, and technology as a whole, is that it’s constantly changing and improving. A corporate culture is much the same in that it should be something that can be molded and enhanced as needed. Keep an open mind and make modifications where necessary. As long as you’ve got a solid foundation to work with, the only direction you can go is up.

Have you been successful in weaving intelligent automation into your organizational culture? Please share your insight, advice and tips in the comment section below. And don’t forget to launch your free product demo of our Next Generation Automation & Orchestration platform, powered by AI. It’s something you must experience for yourself!

4 Steps for Selling Intelligent Process Automation to the Masses

Seasoned leaders know that, when beginning any significant project, there are two different paths that can be taken. Path number one offers the shortest route from point A to point B. This is to simply force-feed the project to everyone, essential saying, “We’re doing this and that’s that.” The second path, on the other, may be a little less direct and take a lot longer. On this journey, time is taken to explain the strategy and the reasoning behind it. In other words, saying, “Here’s what we’re doing and why.”

Which of these paths do you think will yield better results? If you chose the second path, chances are you’ve experienced both options before and know firsthand that getting people onboard with change is almost always the wiser choice. Few industries are as familiar with the correlation between major change and feelings of fear, skepticism, resistance and other challenges as leaders in the IT realm. Implementing intelligent process automation is no different.

What’s the best way to overcome the many uncertainties and misconceptions that could delay or derail your automation project? Let’s take a look.

Appeal to their self-interest.

Most people won’t get fully behind a project unless and until they know how it will directly impact their lives – essentially, they want to know what’s in it for them. Self-preservation is human nature. Appealing to this natural instinct can help make your argument much more persuasive. Instead of simply announcing that you will be introducing intelligent process automation into the mix, show them how that change will benefit them.

Will automating a particular workflow finally put an end to those middle-of-the-night phone calls? Will it allow some employees to eliminate low-skill, manual tasks from their workload, freeing them up to focus on more strategic and meaningful work? Will learning how to work alongside artificial intelligence enable ambitious team members to develop new marketable skills that they can use to further their career?

Figure out what’s in it for each of the individuals or teams you are presenting to, as well as how intelligent automation will ultimate benefit customers and the company as a whole, and then communicate that to the masses. Paint a picture of what’s currently causing issues and then demonstrate how automation can help. By the way – the same concept applies when making the case outside of the IT department, to non-technical stakeholders, for example. Just go easy on the jargon.

Connect your proposal to specific business goals.

A big part of making a strong and support-worthy case for anything, really, involves getting people to understand that you’re not simply chasing trends. In other words, you’re not just automating for the sake of automating. If people sense that’s the case, they’re going to lose confidence and likely provide even greater resistance – especially those who are directly impacted, such as the IT team.

The case for intelligent process automation must be driven by a specific business demand, whether it’s reducing expenses, improving service levels, gaining competitive advantage, etc. Unless it’s a core competency of the organization, no automation endeavor should be a means unto itself.

If you want people to back your plan, you need to align it with specific business goals and then clearly and accurately convey those connections. Lay out these goals and explain, step-by-step, how automation will help the company achieve those goals.

Break down your plan into manageable milestones.

One major reason why many automation projects fail is because they are simply overwhelming undertakings. Even if your goal is to automate everything (or close enough), attempting to do so in one fell swoop is simply not realistic nor is it a sustainable strategy.

You’ll make a much stronger, longer-lasting argument when you develop a plan that breaks down your project into smaller, more manageable increments. This also allows for more flexibility to be able to adapt and iterate as needed along the way. At Ayehu, we almost always recommend starting with tasks and workflows that offer the quickest and most measurable wins. This will enable you to continuously prove value and gain ongoing support as you begin to proliferate automation further throughout the organization.

Identify smaller areas where automation will have the biggest immediate effect and then work your way outward from there. Remember, as they say, the proof is ultimately in the pudding. Once you’ve got those smaller wins under your belt, you’ll be in a much better position to sell the big-picture benefits as well.

Sing your own praises.

Well, not necessarily your praises, but those of your automation project. If you’ve followed the steps above, you should begin to generate ROI relatively quickly. It’s in your best interest to promote those positive results early and often. There is no case more convincing than one that features real-world, definitive and measurable results.

This step is especially important for instances where skepticism still abounds. People can resist change and choose to doubt anticipated benefits of intelligence process automation all they want, but this becomes markedly more difficult when they can see and experience those benefits firsthand.

Not only will continuously promoting positive results quiet the critics, but it will also lay the groundwork for automating even more tasks and workflows in the future, which will ultimately lead to becoming a self-driving organization.

Get started on your journey to successful adoption of intelligent process automation today by downloading your free 30-day trial of Ayehu NG.

Want to Innovate? Automate.

