Viewing archives for automation

Bitcoin, Blockchain – the Next Big Thing?

Blockchain is yet another new tech that promises to change the business world and, not surprisingly, it’s easy to be cynical about this. But we have to admit that the business world has, many times, been changed by new tech that was initially dismissed by cynics!

So what is Bitcoin? What is Blockchain and why is it important to business? Watch our short video to understand the reality, the potential and the barriers.

Or read this briefing to see how you can position your business to take advantage?

Freeman Clarke is the UK’s largest and most experienced team of part-time (we call it “fractional”) IT leaders. We work exclusively with ambitious organisations and we frequently help our clients use technology to beat their competition. Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation. 

 

Software Robots, Revolutionary New Tech Automating Admin Tasks?

Look around an office and you will see plenty of people whose main work is dealing with systems and information. Data, requests and instructions comes in from emails and other sources, and go out similar ways. People handle information, organise it, fix it, share it, and ensure that different systems are up to date so that the right things happen. Whether this is product information, contracts, claims, pricing, or just tracking holidays, new employees… a modern office is full of this kind of activity.

Software Robots(RPA) is technology that can replace these systems-based tasks, so it promises to automate much of the ordinary work that many office workers do for a living. Forrester (a well-respected technology research company) estimate that, by 2021, there will be over 4,000,000 robots doing office and administrative and sales related tasks!

This CEO’s briefing explains:

What is RPA?

Is RPA really new?

Is RPA part of the AI revolution?

Where is RPA really working? What are the benefits?

How effective is RPA really?

Over the coming weeks we are creating a series of content pieces about RPA’s. All of which can be found on our Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Knowledge Centre.

Freeman Clarke is the UK’s largest and most experienced team of part-time (we call it “fractional”) IT leaders. We work exclusively with ambitious organisations and we frequently help our clients use IT to beat their competition. Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

Introduction to Office Automation Using Software Robots

Look around an office and you will see plenty of people whose main work is dealing with systems and information. Data, requests and instructions comes in from emails and other sources, and go out similar ways. People handle information, organise it, fix it, share it, and ensure that different systems are up to date so that the right things happen.

In this short video we discuss how this data handling can be replaced by office automation using software robots. A number of our clients are using this technology – and although there can be challenges the benefits and efficiencies far outweigh these.

This is a hot topic right now so you might find the following interview (and audio) worth a read/listen too.

Over the coming weeks we are creating a series of content pieces about RPA’s. All of which can be found on our Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Knowledge Centre.

Freeman Clarke is the UK’s largest and most experienced team of part-time (we call it “fractional”) IT leaders. We work exclusively with ambitious organisations and we frequently help our clients use IT to beat their competition. Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

Using Software Robots to Eliminate Admin – Really?

The consultancy, McKinsey, claim that 60% of jobs could have 30% or more of their constituent activities automated. Forrester (a well-respected technology research company) estimate that, by 2021, there will be over 4,000,000 robots doing office and administrative and sales related tasks. That’s just 3 years away!

Tech companies are promising revolutionary reductions in administration costs using software robots built from products like Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism and UiPath.

It’s often called Robotic Process Automation (RPA) or Intelligent Automation (IA). The techies are going mad for this shiny new thing!

But what’s really going on? I interviewed one of our Regional Directors, Andrew Hart, to hear more about the reality and what we’re actually doing with mid-market businesses.

You can read a summary below or listen to the conversation here.

Graeme Freeman: What are software robots and what do they really do?

Andrew Hart: We’re doing a lot of work with our clients using software robots to take over repetitive system tasks previously done by admin staff.

It’s potentially a game-changer. The idea is to use tools to eliminate the kinds of jobs that people in offices do all the time…. pull data from documents, emails and systems; get things from the web; update other systems and documents; read and send emails. That kind of thing.

Graeme Freeman: This sounds very impressive. Is this all about cost-saving?

