Business process automation now becomes the new norm at the workplace to cope with a fast-paced economy and growing challenges for modern business. While a few organizations may very well consider automating their IT tasks, RPA likewise means to help them rehashing the way they work together, uplifting their consumer loyalty and fortifying employee work values. The necessity of bringing automation has given a boost to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions. But AI (Artificial Intelligence) comes into the center stage as entrepreneurs craving more assistance from robotic process automation. Near future, it would be hard to imagine the RPA solution without AI integration.  

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According to Forester’s 2019 predictions, the combination of RPA and AI is becoming the new strategic

investment in the corporate world. AI and RPA are emerging automation technologies with enormous potential. The combination helps businesses in achieving tremendous growth in such a competitive market. 

You may curious why a business should combine these two technologies? 

The reason is simple- RPA has no capability of cognitive awareness, and AI brings it in the customized solution. This combination of AI and RPA adds up to intelligent process automation (IPA). In interest to machine learning algorithms and RPA, IPA also incorporates process management software, natural language processing, creation, and cognitive agents, or “bots.” According to McKinsey, IPA can – 

Make an improvement in ROI in triple-digit percentage. TMR (Transparency Market Research) has predicted RPA will be prevalent in the corporate world that its market to reach up to $16 billion by 2024. On the other hand, AI focused on imparting intelligence in the machines and connected devices through speech recognition, decision making, and predictive analysis. 

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As AI is gaining ground swiftly across the world, it can be integrated with other emerging technologies like IoT and Blockchain to realize the futuristic concepts of smart cities and secure transactions sequentially. McKinsey foresees AI to deliver around $3.5 to $5.8 trillion in value to the world per annum.  

How AI enhances RPA services 

AI and RPA combination enables modern enterprises to leverage the benefits of both these technologies in accomplishing incomparable tasks with higher efficiency. It is like something beyond the range of a customized RPA solution because it develops to perform the same and repetitive type of work.  

At the point of a substantial change is anything but a reasonable alternative for companies, RPA can go about as a facilitator to enable organizations to grow and include value. It also permits them to appear with strategic frameworks around investment they’ve efficiently made into their custom frameworks. The assimilation into AI is the following stage of this granular, more responsive type of change, with more business exercises either completely or partially automated by progressively refined means. It is known as cognitive RPA or CRPA.  

RPA alone imitates human action through different AI capabilities, machine vision, speech recognition, and pattern identification capacities and can deal with organized, semi-organized, and unstructured data. However, infused with machine learning gives robots a chance to figure out how to process and enhance tasks that ensure probabilistic conduct.  

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AI integrated Robotic Process Automation solutions bring the capability of gathering and sharing valuable information with different systems for better decisions. Customized RPA solution can utilize data fetched by AI and performs the complex task with ease. Adding up, AI, commonly with cognitive technologies and ML (Machine Learning), enables robotic process automation by preceding a human response in the workflow. 

The humble bot 

Organizations aren’t looking for just a bot. They have been looking for a platform with orchestration and integration where, they could readily adopt modern technologies and combine them with intelligence. Now, most organizations are strategizing to automate most of the steps of a business process and then applying a different level of intelligence. Hence, when picking vendors for their bots, the enterprises keep their eye towards that future.  

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Just like, Germany’s ZF Group, an automotive supplier has started applying intelligence to its business processes just over a year ago and created a bot to answer the most repetitive questions. According to the company’s IT manager around their corporate communication, they have a lot of repetitive work. Furthermore, they receive a lot of emails with repetitive questions coming into their inboxes. Automated integrations and orchestration were their first goal, and they also wanted a platform with built-in checks and balances. Finally, they choose a bot platform that offers a management, governance, and language support layer underneath the bots, called stateful network for AI process (SNAP), which will stop a bot if it demonstrates anomalous behavior.  

Real-time Decision support system  

Decision points are another way to add intelligent decision points into a traditionally automated business process. Nevertheless, cognitive technologies and machine learning direct out to be even more severe. In general, when AI technologies are integrated with RPA stages will automate the emotional and judgment-based process. 

