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The Rise of Remote Work and How to Assess Growth and Development

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COVID-19 has accelerated the rate of remote work adoption globally, but what have we found out? We have discovered that remote work is not bad, after all.

In the past, many companies have been wary about transitioning to telecommuting, even when most of their office operations do not require the physical presence of employees. The main fears expressed by leaders include a possible decline in employee productivity and a lack of clarity about the measurement of employee performance.

The performance of individual employees determines the trajectory of the company. Without reliable methods to assess its employees’ work, it is difficult for any organization to achieve growth and development.

This article addresses the concerns of managers who are hesitant about remote work and those who have already implemented remote work but have trouble with tracking performance for workplace productivity and office growth.

Set Clear Objectives and KPIs to Assess Growth

How do you know if your employees are getting stuff done? The inevitable first step is to define what it means to get stuff down. In business lingua, that means to establish work objectives and set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Effective KPIs are aligned with the company’s overall goals and must contribute to the company’s growth and development.

Communicating to employees the metrics by which their performance will be assessed helps them to understand their priorities. Clear expectations, keep employees focused.

Acknowledge Unquantifiable Performance Indicators

In setting KPIs, though, you need to acknowledge that numbers don’t tell the full story. Not to suggest that you should discount the importance of numbers, but you should also be cognizant of the Key Intangible Performance Indicators. Admittedly, working remotely can compound the vagueness of such indicators — leading employees to feel their efforts are not recognized enough.

Some aspects are just not quantifiable, such as leadership, creativity, innovation, organization, and engagement. There are quantifiable indicators that may make us understand employee engagement and organization, but the subjects themselves are indefinite.

Until new ways and means of measuring these intangibles are discovered — company leadership should acknowledge that Key Intangible Performance Indicators exist, and look for ways to recognize employees who go above and beyond.

Support Employee Development

Assessments should be more supportive than they are judgmental. Employees appreciate frequent check-ins when the aim is to keep them on their toes and support them through difficulties. However, the manager that goes around constantly pointing out his team members’ flaws (without thoughtfully helping them overcome their challenges) is only seen as grumpy.

The rules also apply in remote work, where managers (out of fear of losing control) begin acting intrusively by implementing extreme corporate surveillance. Tracking and assessment are not the ends themselves; the goal of tracking employee performance should be to improve team productivity. In essence, remote work management and performance should usher us into a new era of trust, more autonomy, accountability, and team collaboration.

“Nowadays, it is not enough to equip teams with new digital tools for remote collaboration, which many rapidly did when the pandemic began. It’s only the first step,� says Maxime Bouroumeau-Fuseau, co-founder and CTO of Paris-based Digicoop, a worker cooperative behind the work management platform Kantree. “The changing workplace calls for an environment where employees are empowered to take control of their work.

In our experience as a co-op, when employees are given more autonomy and when micromanagement is replaced by collaboration, teams deliver better results while individual employees feel more invested in their work.�

Allow Autonomy

Many people choose to work remotely because they want to feel a greater sense of ownership of their time and schedules. Therefore, even though time tracking is important for many remote teams, it goes without saying that hourly input is not always a good measure of performance.

The true measure of performance is the work outcome. Remote work allows employees to choose their own work hours; what does it matter if an employee works less per hour but still meets targets consistently? Researchers have shown that autonomy increases productivity.

Use the Right Tools and Analytics for KPIs

With physical offices out of the picture, it is the tools that a remote team uses that define the structure of work and operations. There are tools that keep employees accountable and provide actionable insights into how work gets done in the organization.

The rise of remote work has promoted the importance of analytics of everyday work data to ensure that employees are more productive.

The insights gained help team leaders and the management to understand if the organization is meeting set targets of performance and productivity and determine the rate of growth and development. Tools such as Trello, Kantree, Jira, Asana, Microsoft Teams, Slack, etc., are useful for assessing work progression.

Establish a Culture of Accountability

Note, though, that tools are only as effective as the culture in which they are situated. Your team might be using the best tools, but poor communication can derail employees from the main goals of the company.

When there are issues with employee performance, you must be able to recognize if there is a problem with the tools being used or with the management. Accountability should not only be down-up; it should be top-down too. Managers should be accountable to their subordinates and transparent about office dealings.

Conclusion

Going by statistics, remote work actually improves employee productivity and performance. This, in turn, leads to the overall growth of the company. However, this growth must be intentional. Organizations should implement proper (and flexible) assessment models to know when their work is really progressing and when there are problems that must be solved.

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B2B Business Digitization Business Optimization Deal Management Productivity Small Business Startups supply chain

How to Optimize B2B Deal Management to Cut Costs and Losses in 2021

B2B deal management

A lot of companies suffered supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19. Certain experts have described the situation as a Keynesian supply shock, a negative event that triggers aggregate supply shortages with bigger impacts than the prior reduction in labor supply.

There is still a lot of uncertainty in the air, so many businesses still don’t know how to approach the coming months. Though businesses have been undergoing changes, those shifts do not necessarily have a clear direction.

One area of supply chain operations that have undergone only a little change is deal management.

Deals are still handled pretty much in the same way, with the same old tools and strategies. Yet, they get more complicated. This leads to unnecessary additional costs and losses.

A recent study by Enable summarized the views of 100 sales, purchasing, and finance professionals and found that 83% of companies reported supply chain disruptions in some capacity due to COVID-19, and 47% have seen their revenue decrease between 10-80%.

Many businesses are losing millions of dollars each year because complicated deals are handled using outdated techniques.

COVID-19 and Deal Renegotiation

COVID-19 has delivered the biggest shocks to supply chains globally, forcing businesses to make swift changes to adapt to the new reality.

Right now, governments around the world are easing lockdown measures, despite fears of a second wave of the pandemic sweeping through. There is still a lot of precariousness and businesses are under pressure to renegotiate deals.

Renegotiation is inevitable since COVID-19 has altered the conditions upon which most deals were agreed. The existing arrangement puts all parties in a deal at a disadvantage.

Now, the problem is that many businesses would still be using the same poor tools that had consistently put them at a loss, even before COVID-19 was discovered.

Going forward, businesses need to rethink their strategies and pivot to digital for better deal management. Digitized deal management allows businesses to collect more data, gain better insights, and make better decisions when processing deals.

Ultimately, optimizing deal management strengthens your supply chains and even makes your sales team more effective.

Benefits of Optimized Deal Management to Sales Reps

1. Data-Driven Insights

One of the hallmarks of an improperly managed deal is confusion. Following the signing of an agreement, parties must continue to acquire insights into the realities and conditions that affect the deals. For instance, renegotiating deals at this time will require poring over the data of the business impacts of the pandemic.

Optimized deal management allows the sales team to access and properly assess current information on deals.

2. Friction-less Agreement

Deal negotiation involves many (often conflicting) ideas, and as all parties work towards finding common ground, some uniformity is necessary. Effective deal management puts collective principles above personal ideas. This cohesion drives attitudes that would lead to less friction, an important requirement if deals must go through successfully.

The availability of data-driven insights enhances transparency in the process, which, in turn, builds trust. As such, deals are processed faster, for the good of every party.

3. Collaboration

Deal information should be accessible on-demand to all interested parties at any time. This is important both for making critical decisions and for monitoring progress. The world increasingly becomes connected; deal brokers need to capitalize on this to optimize their processes.