Andrew Hart: Well, actually, this normally starts with the idea of saving costs but generally the objectives change. Many of the people bogged down with repetitive tasks are experts in the business, systems and data – if they have more time available then they can make a real difference to enabling growth.

Graeme Freeman: So if it’s not really about cost-saving, what are the hard benefits?

Andrew Hart: Well, it is about cost-saving. But it’s not only about cost saving.

Fundamentally, using software robots allows clients to simplify and standardise their business and to free up their experts.

Lots of companies are really complicated, especially if they’ve grown through acquisition or if their customers or suppliers impose annoying processes and systems on them. Software robots can allow companies to automate a lot of this.

Also, for our clients who are in highly regulated sectors these tools are very useful from a compliance point of view – reduction in errors, imposing controls and processes.

And a company with more software robots is well placed for growth. Directors know they can scale up far more simply and easily.

Graeme Freeman: Well that sounds great. What are the pitfalls?

Andrew Hart: There are plenty of pitfalls! Most importantly, our experience is that these projects are complicated and difficult to plan. IT experts and business experts need to be heavily involved and committed (rather than fighting to protect their jobs). So the entire project needs to be well supported, well communicated and part of a strategy.

The project should be driven on an incremental 80/20 approach all the time. Some ideas will work well, some not so well. It’s a gradual process of improvement rather than a quick win.

And once you have a large number of tasks automated then there will be frequent issues and you need people on hand to address them at affordable cost.

Graeme Freeman: So this is sounding like a mixed picture? What’s our conclusion?

Andrew Hart: Yes, the picture is mixed and (of course) the upsides are not as simple and clear as product vendors would claim!

Software robots are a way to transform businesses, but that’s never going to be easy. We would advocate this kind of project in particular circumstances and not in others. It’s not suitable for everyone.

It is vital to have inhouse expertise in the tools or to have a good relationship with a provider who can help at a reasonable day-rate. So, yes, the mundane tasks can be shrunk, but they are replaced by a new technical maintenance task. This task is smaller, smarter and more value-adding – but, make no mistake, this is a complicated technology that needs maintaining (by well-paid humans!).

We also filmed a short video that talks about the types of roles that software robots are replacing. This then frees up people to execute other roles. To watch the video follow this link.

Over the coming weeks we are creating a series of content pieces about RPA’s. All of which can be found on our Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Knowledge Centre.

Freeman Clarke is the UK’s largest and most experienced team of part-time (we call it “fractional”) IT leaders. We work exclusively with ambitious organisations and we frequently help our clients use IT to beat their competition. Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

Board Action Plan: 10 Steps to Digital Transformation

Ambitious business owners will always look for ways to improve the way their organisation functions. Digital transformation is just one way. It enables a business to function more efficiently and in the long term with greater cost savings. But to see any of these transformations occur there is a requirement for a solid IT strategy that fits in with the overall business strategy and an experienced technical leader to help you get there.

This is our final piece in the DT series and is the Board action plan that will help you get started on your own journey. It covers ideas around automation and artificial intelligence, risk analysis, data visualisation and much more which are all achievable if you’ve got a vision and the right people to get you there.

So what exactly is Digital Transformation?

For our clients, Digital Transformation simply means using IT to deliver dramatic improvement. That’s different to just an upgrade or fixing some niggling problems. It means: using IT to make a significant change for the better.

That may just mean simple IT done well – that’s surprisingly rare! Or it may mean genuine technology innovation, something that is breaking new (or new’ish) ground.

We simplify this issue by defining 4 different kinds of transformation:

1. Market break-through
2. Wow customers
3. Internal redesign
4. Tame the risks

For an explanation about the 4 types, read our original post.

Visit our Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic

Freeman Clarke is the UK’s largest and most experienced team of part-time (we call it “fractional”) IT leaders. We work exclusively with ambitious organisations and we frequently help our clients use IT to beat their competition. Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

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Graeme Freeman
Co-Founder and Director

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Thank you.

You’ll now receive regular expert business insights.

Call us on 0203 020 1864 with any questions.