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Just like American Fidelity Assurance, an insurance policy provider turned to UiPath, an enterprise RPA vendor, and AI platform Data Robot, to add intelligence to its processes. A system that can manage and execute real-time decisions through AI is the best option for automating complex decision processes. Applying high-level analytics and machine learning those systems to become intelligent and continually adjust and discover from new, contextual data. They set up a real-time decision-making system in form of RPA that helps to transfer highly complex problems in real-time applying AI-based analytical decision-making. 

For investment firms, real-time decision-making can analyze thousands of business inputs, constraints, and options and arbitrate between multiple internal targets and trading decisions. It can apply an analytical constraint-based optimization approach to models across thousands of possible actions – whether it be specific content, an offer, a price, a sort order, or a recommendation – and determine the best outcomes for the organization. sometimes it qualifies those choices upon certain criteria from profitability, risk, or revenue perspective.

Sometimes, the traditional approaches to RPA may hit a decision point that is too complex for simple automation. Considering the facts, organizations are also looking at using AI for process mining to automate process discovery rather than have business analysts figure out what happens in the company.  

Process mining  

RPA-Robotic Process Automation is transforming the system many organizations function. Process Mining enables companies to holistically experience their methods and recognize process advancement possibilities to boost efficiency and overcome costs. Its 360° view of processes enables hyper-automation—standardizing and accelerating enterprise automation using technologies, such as machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI).  

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The conventional way to business process management involves business analysts talking to managers and employees, carrying audits, then creating charts that illustrate the organization’s various business processes. 

Sumeet Vij, director of the strategic innovation group at Booz Allen Hamilton, has mentioned how clients are presenting process workflow automation and how things happen, bottlenecks are different. When it comes to process mining, machine learning helps people experience a picture of how things are actually happening. New tools will update the processes and spot anomalous behavior in real-time with the evolvement of business.  

 Sometimes, a business process may be viewed as charts, such as Visio diagrams, and managers can drill down into the process, down to the level of individual transactions.  

Business process analytics  

Some organizations have sufficient business process data that they can instantly view the overall picture of what’s happening and make analyses and forecasts. Organizations are taking the exhaust from the RPA process and trying to capture that, learn from it, and make those processes smarter.  

Seann Gardiner, senior VP of business development at Data-Robot (an AI platform provider), mentions if a company has a strong focus on process-level automation and can manage that data, then it might be ready. But strong leadership is also mandatory to make the process successful. Business leaders who believe in automation and an AI-first mentality can make the organizational changes needed.  

The use-cases of intelligent automation will likewise keep developing as new AI procedures and solutions enter the marketplace, drastically changing the future working environment. It can perform even complex and unique business actions like humans as an advanced solution. However, there is no point in believing that this combination will replace humans as they remain the controller of the RPA +AI combination by building the rules and manage the operation. The combination of RPA and AI had aimed to bring a digital transformation in the companies and adding more value over the period.  

For organizations to use this innovation completely, they initially need to see how these solutions can change their procedures and apply strict governance to settle on beyond any doubt their decision-making is paramount. If organizations attempt to actualize these connected yet granular solutions over their companies, it will enable them to drive a double speed change and pursue new heights in Business and IT maturity level.

Business-IT alignment is a strategy that prioritizes objectives around reducing costs, improving agility, and increasing the return on IT investment.

Although business and IT teams have vastly different roles and purposes, they ultimately share one underlying objective: to offer a seamless and satisfying customer experience that has a positive impact on business outcomes.  

Traditionally, business professionals and IT departments operated in their functional silos, each dedicated to their area of focus. However, there has been a philosophical shift towards improving the collaboration between teams so that an enterprise’s business needs and goals can be anticipated and considered throughout the decision-making process. One DevOps technique demonstrated the many benefits associated with breaking these silos down, and its success has encouraged organizations to rethink the more traditional, compartmentalized approach in favor of improving communication and participation across departments.