According to Accenture, “digital solutions could ‘virtualize’ the entire end-to-end deal management process, perhaps using a web-based portal to bring together a virtual team from multiple areas of the organization.� Collaboration improves the relationship between deal parties. This, in turn, lowers the lifecycle of deals, empowering sales reps to close more deals in shorter times.

4. Accountability

The situation described above, how businesses lose millions due to unclaimed rebates, is an obvious sign of poor deal management. Optimized deal management is necessary for setting better goals and properly implementing factors to monitor progress.

Digitization of Deal Management

Deal management is one area of business that has not fully embraced digitization. Yet, most of its challenges are tied, directly or indirectly, to the use of outdated tools in a rapidly changing world.

For one, data has become the world’s most vital resource. In deal management, having detailed and accurate data is paramount to preliminary research and for maintaining comprehensive visibility of running deals.

Likewise, data is needed for better forecasting. Recounting the words of an old study, “without accurate forecasts, sales managers can expect a big gap between forecasted deals and actual closed-won deals.�

Businesses have far more data to deal with than they did ten years ago, meaning pages of spreadsheets and other paperwork can no longer deliver the right results. Deal management solutions help you to make better, data-driven decisions by giving you real-time analysis and visibility.

The prevailing data management strategy has data spread across various sources: spreadsheets, emails, and physical paperwork. This lack of consistency is what leads companies to make poor decisions and miss out on financial opportunities such as rebates.

Better forecasting with digitized deal management enhances the robustness of supply chains. By accessing relevant data, businesses can improve their risk monitoring. This results in better preparation and better adaptation to changing needs.

Instead of going with assumptions that things will fall into place, businesses can determine that through proper data analysis and subsequently implement methods to adapt their operations to even the worst shocks.

The digitization of deal management reduces dependency on certain key individuals. Due to the severe limitations of paper spreadsheets, usually only a few individuals broker deals and fully understand the ramifications applied.

With a cloud-hosted deal management solution, however, you can create a multi-threaded relationship. This translates into a more effective implementation of deals by boosting collaboration between all parties to the agreement.

Businesses must change their approach to deal with management. It’s no longer business as usual. In fact, while talking about cloud-hosted deal management solutions, there’s already been suggestions on the future role of artificial intelligence in enhancing deal management.

AI will help improve data analytics, automate financial processes, and overcome forecasting challenges with predictive analytics.

Conclusion

In essence, no business can afford to be left behind. Deal negotiation aims to reach an agreement that is profitable for both sides. But if a business persists with outdated tools and approaches to deal management, it wouldn’t be getting the right value for its agreements.

You can avoid losing money in unclaimed rebates and so on by digitizing your deal management to optimize negotiations.

Digitizing deal management helps you to collect detailed data, maintain comprehensive oversight, and make better decisions concerning deal negotiations.

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automation Back office business automation Productivity workflow automation

How Workflow Automation is Changing the Back Office

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The back office of your business consists of employees in administrative and supportive roles. While the admin responsibilities don’t directly work with customers, they’re the engine of your ship. The back-office staff keeps everything up and running no matter what happens up front, and they need support to do so.

Workflow automation changes how the back office operates, maximizing efficiency and ensuring a more effective system overall. As powerful as workflow automation can be, implementing it is no small task.

Don’t know where to start with office automation? These examples will get your wheels turning and help you find direction.

Software Integration

Back offices rely on a variety of software programs to keep operations going. Keeping track of all the tools involved can lead to confusion. Workflow automation eliminates these issues by seamlessly integrating systems together.

Using iPaaS, or integration platforms as a service, you can set up your own workflow automation to tie all your programs together. For example, you can put a trigger in your project management software that will automatically download any files that your team shares to your email. This one simple step might not seem like much, but set up enough automation and you’ll be saving a ton of time.

Human Resources

The back office takes care of all employee management, whether they’re at the front desk or the warehouse. Hiring new employees, training and retention, and compliance are all essential aspects of business management. The more attention an organization can give to their employees, the more they will give back to the company.

Automation greatly assists in managing document-related tasks, which are the name of the game in human resource departments. Automatically generating and filing all the needed paperwork enables HR managers to spend less time at a desk and more time addressing employee needs and concerns. Workflow automation can also help with employee training for new hires or seasoned veterans who may need a refresher.

Banking and Finances

Nearly every back office has a financial team. They make sure books are lined up, invoices are sent and received, and budgets are followed. Automation helps ensure accuracy when taking care of company finances while accomplishing tasks at a quicker pace.

A simple example can be found with invoicing. Having workplace automation send and collect invoices takes a load off of your financial team so they can focus on other things. All they have to do is double-check the work and move on.

Purchasing and Inventory

Your procurement team will greatly benefit from workflow automation. Tracking inventory on its own is very time consuming, and it’s not an activity many enjoy doing. Automating inventory and subsequent purchasing will streamline the process, saving both time and money.

You can automate your inventory list to automatically update with purchases and shipments. When your inventory hits a certain level, your automation will trigger a notification to your procurement team that an order needs to be placed. While you still need the proper manpower to double-check industry counts and confirm shipments — automation helps ensure accuracy and timeliness with orders.

Data Analytics

Right on pace with automation is the growth of data analytics in business. Data-driven decision making has shown to be more effective than relying on intuition and experience alone. Businesses generate tons of data each day, so automation is an essential requirement for making it all work together.

Workflow automation will sift through the data generated by your business to pick out relevant information for your needs. One valuable aspect of data is its potential for trend forecasting. As workflow automation picks out key pieces of data for you, you can use it to make business plans based on perceived future events.

Data analytics also helps with product development, marketing, operations, and a whole lot more. Every aspect of your business can benefit from data, so this is one of the most important workflow automation areas to focus on.

Customer Experience

The front office consists of customer service and sales representatives who form a direct relationship with consumers. The back office, however, still has an impact on customer experience. For example, web developers work to build a site that enables customers to easily find the information and products they need, which plays a major role in the customer experience.

Developers and IT professionals know very well how beneficial automation can be. Workflow automation can siphon the data they need to make decisions that will improve the customer experience, helping them perform their jobs to a higher level. Automation also helps companies provide targeted content for customers visiting their sites. This personalizes the web experience, ensuring that every visitor finds exactly what they need.

Security

Another vital task performed by your tech team is that of security. Keeping malware and digital attacks at bay protect your data and information and that of your customers. Breaches can be catastrophic, driving away customers and slashing revenue streams.

Workflow automation can detect potential threats automatically, no matter the type of threat or time of day. This can trigger preemptive actions to slow down attacks until a technician can fully address the problem. Automation can also send prompt notifications to further accelerate response times.

In addition to cybersecurity, workflow automation can also help with physical security. It can track employee ID scans and other forms of entry to pick up on trends that may seem suspicious and need verification.

Office Maintenance

There’s nothing worse than finding out you’re out of copy paper or need to make repairs right in the moment. With workflow automation, you can keep track of office materials and equipment to provide proper maintenance for ensuring smooth workdays.

You can set up a workflow that calculates the number of materials your company uses and determines when restocking needs to be done. You can also use these algorithms to track printer toner, air filters, and cleaning materials as well.

