The key to being a digital business is seeing the ‘big picture’

Technology is all around us. Whether you’re ordering lunch at a coffee shop, doing some weekend shopping or at work monitoring business performance, everything happens with the aid of technology. The café till and the complex network that supports a bank must work together seamlessly to deliver the service required for speedy orders and accurate payment processing from credit cards or smart phones.

Customers constantly expect more from the companies they are engaging with. The challenge for any organisation is to grow quickly while keeping costs down as demand inflates. That’s why all businesses have focused in on IT for 2015. According to Gartner, global IT spending will grow 2.4% to $3.8 trillion this year on purchases of devices, enterprise software, data centre management and IT services.

Time to focus

With an abundance of technologies on the market tailored for business, it is vital to stay focused on what organisations need to achieve. Most savvy companies will invest in the infrastructure, software and services that help them give their customers what they need, when they need it.

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Unfortunately, most organisations apply these technological solutions within silos of business processes or segmented departments. In-between these individually automated tasks, companies often rely on people to carry out many manual tasks—verifying results, checking reports and examining data on screens.

It’s risky to rely on manual management across diverse steps in complex processes such as order-to-cash, procure-to-pay, or supply chain management, especially when doing so can disrupt services and increase operational costs for businesses. Latency and human error can cause problems even in companies that appear, on the surface, to be completely ‘automated.’

The view from the top

One of the best ways to provide a more reliable service without the risk of human error is to take a long look at your entire organisation and see the bigger picture. Take a thorough look and ask ‘Where are the gaps between silos, steps and technologies?’ Once identified it is easy to bridge these gaps and streamline processes.

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Process automation gives organisations a clearer path to coordinate complex tasks and enhance visibility across every application, department and system. With a reduced risk of errors and increased efficiency, automation delivers the quality, consistency and accuracy needed to build the foundations of a successful business. Not only does this adoption provide a central point of control, it gets rid of the need to manage multiple tools or processes in separation.

By way of example, one of North America’s largest utility companies recently looked to achieve greater efficiencies. The company brought its outsourced billing processes back in-house by automating its key meter-to-cash processes. The process involved more than 65 internal and external interfaces. On day one, the company sent out 50,000 accurate bills in less time and with less effort than ever before. The company hasn’t missed a single billing deadline since.

Another large, multinational manufacturer uses process automation to coordinate activities across diverse applications that include more than 30 critical systems. It now manages 250,000 workflows and cross-system processes with streamlined process automation technologies. Each step in the supply chain is accurate and coordinated—from a single, central location.

There’s no question that you can meet and exceed changing customer and market demands using the correct technology, but real success also depends on taking a closer look at how your business runs now. Some of the most significant company results come from coordinating and automating across apparently disparate activities—from inventory to manufacturing and sales—so that they work together in a smooth and consistent way without the need of so much manual intervention. It’s the big picture that leading organisations are using to redefine markets and raise the bar on competition.

Neil Kinson, vice president EMEA, Redwood Software

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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