The divide between IT and business is so culturally evident that it reads like a punchline to a workplace joke. Today, companies recognize the need to align IT and business: A recent *Gartner report predicts that half of the organizations worldwide will achieve increased IT-business collaboration by 2022. 

In this article, we’ll look at IT-business alignment, including problems when IT and business units aren’t aligned, benefits of alignment, and even best practices and strategies to take your alignment from an idea into action.

What do you think are the problems with the current state?

Most companies can agree that business and IT aren’t working as closely as possible to optimize their service and product delivery. The oft-cited reason? Traditional business units function very differently from technology. Other reasons: Stereotypes perpetuate misconceptions about how business sees IT and vice versa. Non-IT personnel thinks IT is too technical to understand, and they might fail to recognize that IT participates in core revenue-generating activities like sales, marketing, customer service, etc.

Though these stereotypes are changing in the 21st century, different disciplines do have inherently different cultures, objectives, incentives, languages, and skillsets. It’s how writing makes sense to some people, and others are more comfortable working with numbers and spreadsheets.

Despite the elevation of roles like CTOs and CIOs, tech leadership continues to report significant struggles when attempting to collaborate with business units. You might easily recognize a problematic IT-business relationship. Indicators that these differences are hurting your company often show up in problems like:

Every organization today must become a technology business, no matter what product or service you offer. This shift is inevitable, and with it comes the concept of IT-business alignment: that IT enables business and business drives IT efforts. Neither is less necessary; both are revenue-generating.

Benefits of aligning IT and business

Aligning IT and business results in countless benefits:

All these benefits result in top customer experiences, boosting your bottom line.

(Source: comptia.org)

Achieving IT-business alignment: best practices

Talking about alignment and achieving it are two separate things. Achieving true IT-business alignment is difficult primarily because it’s cultural. Culture changes might seem easy—hang up value-based posters, encourage department meet-and-greets—but those efforts rarely succeed.

Instead, achieving alignment requires strategy. And that strategy should be an iterative process: define one change, put it in place, watch it perform, and decide whether to tweak it. Consider the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle to implementing change.

To align IT and business, consider these best practices:

Change your thinking, change your doing. Most companies are siloed, so marketing experts rarely work with IT, and both teams rarely see how sales talks with customers. Instead, think of all your business units, including tech, in a continuous, strategic loop. Changing your thinking means teams begin to understand other teams, so they can function better: increasing efficiency, reducing risk.

View IT as an instrument for business transformation. If you’re asking how IT can support other business units like sales, product development, and marketing, you’re still following a siloed approach. Instead, add IT to those business units: each one is equally capable of transforming the business. Integrate teams to combine business units. Explore revenue streams that IT can directly impact.

Make the customer experience the #1 factor. Every single business unit, person, and the task should be working to improve the customer experience. Aligning everyone under common language and goals that directly support the customer makes it easier to break down traditional discipline silos. Sales talk directly to customers, of course, but so do marketers and product developers. Make sure your tech teams also focus directly on the customer.

Use a single language. Every industry and every company have its lingo. While business units understand other BUs and tech-minded personnel get other tech minds, separate languages tend to keep them separate. Help demystify what every team does: start by standardizing your company language across all teams.

Be equally transparent to all departments. Continuing the theme of unnecessary mysteries, executive and management decisions should be transparent (as much as possible). What are good investments the company is making? What investments panned out poorly? A good way to know if one or several teams don’t have this clarity is to see whether they agree with or understand a recent managerial or executive decision. If it seems like the CTO simply trusted his gut or your manager played favorites, that’s a big clue that you’re not being as transparent as your staff needs.

Rotate IT and business employees to encourage understanding. A simple in-house mentorship program supports IT and business employees in bridging the IT-business gap. Put a salesperson in with a dev team and sit as a help desk agent with the marketing team for a few weeks—the cross-cultural learning will result in better understanding that will close the gap. Those inter-discipline relationships also broaden thinking, resulting in innovation.