Filing and Organization

No one wants to spend a day filing documents, and no manager would have one of their best workers waste time doing so. Digital filing systems and storage are more efficient than their physical counterparts but still need maintenance to ensure proper documents can be readily accessed when needed.

You can set up your own organizational system using workflow automation. Tag certain files to be sent to specific locations, so you know exactly where they’ll be when you need them. You can also automatically send the documents you need directly to your inbox, avoiding the need to hunt them down.

With workflow automation, your back office will never be the same. Not only will you be increasing your company’s efficiency, but you’ll also be giving your workers a huge quality-of-life boost as well. Any team that made it through 2020 unscathed deserves a break, and workflow automation can be just that.

Image Credit: charles parker; pexels

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Boosting Your Productivity While Working from Home

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The COVID-19 pandemic has tested our working culture and environment critically. Who knew that this pandemic would transform the work culture along with a drastic shift of working from home? Every organization that we come across today is struggling with something or the other. The transformation has changed the life of the employer and employees in indescribable ways. Here are thoughts on boosting your productivity while working from home.

The pandemic has made organizations brainstorm and implement new ways of managing remote teams.

The job of managing remote teams seems challenging for organizations that have never been into remote teams. As for the employers, the same is the scenario with the employees. The work-place environment is a lot different than the home environment. The big task lies in maintaining a good work-life balance and delivering the expected results to your employer.

While some people are used to working from home, others might struggle with productivity. The level of commitment, discipline, planning, and consistency is always higher when you’re working from home.

Here are some “working from home tips” for the first-timers and those struggling with it.

  • Plan your day:

You might have everything in your head. Putting down these things will help you to focus on the work that needs to be done. If you plan your day, you will know and be prepared for the next day. Building your mindset a day before is an important factor that will help you to be productive throughout the day.

  • Make the planner your soulmate:

When you list down the things that need to be done, the tasks will seem easier. It is a brilliant way to stay away from forgetting the list of your daily tasks. Being at home might bring many distractions, but a to-do list can help you stay organized. There are various tools for keeping track of your to-do list. I have tried to curate the best ones in this article you will find below.

  • Stay loyal to your work area:

Even if you are working from home, have your specified work desk or area. It increases your focus and allows you a professional environment. Having a separate desk also soothes your mind that has a positive effect on productivity.

  • Keep that personal beep away:

Limiting your distractions allows you to concentrate on your work. You can always start slow. For instance, keeping your phone on DND mode for 30 mins and then gradually increasing it to 2-3 hours. It will allow you to work for the preferred working hours.

  • Take hell-of breaks:

Taking 10 minutes breaks after every hour or two breaks mental fatigue. It is a helpful way to stay focused on your work. However, you must take the right type of breaks. If you take the wrong breaks, it can become harder for you to focus when you re-start. Here is an article that will tell you all about taking breaks.

  • Get on your comfy clothes:

A lot of people say that you need to be dressed as if you are going to work. But it does not work for all of us. You need to explore what suits you the best. Some might feel confident in formal clothes, whereas some might be comfortable working in pajamas. Choose your clothes wisely and get through the day.

  • Turn on that inspiration:

Some people like to work with music or podcast and others might find it comfortable in a silent environment. Find out what brings in the most enthusiasm in you while you work. You can try some soothing soundtrack, jazz, or even let the natural sound come to you by keeping the windows open. There is some productivity-boosting music that is a must-try for all of us. Here is a detailed resource on finding the best music for you.

Being entirely new to work-from-home would need some tips and tricks and tools that can help you get acquainted with the new normal. Various tools can help you in working closely with the remote team. Let me help you by differentiating them based on their unique nature.

Work from home collaboration tools:

Lack of communication might end up creating problems for the entire team. It is difficult to pass on real-time information with remotely working teams and ensure whether it is understood correctly. Here are some real-time collaboration tools that might help you get real-time information from your team and colleagues.

  • Slack:

Slack is a remote messaging application that helps the teams to work in sync. Your team can now have all the communication in a single place. It has a unique feature where you can create a hashtag and follow the communication in that particular area. It offers a fully native application for iOS and Android that allows you to complete the functionality of the tool.

  • Troop Messenger:

Troop Messenger is an instant messaging tool that keeps your team’s conversation-flow in real-time. It is an ideal tool for any business size. Troop is a feature-packed tool that includes video calling, flagging, screen sharing, audio messaging, and more. They also provide small tutorial clips for all features in case of any need.

  • Chanty:

Chanty is an AI-powered application that allows users to connect with the team in no time. Its user-friendly nature enables the users to try their hands on all the features without any help or tutorials. It is designed to share files, unlimited messaging, support third-party apps like Google Drive. Make your remote team communication fun by sharing emojis and animated gifs on Chanty.

Work from home productivity tools:

Working from home is not easy. There can be a lot of distractions and you might not be able to concentrate. When I started as a freelancer, I could hardly work for two hours straight. Eventually, I fixed my timings and started as a full-time freelancer. I also keep a planner that helps me to complete my tasks efficiently. Some people use an online Calendar as their planner.

There might be times when you feel overwhelmed and would need a tool desperately. I have listed some tools that might help you to increase your productivity. Besides the below tools, a simple physical planner works wonders.

  • Google Keep:

Google keep is a note-taking service that allows the user to strike off the job when completed. You can simply toggle between emails and the list or download the Keep mobile app for easy handling. You can use it for various types of files such as lists, audio, images, and text.

  • Asana:

Asana is not only an individual productivity tool but can also be used for the entire team. It is not 100% useful if you’ are a single worker or freelancer. But it is a great tool for teams where you can keep a track of your projects, assigning users for various tasks, and so on.

  • Freedcamp:

Freedcamp can be used as a core tool for strategizing, organizing, and taking action. It is a user-friendly application where you can share your to-do list with other team members and join in the discussions. The biggest turn on for using Freedcamp is that it offers a ton of features for free. If you need any add-ons like CRM or invoicing, you can simply pay for what you need. It is one of the coolest applications that you won’t regret exploring.

Work from home monitoring tools

There are several applications in case you wish to monitor the time taken for completing various tasks. These applications can also be used if you are a manager and would like to see whether your subordinates perform their duties.

  • Toggl:

Toggl is a simple work from home monitoring tool that tracks time just by pressing the Toggl button. It is one of the most used applications for tracking down the time taken to complete various tasks. You can also fetch reports to see how much time you took to complete your tasks throughout the week.

  • Time Doctor:

Time Doctor is a SaaS tool that can help you with tracking your working time along with the breaks. It is one of the best time tracking tools that enable you to track your team member’s time. You can even look for the time spent on individual tasks by you and other members. If you want some screenshots from your team, simply specify the intervals and it will do the job for you.

  • Hubstaff:

A group founded Hubstaff while they were looking for a better way to manage their freelancers. Its metrics allows the manager or employers to manage their team. You can ensure your team’s productivity while you manage the remote team and their tasks. It has a unique GPS and geofencing feature that notifies the manager if they leave the job site.

Moreover, having said that, even if you have had remote workers before — because of COVID — remote work is new for almost all employers.

Because remote work — in the manner it has to be done because of the pandemic — is the reason why there are a lot of disagreements and debates in this area. We are going to discuss some of the top statistics to understand the positive side of it.