The key to innovation lies in the ability to quickly identify and resolve frictions. Easier said than done? Not necessarily – provided you have the right tools in your corner. That’s where the power of AI, machine learning and intelligent automation come into play. By leveraging these technologies, organizations will be better prepared to pinpoint roadblocks and pivot accordingly to unlock new opportunities.  The Process In order to identify issues in workflows, there needs to be a process put in place, and that process must involve mapping out the complete journey of that workflow from start to finish. Hidden within this flow of events is where you’ll find those gaps and imperfections. And chances are, the more detailed the workflow, the greater the number of frictions you will encounter. That being said, the more frictions you find, the greater the opportunities to innovate by solving those issues and streamlining those workflows. Upping the Ante The whole process of laying out a workflow and identifying problems is nothing new. In fact, it’s been employed by top organizations around the world for eons. The problem is, because this process has historically relied on human effort, it’s naturally prone to errors and oversights. Here’s where technology has become a real game-changer.  Not only does AI and automation dramatically speed up the process of monitoring workflows and identifying issues, thereby streamlining processes, but because it’s capable of providing users with improved access to knowledge, it’s empowering users to self-serve. The result is a powerful synergy between human and machine which is enabling enterprises to truly up the ante in virtually every area of operation. Automation = Innovation Thanks to rapid advances, not only are we able to use automation technology to explore and identify frictions, but artificial intelligence and machine learning can also present new and expanding solutions to those issues. This capability is becoming one of the most powerful tools for decision-makers, who no longer have to rely on fallible human suggestions, but can instead choose from recommendations derived from real, quantifiable data.   In fact, unlike human analysts, AI is capable of sifting through mountains upon mountains of raw data and then convert that data into invaluable insights and actions. With intelligent automation, we are able to gain a new understanding of what’s happening in both the physical as well as the digital arena, as well as the context in which these things are occurring. With these insights, we can then take action, whether it be by informing, alerting or closing the loop. If, in the past, we considered the question, “How can we solve problem A for person B,” intelligent automation changes the game by asking, “How can we automate this process and make it more intelligent?” As such, the solutions we’ll develop will ultimately take us beyond the human user to learn what’s standing in our way, predict and plan next steps and incorporate automated actions whenever and wherever it makes sense. By leveraging the power of intelligent automation, we are essentially shifting responsibilities from human to machine.  Putting Ideas into Action It’s easy to write about how AI and intelligent automation has become a game-changer in terms of innovation, but how can organizations actually put this into action? There are two critical questions to ask: •	Given your available data and existing assets, which behaviors, activities, processes or environments could be made more intelligent through automation? •	What, if any, gaps exist within those physical assets and data? Which devices, tools, applications and analytics capabilities could be added into the mix to capture data more effectively and further the goal of automating? When you incorporate intelligence and automation into your processes and operations, you’ll be able to expand your portfolio of ideas and identify newer and better opportunities as a result. And that’s where true innovation can be found.  Ready to get started? Download your free 30-day trial of Ayehu and put the power of AI and intelligent automation to work for you.

The key to innovation lies in the ability to quickly identify and resolve frictions. Easier said than done? Not necessarily – provided you have the right tools in your corner. That’s where the power of AI, machine learning and intelligent automation come into play. By leveraging these technologies, organizations will be better prepared to pinpoint roadblocks and pivot accordingly to unlock new opportunities.

The Process

In order to identify issues in workflows, there needs to be a process put in place, and that process must involve mapping out the complete journey of that workflow from start to finish. Hidden within this flow of events is where you’ll find those gaps and imperfections. And chances are, the more detailed the workflow, the greater the number of frictions you will encounter. That being said, the more frictions you find, the greater the opportunities to innovate by solving those issues and streamlining those workflows.

Upping the Ante

The whole process of laying out a workflow and identifying problems is nothing new. In fact, it’s been employed by top organizations around the world for eons. The problem is, because this process has historically relied on human effort, it’s naturally prone to errors and oversights. Here’s where technology has become a real game-changer.

Not only does AI and automation dramatically speed up the process of monitoring workflows and identifying issues, thereby streamlining processes, but because it’s capable of providing users with improved access to knowledge, it’s empowering users to self-serve. The result is a powerful synergy between human and machine which is enabling enterprises to truly up the ante in virtually every area of operation.

Automation = Innovation

Thanks to rapid advances, not only are we able to use automation technology to explore and identify frictions, but artificial intelligence and machine learning can also present new and expanding solutions to those issues. This capability is becoming one of the most powerful tools for decision-makers, who no longer have to rely on fallible human suggestions, but can instead choose from recommendations derived from real, quantifiable data.  

In fact, unlike human analysts, AI is capable of sifting through mountains upon mountains of raw data and then convert that data into invaluable insights and actions. With intelligent automation, we are able to gain a new understanding of what’s happening in both the physical as well as the digital arena, as well as the context in which these things are occurring. With these insights, we can then take action, whether it be by informing, alerting or closing the loop.

If, in the past, we considered the question, “How can we solve problem A for person B,” intelligent automation changes the game by asking, “How can we automate this process and make it more intelligent?” As such, the solutions we’ll develop will ultimately take us beyond the human user to learn what’s standing in our way, predict and plan next steps and incorporate automated actions whenever and wherever it makes sense. By leveraging the power of intelligent automation, we are essentially shifting responsibilities from human to machine.

Putting Ideas into Action

It’s easy to write about how AI and intelligent automation has become a game-changer in terms of innovation, but how can organizations actually put this into action? There are two critical questions to ask:

  • Given your available data and existing assets, which behaviors, activities, processes or environments could be made more intelligent through automation?
  • What, if any, gaps exist within those physical assets and data? Which devices, tools, applications and analytics capabilities could be added into the mix to capture data more effectively and further the goal of automating?

When you incorporate intelligence and automation into your processes and operations, you’ll be able to expand your portfolio of ideas and identify newer and better opportunities as a result. And that’s where true innovation can be found.

Ready to get started? Download your free 30-day trial of Ayehu and put the power of AI and intelligent automation to work for you.