View source: Chris Huff

No matter what industry you’re in, a constant business goal is to remain a step ahead of the competition. But what does that really mean? How can business owners quantify that in a meaningful way? The answer to those questions may evolve over time, but today’s savvy business owners are working like tomorrow using intelligent automation, a concept that involves executing a wide variety of tasks and processes quickly and efficiently.

Automating complex business problems with machine learning leads to a number of benefits, the most obvious being saving time and reducing the risk of human error. And these lead to a wider set of benefits including improved team morale thanks to the ability to focus on more challenging and rewarding work, and reduced risk where compliance issues are concerned.

Positioning for growth

All of this combines to make businesses more competitive, more profitable and positioned for growth. According to the “2019 Kofax Intelligent Automation Benchmark Study,” a survey of more than 300 high-level executives, employee satisfaction consistently improved after certain job tasks were automated; 92% of survey respondents indicated improvements in employee satisfaction; and more than half, 52%, indicated employee satisfaction increased by 15% or more.

While at first employees might have been apprehensive thinking that new technology could “take my job,” subsequently, employees found that automation was not meant to replace them but to serve them by performing tedious, time-consuming tasks.  Now, employee time can be used to focus on more critical business challenges.

All of this combines to make businesses more competitive, more profitable, and positioned for growth. Think of it as “working like tomorrow,” because in the future, this type of technology will help businesses of all types and sizes.

Businesses that commit to this philosophy share a number of traits, including:

They embrace cutting-edge technology. In previous years this may have meant the latest hardware, newest operating systems, or the most current software. Today, it means AI, robotics, mobile technologies and other forms of intelligent automation used to continually improve operations. New technologies are key to establishing and sustaining a competitive advantage, and it never stops. And as it all continues to evolve, organizations should evolve as well. That’s part of the beauty of today’s automated capabilities—they can be customized to meet the individual needs of an organization, which helps them stay a step ahead of the competition.

To them, efficiency is paramount. These businesses utilize streamlined processes by building greater visibility and control into their operations, reducing tedious manual labor and the potential for error. This lowers operational costs, improves cycle times and enhances regulatory compliance. In one sense, it comes back to the old adage “time is money.” The less time it takes you to complete a relatively mundane task, the more time you have to focus on others, which boosts productivity across the board. When it comes to regulatory compliance issues, the ability to automate operations quickly allows organizations to lean on their most talented team members if and when a human element is required.

They augment their (human and digital) workforce. They seamlessly blend knowledge workers and cognitive automation—human workers and their digital robotic counterparts—to create agile workforces capable of reaching new levels of performance and customer satisfaction. Those who aren’t familiar with intelligent automation might be tempted to follow the old-world line of thinking, which says that robots and automation will take jobs away from humans. But in most cases, the opposite is true. Automation may take repetitive data entry jobs out of the hands for humans, but that frees them up to handle things that require more critical thinking. In the process, morale builds across teams and contributes to a workplace that helps attract and retain top talent.

They’re committed to best-in-class service. They create customer experiences that are simple and satisfying, resulting in a significant competitive advantage. They build relationships with customers by making the onboarding process simple and intuitive, then minimize customer churn with services that constantly improve and make their lives easier. At the end of the day, an outstanding customer experience is one of the strongest advantages an organization can have, so creating services that are easy to use, nimble and, most importantly, deliver tangible results gives organizations a leg up. And the capabilities of intelligent automation make those aspirations a reality.

Diversity and innovation permeates across the organization. Businesses built for tomorrow embrace both diversity and innovation, especially when it comes to operations and partner relationships that improve profitability. This mindset contributes to higher enterprise value, ultimately increasing the quality and accuracy of business output while simultaneously driving down costs. When measured and approached intelligently, new ideas and new ways of thinking help businesses thrive, leaving those with antiquated systems behind.

Forward-thinking mindset

“Working like tomorrow” can be a somewhat abstract concept—after all, every passing day means there is a new tomorrow. It’s really about creating a forward-thinking mindset within your organization so you remain agile and ready for change when necessary. And in today’s business world, utilizing intelligent automation and the capabilities it brings with it is one of the best ways to do so.