  1. 77% of employees believe that they are more productive while working remotely:

Doesn’t this study by CoSo Cloud have astounding facts? Who could believe that remote working can boost productivity? This is a win-win situation for both – the employer and the employee. It is a great opportunity for businesses to cut down expenses and boost employee productivity at the same time. In contrast, the employees can work at their convenience and that eventually reduces stress and helps in improving the quality of work.

  1. More work is done in less time:

A study by Stanford found that work from home increases employee performance by 13%. The work from home scenario allows employees to do more work in a day and boosts work done each minute. The aspect of more work done with less time or resources is important for employees and employers.

Image Credit: andrew neel; pexels

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AI AI Adoption Cloud conversational AI Fintech Omnichannel Banking Services Productivity

How Traditional Banks can Stay Ahead of Fintech Firms with Conversational AI

banks conversational AI

FinTech firms present a credible threat to incumbent banks. Leveraging a combination of technology, consumer-centric service, and flexible business practices, fintech firms reduce the cost of doing business, extending their customer base, and taking market share from established traditional banks.

Despite this threat has been present for some years now, many banks believe they are still unprepared to compete properly. However, to respond to the challenge, banks should adopt Conversational AI technology that can help them to compete with the fintech firms that threaten them.

According to a survey, 53% of banks and 69% of credit unions view technology giants like Apple and Google as their top competitors in 2020 and believe they will become the hallmark of well-managed credit unions.

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, banks saw a rise in online banking activity and a decline in trips to brick-and-mortar branches. Europe is the prime epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis, with nearly 75 percent of new cases reported globally on March 18th. The impact of the crisis was huge on the banking system and on the bank-customer relationship in the European region. In fact, the pandemic has made the banks believe that the Conversational AI transformation is not only beneficial but it’s also crucial for their survival in the competitive market.

How will traditional banks stay ahead of fintech?

Conversational AI is the only means by which banks can stay competitive in the market, retain their customers, and find and pursue new leads. For example, Gen Y, Gen Z, and many who find the traditional way of banking monotonous and tedious need only one real solution — AI. Nowadays, people don’t want to be visiting branches to make deposits and transfers — and very few people are mailing paper checks anymore.

What is needed from modern-day banking?

Quickly get up to speed with conversational banking, including adding a payee, bill payments and Peer-to-Peer (p2p) transfers. Many options can be added across multiple channels and in the language of customers.

Now let’s break down why banks need to embrace a technology like Conversational AI to sustain, including everything from creating new revenue sources to adapting to changes in consumer demand.

What do customers really what?

1. Customers Want Quick Contactless Payment Methods

One of the top drivers of Conversational AI adoption in banking is customer preferences. The increased health concerns and a need to avoid physical contact because of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused customers to drift toward digital payment options.

A recent Mastercard poll found that contactless payments grew twice as fast as traditional payment types in-between February and March of 2020.

The same poll revealed that 79% of respondents typically use contactless payment methods. In response, tech companies like Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay have started offering contactless payment apps.

Leveraging AI assistants that are available 24/7, through multiple channels like Telegram, Facebook Messenger, or email and more will be a win-win situation for both customers and the bank. From a millennial’s perspective, simple requests such as password reset or adding a payee, or making an international transfer can be done instantaneously. There’s no need to visit the bank or spend an hour in the IVR puzzle menu to speak to a human agent. Banks adopting AI are, in fact seeing increased customer satisfaction rates and sales.

2. Legacy Systems Costs Banks Huge Chunks of Money

Banks’ legacy systems deserve special attention as they are costing banks a lot of money and have led to expensive failures in getting new leads and customer retention. They’re simply not capable of supporting the market’s changing expectations and may soon expose banks to additional risk and liability.

Also, the operation and maintenance of these legacy systems are becoming more difficult. Imagine the bank’s data records are all in papers, but with Conversational AI, every record will be saved in Cloud. Cloud technology has the potential to transform a bank’s operational efficiency because it obviates investment in infrastructure – what’s needed is ready and available in the cloud.

3. Offering Omnichannel Banking Services

The Omnichannel approach came to the forefront in retail in the early 2010s. Since then, it’s been making its way into industries like telecommunications and media, and banking. Traditional banks allow digital banking but not omnichannel banking. For example, Sara wants to perform her transactions via mobile and web channels.

She wants to send money, apply for personal loans, add payees, pay her bills, and more, all through channels like Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, or Telegram. And this cornerstone feature can only a bank with Conversational AI adoption avail her.

4. Conversational AI is a Key to Increase Revenue

Another reason banks should embrace Conversational AI is that it offers new outlets for following leads and increasing revenue. As customers increase to interact with the AI-powered assistants, it becomes easier for banks to track their behavior patterns.

They can see what resources customers look up frequently, and they can send pop-up survey alerts to find out more details about users’ financial needs and reasons for using the assistant. Banks can then make personalized product recommendations based on that gathered data.

By 2021, more than 50% of enterprises will spend more per year on bots and chatbot creation than traditional mobile app development – Gartner

5. Conversational AI Adoption is a Survival Imperative for the Banks

Leveraging Conversational AI-powered assistants like the ones powered by the Kore.ai platform that is fully functional, omnichannel, and domain trained assistants can handle more than 80% of the queries asked by your customers through Mobile/ Web channels. The AI assistants can also be customized to add more use cases based on what your customers frequently ask for, unlike the live agents who need to be hired and trained for each scenario.

6. Banks can Avail Enterprise-Grade Security

Leveraging enterprise-grade Conversational AI-platform builds security into your banking operations to boost banking confidence and growth.

For example, when you chat with a bot or a live agent, they get to know your bank details and can track all your personal details. Just imagine they can father all your confidential information. But here’s the catch. Virtual Assistants built on Enterprise-grade Conversational AI platforms like Kore.ai focus a great deal on ensuring the most critical aspect of any business security.

7. Conversational AI Helps Banks Adapt Quickly

It is crucial for the banking industry to remain not only agile but also be able to adapt to changing economic circumstances quickly. Having a robust technological setup means a bank can rapidly respond to crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. Banks need to unexpectedly shut down their branches, operate with fewer staff members, or limit in-person services.

Conversational AI adoption in banking also enables the banks to respond rapidly to changes in demand. Conversational AI-powered assistants come with cognitive intelligence that helps businesses roll out new offers and respond to customer requests or market changes.

Not only does Conversational AI better help banks respond to economic crises, but it also helps them react to industry changes and stay competitive.

Competition in the banking sector will likely intensify the post-pandemic, requiring the banks to transform themselves into an innovation unit to not only survive but thrive in the future banking landscape.

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Does Modern Tech Demand an “Information Diet?”

The miracle of modern technology is that it provides us with all the information we ever wanted—and then some. In the span of a few seconds, you can easily learn facts about science, history, and other subjects. You can send a message to people all over the world. And you can gather the latest details on a developing news story. 

All this information is seen as a universal positive, but there may be some negative consequences to the abundance of information. Author Clay Johnson wrote a book that focuses on this topic to a degree, The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption. Since then, the term “information diet� has grown in popularity, serving as a potential remedy to the negative consequences of too much information. 

But what is an information diet, exactly, and can it truly help you be happier, healthier, and more productive in the modern world? 

The Abundance of Information 

Let’s start by addressing the true nature of the abundance of information. We all have access to dozens of internet-connected devices, all of which have the capacity to link us to many different types of information. 

