Intelligent Automation: The Foundation of Digital Dexterity

Intelligent Automation: The Foundation of Digital Dexterity
October 16, 2019 | By Bryant Bell

One-click ordering. Two-hour delivery. Spur-of-the-moment video calls. Pay friends by mobile phone. Technology has transformed these everyday tasks, freeing consumers from annoying and repetitive activities, like entering credit card information into a retail website order form. By reducing friction and simplifying daily transactions, our hyper-connected world is allowing us to spend our newly acquired free time in more meaningful pursuits.

But now that we’ve experienced the benefits of automation in our personal lives, we want our work lives equally automated. The consumerization of the workplace has been underway for more than a decade, since the launch of the smartphone.

Yet, unlike consumers, organizations are behind in developing their “digital dexterity,” which Gartner describes as “a business strategy designed to encourage workforce agility and engagement by promoting employee autonomy and building a more consumerized work environment.”

As consumer expectations for a frictionless experience edge higher, organizations will need to elevate customer experience to keep pace. Senior executives know that to remain competitive, they need to automate their business operations end-to-end.

And yet, they also know that a great deal of friction still exists across their enterprises. Many operations are mired in paper and the manual entry of key information still occurs in far too many processes. Research shows that 60% of executives say they want full automation, but only 38% percent have achieved it.

Intelligent Automation Drives Digital Dexterity

From a technology and operational standpoint, digital dexterity occurs when organizations streamline and automate the manual process touchpoints that naturally occur between people, processes and systems of record. When this happens, friction and fragmentation give way to the “hyper-connected” enterprise. Thus, in order to become digitally dexterous, organizations must put the right technology in place.

While many organizations have implemented automation both on the front line and in the back office, they’ve done so in pieces or through disparate projects. However, if they haven’t integrated these technologies, they inevitably will find themselves banging on the digital ceiling.

In a non-integrated technology environment, the gaps between operations create drag. For example, an organization automates its credit application process and parts of the loan approval process. But if it fails to automate identity verification, consumers still have to provide documentation manually. This gap slows down the process. By contrast, when capabilities such as cognitive capture and process orchestration are integrated on a single intelligent automation platform, friction dissipates.

Digital Dexterity Increases Organizational Efficiency

Consider what happened when AMN Healthcare automated the management of timecards. Intelligent automation closed the gap between submission of timecards and data processing by enabling nurses to use a mobile app to upload photographs of their timecards. Submitted timecards are automatically routed and processed, enabling the company to cut the number of manhours required to complete this task from 8,000 to just 2,600.

In another example, after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid had to find a way to enroll uninsured citizens on federal exchanges. But that meant managing millions of paper-based health insurance applications and supporting documents (as well as eligibility appeals, correspondence and redeterminations). These documents had to be scanned and captured, reviewed, verified and distributed for processing to determine eligibility.

Using intelligent automation, the Federal Health Insurance Exchange established a much more efficient and streamlined case management process in which all applications and supporting documentation are automatically scanned, classified and indexed on arrival. This enables operators to maintain visibility and control throughout the entire onboarding process. With the ability to monitor the status of all applications and their supporting documentation, the agency can enroll constituents more quickly and allows faster access to healthcare coverage, all while saving time, increasing accuracy and reducing labor expenses.

Further, companies that are digitally dexterous are empowered to use their human resources more strategically. A major European insurance company used intelligent automation to reduce the time its claims team spent processing medical investigation reports. The company was able to cut report processing times by 80 percent. But even more importantly, with intelligent automation, the staff had more time to focus on higher value tasks.

“We’ve redeployed 15 employees from our claims processing department to other areas of the business that require more creative or strategic work, which represents a major efficiency saving for us,” a spokesperson for the insurance company said.

Digital dexterity also impacts the customer experience. By using an innovative mobile app for onboarding customers, one South African bank is disrupting the market. The app, built with intelligent automation, allows customers to apply for an account on the go – without having to visit a branch. In simplifying the process, the bank has increased new account openings by 50 percent, growing market share and boosting financial inclusion.

Transforming your business into a “hyper-connected” enterprise begins with embracing not just the tenets of digital dexterity, but also the right technology tools. To work like the digitally enabled company of tomorrow, businesses will first need to reduce friction and streamline operations using intelligent automation.

If you’re attending the Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo in Orlando, Gold Coast, Barcelona or Tokyo, you can learn more about increasing your digital dexterity with Intelligent Automation by attending our sessions led by Kofax Chief Strategy Officer Chris Huff and customer speakers.

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