8 Ways Automation Helps Organizations Keep Employees and Systems Safe

8 ways automation helps keep employees and systems safe
April 14, 2020 | By John Stinchcombe

Faced with the unprecedented global pandemic, many organizations now confront the stark realties of keeping the lights on and continuing to operate in extremely challenging circumstances. Many are enabling their employees to work remotely to help keep them safe, but this entails granting access to corporate systems and data via home networks, which is inherently risky.

Automation can help organizations bridge productivity and safety gaps when operating with a reduced workforce and/or one in which a high number of employees have transitioned to working from home.

Here are eight ways automation can help organizations successfully and safely maintain productivity and security during this time of increased remote work:

  1. Deploy a cloud system that permits suppliers to submit AP invoices as attachments to email. It’s important to note that this service can be introduced in phases (i.e., invoices for one business unit at a time or invoices from specific vendors).
  2. Provide a means of automating the extraction of invoice data and the matching of that data against vendor master and purchase order information held in ERP and finance systems. Identifying key information from invoices (even to perform a match) is time-consuming and potentially subject to errors. This is one application where automation has a long track record of success and again, can be delivered in phases.
  3. Allow your approvers to sanction payment via an app or from a browser with an audit trail; full access to the invoice is provided, and as this can be achieved in seconds, approval delays can be a thing of the past.
  4. Implement three-way matching. When colleagues are thin on the ground, it’s beneficial to deploy systems that automatically provide the necessary checks and balances to ensure invoices match with the vendor master file and the purchase orders and that the goods or services have been accepted by the business.
  5. Provide a system to assign the applicable cost center to line items. This should be accessible from a web interface and not require unnecessary access to the full ERP or AP system.
  6. Deploy robots or digital assistants to fetch only the required data items to complete a task or to make updates to line of business systems—without remote users needing access to those applications. This is a classic “start-small and grow” opportunity. Intelligent automation and RPA can be implemented one robot at a time to automate small series of tasks and then extended as the scope of the automation project widens.
  7. Implement intelligent automation to review inbound emails, triage them and tag them into CRM or workflow systems so that remote users can deal with them efficiently. This is a proven approach to improving worker productivity by 3X – 5X for this activity.
  8. Adopt an “agile” approach for intelligent automation/RPA projects. Software robots can be developed rapidly to address specific process bottlenecks. Server-based development and deployment of RPA robots not only speeds development, but also deployment and management of the solution.
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    Discover more automation use cases to help your organization navigate these challenging times.

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