For example: 

  • Email. Most of us receive dozens, if not hundreds of emails every day. We get emails from coworkers, clients, friends, family, and of course, marketers interested in selling us new products. 
  • Project/task management platforms. Online management platforms have streamlined work for millions of people, but they also have the downside of overloading people with communications. 
  • Social media. Similarly, social media grants us the power to connect with an audience of billions (literally). We can choose to engage with groups and organizations that share our interests and views, or just connect with friends and family members. Either way, these feeds are typically presented to us in an infinite scrolling manner, making it all too easy to keep consuming more. 
  • Notifications. Email, management platforms, and social media platforms are all complicated by the universal presence of notifications. Most modern apps are designed to give us alerts to grab our attention as often as possible, usually whenever some new information becomes available—such as a new message or a new post. 
  • Online content. Content marketing is one of the most popular and powerful online marketing strategies available, in part because of the demand for online content. People are eager to consume more articles, videos, and images on a daily basis, and there’s no shortage of people willing to create them. There are vast content networks in play, with millions of blogs and millions of distribution channels. It’s almost impossible to spend time online without running into them. 

Our lives are saturated with these and other forms of content, bombarding us with a never-ending stream of information. 

Three Problems With Information Overabundance 

So what’s the big deal? More information has historically been a good thing, allowing people to become better educated and better informed on current events—not to mention, better entertained in their personal lives. 

But there are three big problems with the information overabundance: 

  1. Low quality information. First, the constant demand for content leads to an increase in the production and consumption of low-quality information. This effect is easiest to see in the context of journalism; news companies are motivated to produce new stories as quickly as possible and in high volume, leading to premature reporting and shoddy work. This is partially responsible for the fake news problem. 
  2. False conclusions. Even if the information being presented to you is true, the constant bombardment of information can make you draw false conclusions. For example, let’s say you see 3 new stories each day about people who were killed in shark attacks, over the course of a week. In reality, there are (at most, considering potential overlap) 21 shark attacks out of literally billions of people swimming in ocean waters. But to you, it seems like shark attacks are happening constantly—and to everyone who goes in the water. This is also a problem with echo chambers, leading people to believe that the majority of the population agrees with whatever view they happen to hold. 
  3. Fatigue. Perhaps most importantly, too much information leaves us with fatigue. Reading too many news stories can leave us feeling helpless, tired, and depressed. Too many notifications can exhaust our attention and render us apathetic and anxious. Too much time scrolling on social media can make us feel empty at the end of a long day. 

How an Information Diet Can Help

An information diet works much like a food diet. With a food diet, the problem to be solved is similar; you’re eating too much food and/or food that’s too low-quality. The solution is threefold: 

  • Awareness. First, you need to be aware of what you’re consuming. In a food diet, the goal is to recognize your biggest indulgences, and the foods that are responsible for your overeating. In an information diet, the idea is to recognize your biggest distractors and sources of low-quality content. 
  • Curation. Second, you need to prioritize high-quality sources over low-quality sources. In a food diet, that means prioritizing things like fruits and vegetables over fast food and sugary desserts. In an information diet, that means getting your information from reputable publishers, rather than echo chambers and reactionary outlets. 
  • Limitation. Third, you need to limit your intake. In a food diet, that means restricting your caloric intake. In an information diet, that means reducing the number of platforms you use (and the number of notifications you receive). 

Key Tips for Success

If you want to be successful with an information diet, these are some of your best tips for success: 

  • Turn off notifications. Notifications have been a problem for a long time. They distract us from our responsibilities, demand our attention, and leave us feeling fatigued. If possible, it’s best to eliminate them altogether. You can check your email, social media accounts, and other platforms manually whenever you want to see if there’s something new available for you. This should reduce the amount of your attention that’s seized unnecessarily. 
  • Set time limits for content and social apps. Most modern devices have built-in functionality to control the amount of time you spend on apps (even if you have to enable child control settings). If there are specific apps that make you waste time (like social media apps), set a strict time limit to prevent yourself from overusing them. 
  • Reduce your number of apps. It might be better to reduce the number of apps you use overall. If you have half a dozen social media platforms to wade through, try narrowing that list down to one or two. Consider following only a handful of blogs and content creators, rather than a litany of them. 
  • Set proactive expectations with others. Some content you consume is comprised of messages from others, so set proactive expectations with them. Let them know you may not respond to messages right away, and you might be using social platforms less frequently. 
  • Review your sources. Think critically about the content sources providing content for your consumption. Are they a reputable source or simply the latest influencer whose incentive is only the next promotion? Are the creators doing a good job of providing all the relevant details? Are they fact-checking their work? Is this content making a positive impact on your life? Does it have any measurable value? 
  • Take inventory of your own emotions. Finally, take inventory of your own emotions. When you read a story, does it fill you with anger? When you get a notification, do you find yourself annoyed? Pay attention to the types of content that seem to have a negative impact on you and avoid those pieces of content however you can. 

Is an information diet going to instantly relieve you of all the problems associated with modern technology? Certainly not. But there’s almost no disadvantage to practicing basic habits like reviewing sources of information and limiting the time you spend on information-dense apps—and the upside could be tremendous. Consider going on an information diet of your own design whether you’re interested in higher productivity, less fatigue, or just an overall better sense of wellbeing. 

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6 Brilliant Brain Hacks for the Remote Worker

brain hacks

What was once a niche work lifestyle has become commonplace. Millions of Americans now work remotely – and millions more are ready to join in. While remote working offers many benefits, it also has its own distinct challenges that must be worked through. Understanding how to power through friction and optimize productivity for better output is the goal. Here are six brilliant brain hacks for the remote worker.

Do you know where to start? Here is a practical guide to on-boarding remote engineers from a topmost expert. Consider these 6 brilliant brain hacks for the remote worker.

The Upward Climb on Remote Working

If you work from home, you used to be the anomaly. Today, you’re in good company. Pretty soon, you’ll be part of the majority.

According to Global Workplace Analytics and Quarterly Global, the leader in PR, marketing and advertising, the number of individuals working from home has grown by 173 percent since 2005.

Overall, 4.7 million employees (roughly 3.4 percent of the overall workforce) work from home at least half the time.

Approximately 40 percent of American employers offer more flexible workplace options today than they did five years ago. But with 80 to 90 percent of the U.S. workforce saying they’d prefer to work outside the office at least some of the time, this number is expected to rise in the coming years.

As remote working becomes more commonplace, so will the need for better remote working strategies.

The Top Remote Working Challenges

Remote working is highly appealing and advantageous for freelancers, employees, and employers alike. But it’s not a perfect setup. There are plenty of challenges, including:

Blurred lines

Everyone wants to talk about tearing barriers between work and personal life, but too much overlap can equally problematic. One of the keys to maintaining optimal work-life balance is being able to separate the two. When you work out of the house, it’s challenging to carve out a meaningful division between each area. This can make you less effective in both aspects of your life.

Distractions

Have you ever tried to work from home when you have a house full of rambunctious children? Or what about participating in a conference call in the middle of a loud coffee shop? Wherever you’re working, distractions abound.

Procrastination

Whether you’re an employee or freelancer, your remote working status typically comes with greater freedom in how you manage your time. If you aren’t careful, procrastination can get the best of you. Over time, it may even become habitual.