Promote a vibrant, inclusive culture. Company culture isn’t the single key to achieving alignment, but it’s one component. Stop holding sales-only happy hours or ordering late-night pizza parties for only the help desk. Instead, promote inter-department exchange formally and informally. Schedule conversational events and speaking series. Use company money to encourage cross-functional meetings. Do this on a 1:1 level, buying lunch or coffee when an IT person and a business professional go out together or offer extra budget dollars to do this on a team level.

Understand change in humans. Take some time to learn how humans accept change and then look at change management processes that might inform what works for people—and what doesn’t.

Create an alignment plan. Before embarking ad-hoc on your alignment journey, consider some frameworks for turning your alignment efforts into an actionable strategy:

The Zachman Framework shows how one complex idea can be translated to different people for different purposes.

Organizational Change Management (OCM) offers a way to re-organize your IT depending on your purpose—which, in our case, is to better align IT and business.

I hope the above discussion has emphasized the benefits of IT and business alignment for every aspect. Now it’s time to bring business leaders and IT teams together under a single platform so that organizations can fine-tune their applications to meet target audience needs. Still, now those are trapped under business problems and trying to find out the perfect IT solutions for tech challenges software services company InovarTech is ready to extend the hand of collaboration to help them. Reach out to us for the digital transformation and application development strategy and ensure your success in the global competitive market. 

“If you spend more time on coffee than on IT Security, you will be hacked

as said by Richard Clarke, White House Cybersecurity.

Security implementation is of utmost importance and hence, a few guidelines need to be in place to ensure a safe working environment. Due to the current situation, most companies have asked their employees to work from home and that makes security even more important.

A few reasons why security implementation becomes important are:

Inovar realized the lack of security measures as well as the lack of security infrastructure as most team members use their own unmanaged devices. We realized that a tool was needed to manage the security with very less complexities but at the same time extendable to an enterprise grade security system. As there was no security expert known to us, we took it on our shoulders to make sure that the system was no longer vulnerable

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Mobile Device management is used to monitor, manage and secure employees’ mobile devices to ensure the safety of IT infrastructure and there are many tools for it, but does not provide all the necessary functions that are needed. Similarly, tools are available to keep all the laptops and MacBooks compliant with the latest policies and updates. But if we adopt many tools, we must keep in mind, the complexity and cost of implementation.

When the team brainstormed and pooled in their thoughts for an appropriate device management solution, we found tools, most of which were very specific with a certain set of capabilities and were quite costly too. Combining separate tools and per user licenses was intense and the budget was soaring. We then investigated Microsoft 365 and it was quite a mess too, comprising of Intune, Intune for Device, Advance Threat Protection, E5 Security, Azure active directory premium and so on and so forth.

After spending a lot of time on research, we zeroed in on using Microsoft based tools for our cloud infrastructure security. Currently all our team members already use Microsoft 365 E3 licenses and that helped the decision.

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After much deliberation, we decided on maximizing the investment on Microsoft 365 and making use of Intune.

This allowed us to:

We are now able to have reasonable command over other platforms and that integrates well with our current platform of Microsoft 365. Another major upside to this was Per User License and so device count per user wasn’t an issue anymore and suited our pockets.

Implementing such a network infrastructure security required humongous effort. A lot of research went into learning about the various security tools and we spent long hours to analyze and plan implementation of the tool. Videos by veterans of this field tried to warn us against using these tools by ourselves or it would take us down. Yes, there is a high possibility, but we were determined to make it work.

We faced many issues during the implementation.

For instance, if we wanted to restrict users from logging into the environment whose devices were not compliant, we needed to get Azure Active Directory premium. After much research, we came across the Exchange ActiveSync feature that helped us block out apps which were not managed. Its not fool proof but covered most of our requirements. After many such workarounds, finally, we came up with a combination that fit our purpose perfectly and we are still currently using it. It provides us with features such as:

Decice-management

Using an enterprise grade system at the same time has its demerits. It has so many controls that at a point we were completely lost. There were many ways to approach it but again, coming up with one approach came with its own set of challenges, so we kept trying different options with pilot users till we found an option which worked for us.