Inconsistency

When working in an office, there’s something to be said for the predictability. You basically know what to expect. Your desk is in the same place, you see the same people, and you go through the same basic routines. Remote workers rarely have the luxury of consistency. This makes it hard to get in a state of flow.

Communication

We may have more communication methods than ever before, but there’s still nothing that can fully replicate being face-to-face in the same physical space. For remote workers, trying to communicate via a combination of phone, email, SMS, and video chat creates an extra layer of friction.

Isolation

Finally, remote working often gives rise to feelings of isolation – particularly in people with extroverted personalities. This can lead to boredom, pessimism, and a lack of drive. It can even have serious side effects, like anxiety or depression.

Most people ignore these challenges, and the results show. But if you’re someone who wants to increase productivity and maximize output, you need a better strategy.

You need to find what works.

And once you discover what works, you need to bottle it up and use it to your advantage.

Powerful Brain Hacks for Better Results

Brain hacking.

It sounds like a buzzword – and it kind of is. But that doesn’t make it any less valid.

Our brains are constantly being shaped by events, experiences, external stimuli, and other environmental factors. And as weird as it may sound, the human brain is subject to regular physical and cognitive changes.

The neuroplasticity concept says that the brain, like muscles in the body, becomes weaker or stronger over time. It’s continuously changing and rewiring. Over time, targeted techniques and purposeful strategies can morph into automatic habits and processes.

These targeted techniques and strategies are brain hacking. And it’s something that every remote worker can do to overcome the aforementioned challenges and optimize productivity and output.

Here are some brain hacks you may find helpful:

  1. Try Intermittent Fasting for Better Focus

Intermittent fasting is a biohacking concept that involves alternating cycles of fasting and eating. There are various techniques, but the most common is to eat all of your meals in one eight-hour window. In other words, you’re fasting for 16 hours every day.

If you’re someone who loves food, this probably sounds impossible.

However, it’s not nearly as difficult as it initially seems.

It basically means you eat your first meal at 11 a.m. and your last meal at 7 p.m. (or whatever variation works for you).

Aside from the fat loss and metabolism benefits, intermittent fasting actually helps with focus. The consolidated intake of food prevents wasted energy from digesting food. Instead, you’re able to allocate those energy reserves to concentrate on work-related tasks.

On a related note, be mindful of what you eat.

While health professionals have spent years telling people to avoid fat, the truth is that you need healthy fats to maximize cognitive functioning.

Why?

It’s pretty simple: The human brain is 60 percent fat.

When you eat, try incorporating items like eggs, avocados, nuts, salmon, trout, and coconut oil into your meals.

  1. Eliminate Digital Media from Your Morning Routine

Bing! Bing! Bing!

Your morning alarm goes off.

You slap the snooze button. Once. Twice. Three times.

Once you finally come to your senses, you grab your phone, pull up Instagram, and start scrolling.

Then you get out of bed, walk downstairs, and turn on the news.

While watching the news, you reply to a couple of late-night texts that came in while you were sleeping.

Over breakfast, you check your email.

It’s not even 8 a.m., and you’ve consumed more digital media than your brain can process. You’ve also unintentionally heightened your stress level, stifled your creativity, and destroyed your focus.

When you start your day with digital media, you’re actually beginning your morning playing catch-up on what happened yesterday. You’re also letting other people dictate how you feel. You haven’t even started working, and stress, worry, and discontentment become the resounding feelings of the day.

Try taking a digital fast for the first two to three hours each day.

In a study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of British Columbia, 124 individuals were asked to check their email frequently for one week. The next week, they were told only to check their email three times per day (and to disable all notifications).

The data was analyzed against the time spent viewing email, and participants reported feeling significantly lower stress levels and higher feelings of positivity when email exposure was limited.

Once you cut back on exposure to email, social media, news, and other digital media forms, you’ll start to feel the positive effects.

While everyone can benefit from less digital media exposure, it’s especially helpful for remote workers close to digital distractions like the TV, video game systems, and personal smart devices.

  1. Leverage the Pomodoro Technique for Better Scheduling

Americans have a love affair with multitasking. We wear our ability to juggle responsibilities like a badge of honor.

But research shows that multitasking actually suppresses productivity. And if you work from home, where personal distractions are omnipresent, it can severely limit your output.

Enter the Pomodoro Technique – a revolutionary brain hacking method that remote workers have been using for years to increase focus and productivity.

The Pomodoro Technique consists of breaking your workday into 25-minute sections of work separated by five-minute breaks. Each one of these half-hour chunks is referred to as a Pomodoro. Once you’ve completed four Pomodoros, you take an extended break of 15 to 20 minutes.

These 15- to 20-minute breaks can be used for remote workers to do tasks around the house – such as folding laundry, fixing lunch, or taking a shower. This allows you to be productive with work while also taking full advantage of the fact that you’re home.

  1. Use Parkinson’s Law to Avoid Procrastination

In a satirical piece written for the Economist in 1955, British naval historian Cyril Parkinson made the following statement:

“Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.�

He would later write a book that fleshed out this idea. Eventually, people would refer to this concept as Parkinson’s Law.

In a remote work setting, Parkinson’s Law states that the time it takes to complete a work project depends on how much time you allot for it. In other words, if you give yourself eight hours, you’ll slow down and make it take eight hours. If, however, you only give yourself five yours, you’ll block out distractions and get it done in five hours.

If you’ve grown weary of procrastination and hope to finish your work faster and more efficiently, you need to set tighter deadlines.

Instead of telling a client, you’ll have the project done by next Friday, tell them you’ll have it in by next Tuesday. By tightening the time constraints, you force yourself to work more efficiently.

  1. Optimize Your Home Office for Productivity

One of the major challenges of working from home is that you’re forced to create a professional workspace in the middle of a very personal place.

But this is also one of the distinct advantages.

You have the capacity to design your own workspace – so why not optimize your at-home workspace in a way that puts your brain in the right frame of mind to be productive?

For starters, choose a room in the house that’s as far away from communal living areas as possible. In other words, being located right off the living room isn’t ideal. You’re much better off positioning a home office in the back corner of the house.

Secondly, you need natural light. It plays a catalytic role in brain performance, creativity, and focus.

Thirdly, paint your office walls a soothing color. The principles of color psychology suggest cool greens, blues, or neutrals. Avoid colors like red and orange, which provoke feelings of urgency.

Finally, eliminate distractions by avoiding clutter. While some creative minds thrive in messy environments, the vast majority of people wilt. Clutter zaps up energy and makes it hard to focus on the task at hand. By adopting a minimalist environment, you can get more done with less effort.

  1. Keep a Schedule

The human brain thrives on predictability. Remote working is far less predictable than working in an office where you’re expected to show up, take lunch, and go home at the same time each day.

If you want to give your brain a solid framework to latch onto, a consistent schedule is necessary.

Start your day by having your alarm go off at the same time every single morning.

After waking, implement a consistent routine that helps you transition from personal duties to professional responsibilities.

Start working each day simultaneously and use a couple of familiar tasks to help your brain slip into the right frame of mind.

Taking lunch at the same time is also advisable – particularly if you’re leveraging intermittent fasting.

The hardest part for most remote workers is “clocking out� at a consistent time. It’s easy to continue working and filling time until late in the evening. To prevent this from happening, try scheduling obligations in the evening. This makes it less likely that you’ll keep working.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Not all of these brain hacks and strategies will appeal to you. It’s all about finding your best approach and leveraging whatever it is that helps you achieve a state of flow.

What works for you?

How can you set yourself up for max productivity?

Your approach will differ from the next person’s – so don’t try to mimic or replicate what others are doing. Instead, become like a scientist in the laboratory. Mix, match, and blend proprietary formulas until you discover a brain hacking system that puts you on a path for success.

Image Credit: David Cassolato; Pexels

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Question Everything You Know about Your Business Processes

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There may have been a time when an organization’s automation strategy was defined primarily by siloed, ad hoc, and task-based workflows. Now, however, the most effective and impactful initiatives require business leaders to ask bigger, more challenging questions beyond simply what tasks can be automated and the ROI on cost reduction. Here is how to question everything you know about your business processes.

Successful digital transformation in today’s landscape necessitates leaders having a better picture of how things are working interconnectedly and how users are truly operating within the process boundaries to be enhanced and improved universally to improve customer outcomes.

True digital transformation does not simply digitize analog processes. It’s about integrating intelligence into business-critical processes across every facet of your business and engagement. As more companies realize they need to become digitally intelligent in a new era of digital-first consumers, accelerated automation adoption, and advancements in technology, organizations will benefit from adopting a more holistic approach to transforming their business.

Question the Status Quo

Questioning how things have always been done enables business leaders to find more effective ways to drive results.

Every business process within your organization contains an opportunity to improve outcomes, revitalize customer experiences, fix inefficiencies, or find new service opportunities for revenue generation. Here are three questions that business leaders need to ask to unlock opportunity and advance digital transformation initiatives that have the greatest impact.

  1. Do you really know your process workflows?

By their very nature, highly manual processes, such as inputting invoice data or new customer information, are prone to human error and oversight. In highly regulated industries, such as financial services and insurance, this can be problematic and can contribute to increased risk and decreased compliance. Likewise, in healthcare, inefficient processes can lead to negative patient outcomes.

Understand processes.

Understanding your processes and pinpointing potential vulnerabilities is a good first step to take before deploying automation initiatives. Then, leveraging the right solutions to automate important processes intelligently.

Negotiations

These processes include all such negotiations as mortgage and credit card applications, account opening, and business loan applications helps organizations minimize inefficiencies and inaccuracies, therefore helping facilitate improved internal and regulatory compliance.

Machine Learning

With advances in machine learning and predictive analytics technology, you can understand exactly which processes are ripe for transformation, not just automated, to drive real change. Process Intelligence is a form of process mining and discovery that provides granular insight into an organization’s ecosystem of processes and behaviors, enabling you to pinpoint opportunities for operational improvement.

Understanding how your processes are truly performing — down to knowing each worker’s performance – is indispensable to successfully deploy automation initiatives that deliver business results and accelerate tangible improvements.

  1. Are you accessing business-critical information?

You’d be surprised if you look close enough to how much paper (and fax) still exists in some processes. Those that are heavily paper-based can slow mission-critical workflows and negatively impact customer experience.

Likewise, valuable information is locked away in siloed systems. Various digital formats such as email correspondence, PDF, fax, and EDI can prevent you from having the right informatito make informed business decisions quicklyons.

Transform Content Centric Processes

Supercharge Growth

To supercharge growth and enhance profitability, organizations need to digitize and streamline content-heavy processes.

Digital

Digitizing, transforming, and automating customer forms, invoices, receipts, onboarding documents, application forms, claim submissions, and account documents can help lower administrative costs, reduce time to invoice and provide customers quicker service.

Data

When it comes to transformation projects, leveraging the right data and then sharing that data with key systems and stakeholders can be the difference between failure or success for meeting KPIs, service-level agreements, and other business outcomes.

  1. Are you getting the most out of your automation investment?

Optimizing and automating the right processes can significantly reduce costs and strengthen competitive advantage.

However, by themselves, automation platforms can only do so much, and in fact, many projects stall or fail. That’s because most automation platforms now employ software robots, which have a hard time understanding unstructured data and will repeat poorly designed workflows.

Intelligence Leveraging

Leveraging intelligence capabilities driven by OCR, natural language processing, and machine learning technologies can turn hard to process unstructured data into actionable information.

The knowledge gained is then ready for automation platforms such as robotic process automation (RPA), business process management (BPM), customer relationship management (CRM), and electronic resource planning (ERP).

Process intelligence capabilities can identify process bottlenecks or variances and recommend the best workflows for optimal efficiency.

Raising Your Organization’s Digital Intelligence

When organizations re-think the way they have traditionally approached digital transformation projects, they unlock opportunities to strengthen and revitalize their business.

Asking the right questions and leveraging the right technology enables organizations to transform critical operations and turn the vast amount of data into a wealth of meaningful, actionable information.

Automation isn’t the end goal but rather a vehicle for achieving better business outcomes.

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Why Digitizing Supply Chain Management Will Lead to Greater Efficiency in the New Normal

digitizing supply chain management

Going by Deloitte’s report on the performance of SMBs in a digital world, the majority of SMBs have not digitized their supply chain management. Since much of the world has gone digital, this means that several SMBs remain backward and struggle with inefficiency in supply management.

The digitization of supply chain operations helps companies to cut costs and save time, leading to overall increased efficiency.

While many supply chain operations would have been hampered by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as businesses reopen, a digital transformation, tailored to each company’s needs and circumstances, is necessary. Digital tools and technologies that would boost supply chain management include automation, IoT, cloud computing, and analytics.

Benefits of Digitizing SCM

1. Real-Time Visibility

According to a survey, 84% of Chief Information Security Officers admitted to the lack of visibility being their biggest challenge. Lack of visibility creates blind spots and lets vulnerability fester until operations break down significantly, and revenue and profit reduce. This begs a reimagination of supply chain management, with the focus being delivering end-to-end visibility in real-time.

Apparently, businesses need to have 70 – 90% visibility on supply chain operations to address key volatility points efficiently. Only digitization makes this possible.

2. Data Integration

Digitizing supply chain management fosters interoperability and eliminates lags that the chain would have experienced otherwise. It also helps to maintain integrity and trust among partners.

In digital supply chain management, the information does not flow linearly, but rather simultaneously, whereby each point’s details are available to every other point.

This results in smoother decision-making and collaboration from planning to execution. The ultimate benefit is the ability to meet customers’ demands responsively. According to E2open, “Collaborating earlier in the product lifecycle reduces development and turnaround time, with a marked increase in fill rates averaging 10% to 15%.�

3. Predictive Maintenance

The advantage of real-time visibility is not just repairing structural deficiencies as soon as they appear, but more in addressing them before they become obvious. Artificial intelligence and analytics particularly come into play here, significantly increasing the accuracy of predictions. In short, a digital supply chain is a predictive supply chain.

Producing too much is often as bad as producing too little. But with advanced technologies, supply chain managers can gain detailed insights into operations and make smart decisions to forestall disruptions. 

4. Cash Flow Improvement

Digitization does not only affect supply chain operations but finance as well. On the one hand, it optimizes operations, which directly helps to preserve and boost cash flow. Research shows that digitizing the supply chain can lower operational costs by up to 50% and increase revenue by 10%.