Device management is not buying a product on an e-commerce website. One needs to be patient and spend time on it as neither do all changes reflect immediately nor does everything work out at the very first attempt. Do not go looking for just one particular video or blog that will help you set up everything. We went through 50+ blogs and watched around 20+ videos to create our own action plan.

Some of the links are given below to help you out.

But if one is prepared well, one can finally see how easy security in technology has become over time. No system is impenetrable, but I think we have come a long way.

Rightly said by Stephane Nappo (Global Chief Information Officer at Societe Generale International Banking),

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and few minutes of cyber-incident to ruin it.

A big thank you to the team for all their hard work and dedication. Everybody should start thinking about implementing security in the new world order. One can start small and move on as per their need. It is not a difficult job to do, as many may think, so start now! Go ahead and implement the same.

With the onset of the pandemic of COVID-19,  situation has become very troublesome over last few weeks for business and customers alike. The effects of COVID-19 have been shaking up the entire world and forcing us to change our behavioral pattern on a massive scale. Most organizations are trying to enable work from home to continue the rhythm of business and there are tons of articles which help you get started in that journey.

Most of the articles we have come across talks about the technology and infrastructure requirements that one needs to effectively work from home. However, from our experience, technology and infrastructure are just tip of the iceberg. The softer side of getting adjusted to staying at home and ability to focus on work with the other personal responsibilities is big challenge. In addition, when your life support systems are off it makes it that much more difficult. Below are some images which will illustrate what we are talking about.

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To put it in words,

We at Inovar chose to work from home from the first week of March’20, long before India was put under a strict lock down as health and safety of our employees and their well-being are of are of paramount importance for Inovar.

We have recognized these softer sides of getting work done and have been empathic to our teams which has work wonders for us. Just being open to opinions and making decisions democratically goes a long way to manage things. In addition,  our home network (esp. Internet) was never designed to withstand the unprecedented load, creating frequent loss of connections or slow network speed in every part of the country.

These issues create frustration and stress to the best of us (read as: seasoned WFH experts). I would urge every leader to be cognizant of these facts and always remain alert to handle these scenarios.

We live in an Employee First world and it’s said, “Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers”. I think it’s the best mantra right now in these testing times.

#statysafe #staypositive #achievewonders

The situation has become very troublesome for last few weeks for business and customers alike, with the onset of the pandemic of COVID-19. The effects of COVID-19 have been shaking up the entire world and forcing us to undergo drastic behavioral changes.  

In this situation, every business is planning on how to continue the rhythm of business with our customers, partners and suppliers and manage their business in a seamless fashion. With almost entire world being under a lockdown, this is a very far fetched reality. Most of the business cannot function without having people on ground. For example, supply chain and most of the upstream/downstream services/businesses related to that is a prime example. 

As per McKinsey, here is what readiness for restarting looks like for all affected countries 

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Emergency services and IT driven businesses are still functioning but struggling with multiple issues. From finding a secure way work from home to digitizing all the paper and people-based process is uphill task. Even if you can re-purpose and find workaround to get things done, adoption still will remain an unsolved question. 

We @ Inovar, have seen these challenges first hand with one of the top US Health caregivers, and helped find a solution to their challenges. Starting from rapid infrastructure setup to digitizing their process and helping their team adopt the solutions which were created. While designing the solution it was key that we keep the end user in mind and make it easy for them to transition on to this new platform.  

Some of the items we have helped them with are: 

business-application-procedure

If you are also facing technical challenges in this pandemic condition, then our technical experts might be able to find out instant feasible solutions. Our knowledge with rapid digitization platform can definitely help you get moving and mitigate most of the challenges you are facing today.  

Here some quick guidelines that will help you to be more productive in your daily operations: 

The present situation becomes more critical as most of the SMBs are in the center of the crisis. However, we believe that adopting best practices for communication and modern tech solutions are the essential ways to combat against such global crisis. Always feel free to connect with us for solving any business problems and better technical suggestion. We will be glad to be your technical partner and always committed to lead you in the right track of digital transformation.