SCM Digitization Technologies

  • Internet of Things

RFID has been used to track the exact location of logistics goods and materials, rendering barcode scanners and other similar means obsolete. Radio data transfer also eases communication across channels on the chain, such that broader details, including the condition of the assets, can be shared with colleagues.

Bluetooth, NFC tags, and GPS perform similar functions on different scales. And on a higher level, there are autonomous robots. These technologies are transforming inventory monitoring and warehouse management as a whole.

IoT technology in supply chain management is useful for determining the exact location of items in real-time, tracking movement, and monitoring the items’ storage conditions. These ensure safer and smoother delivery and reduce the operational back-and-forth that characterized traditional models of authenticating items.

  • Advanced Analytics

Supply Chain Analytics is an emerging aspect of SCM that uses quantitative data to extrapolate insight and optimize decision-making about the supply chain. Supply chains are complicated, and it is necessary to have an advanced system that helps managers make sense of all the data and information being gathered.

SCA is divided into:

  • Descriptive analytics: ensuring visibility
  • Predictive analytics: projecting future trends
  • Prescriptive analytics: solving problems
  • Cognitive analytics: answering questions by mimicking human reasoning

Take, for example, predictive analytics, which monitors data patterns to determine probable future trends. Predictive analytics helps managers to intelligently forecast future demand by analyzing several variables and how they affect demand. This helps them adjust operations as necessary and ultimately eliminate unnecessary costs associated with over- or under-supplying. And of course, there is the benefit of predictive maintenance.

The use of predictive analytics by supply chain managers increased to 30% in 2019 from 17% in 2017, while 57% of non-users plan to adopt it within the next five years, according to the 2020 MHI Annual Industry Report.

  • Cloud Computing

Accenture describes cloud computing as “the engine that makes supply chains talk to each other.�

Cloud computing allows you to integrate multiple platforms and data sources for seamless operations and flexibility. Rather than hoarding information in silos, thereby hindering collaboration, the cloud uses a network model that makes resources and data available on demand. This heightened responsiveness and agility boost the speed and efficiency of operations.

Also, cloud computing features a usage-based approach that makes them highly scalable. You can quickly meet new demands by ‘plugging in’ more resources and tools. And you can likewise scale down to focus on a particular niche or market segment.

In any case, it is understandable that the bleak state of cloud cybersecurity has made many companies reluctant to move their operations, including SCM, to the cloud. But frankly, this is up to your cloud provider and overall security consciousness. Measures to protect your system from hacking and data loss abound.

  • Automation

Based on a survey of professionals, warehouse automation receives more investment (57%) than any other supply chain technology, including predictive analytics (47%) and IoT (41%).

The adoption of automation in supply chain operations has been on a steady rise in recent years. A Mckinsey report identifies the following three factors as responsible: a growing shortage of labor, an explosion in demand from online retailers, and some intriguing technological advances.

Automating automatable tasks frees up labor for tasks that require strictly human input. But it is one thing to recognize that automation drives efficiency; it is another actually to adopt it. And in reality, most companies still lean towards manual rather than automated operations. This is due to specific challenges, such as fluctuating customer demands. This particularly puts the biggest companies at an unequal advantage.

However, there are many options available when it comes to automation. A business only needs to understand its market to make the right choices concerning automating their work.

Conclusion

Despite the abounding benefits and potentials of digitizing supply chain management, it is not without its obstacles. For instance, in some cases, government regulations are behind in innovation, mandating manual approaches even when there are better, digitized options.

Also, the process of digitizing the supply chain is not a small undertaking and is one that must be carried out in bits. With a sudden overhaul, you risk upsetting your entire business model.

Digitizing supply chain management leads to efficiency, and the biggest companies acknowledge this and act appropriately. According to Gartner, “by 2023, at least 50% of large global companies will be using AI, advanced analytics, and IoT in supply chain operations.� It is the SMBs that must strive to catch up and optimize its supply chain with digital tools.

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HR Automation – The Way to Ensure Stable Business Growth

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We are living in the age of technology and innovation. Traditional processes and workflows have become outdated. Operations and process models are being reinvented to increase cost-effectiveness. However, not all businesses are adapting to the revolutionized business process, which results in increased costs, a lack of efficiency, and halted growth. Outdated processes end up damaging your business and cause loss of customers.

First and foremost, you need to consider which processes add value to the foundation of your business. To your employees. Businesses often focus on acquiring and retaining clients and customers, all the while neglecting HR processes. This works well initially, but as organizations grow, problems due to lack of process start piling up.

HR management is one of the key pillars of any business.HR processes ensure the recruitment of new employees, training professionals, and ensuring compliance with local labor laws.

Today automation is becoming part of a continuous transformation of HR processes. The main task is to release department employees from routine work, digitize the paper processes, and leave more time for planning and strategy. Thus, business reduces costs and time spent on previously inefficient HR processes.

By automating human resources management, organizations can quickly design, optimize, integrate, and implement the required services at a significantly lower cost. With the right implementation, HR automation can bring indispensable perks.

Just check out some benefits of HR automation:

  • Increased productivity through rapid data processing and sharing
  • Reduction of staff turnover due to increased employee involvement
  • Reduced storage and printing costs associated with paper processing
  • Stay away from the risk of non-compliance or policy violations.
  • Increase organizational growth through effective recruitment at optimal operating costs

It is necessary to identify the most vulnerable spots in the HR workflow accurately to reach these benefits. Typically, the most critical aspects are:

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1. Onboarding

Integrating an employee into all work processes is still one of the most “manualâ€� HR processes. It includes verification, providing access to new employees’ tools, raising requests for devices, and much more. Due to the software, even such processes may be automated.

The onboarding software for employees offers a simple checklist to which all users involved in the process can refer. In a few hours, the new employee will have access to corporate standards, all the essential documents will be delivered just in time to the mail, and maintenance specialists will equip his workspace remotely.

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2. Time Tracking and Vacation requests

In short, manual time tracking is ineffective. Time tracking software automatically marks when an employee is in and out of work, allowing the manager to track how many hours an employee has spent on a particular task and evaluate its effectiveness. HR processes become more organized, rapid, and efficient.

Vacation approval documents are the headache of any HR manager. Preparing financial documents, coordinating with supervisors, and calculating salaries manually slows down the process. With the automated leave management process, all this can be done automatically, without getting stuck in someone’s mailbox.

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3. Assessment

Assessment is a permanent HR process that monitors, measures, and analyzes an employee’s performance concerning business goals. The software allows ensuring repeatable quality and increasing professionalism of each employee in the long perspective.

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4. Exit interviews

Exit interviews play an important role in increasing staff involvement. However, exit interviews conducted on paper and manually are tedious, time-consuming, and inefficient. By automating the Exit interview process, enterprises can recognize potential problems and derive data that can be used to improve retention rates.

The most crucial issue is what spot of HR activity should be transformed into your company and how? What software requirements should be adjusted specially to your business needs and company growth opportunities?

It is even more complicated to take actions to digitize each area of HR activity without unnecessary spinning for both department personnel and employees of the whole company.

However, if you expect us to tell you how to automate your HR department in a few clicks, we have to disappoint you. We do not possess a universal solution for automating your HR processes. Each business is unique.

To create the right software, a digital transformation consultant needs to be part of your business. We are ready to be involved in the process. Due to the fact that only the right software gives the right result.

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