Automation: Officially a “mega-trend” with SSOs

Written by Jordan McMahon in Automating BPO's on March 4, 2015

IAOPThe Shared Services and Outsourcing Network recently released their must-read State of the Shared Services Industry Report, with a focus on the topic of the mega-trends today that are disrupting the service delivery industry. Among them, not surprisingly, is automation, joining other hot initiatives like optimizing service delivery, analytics, expansion of customer service, and evolving talent and skills for employees.

Where are SSOs at with automation?

 

Automation is on the SSO radar

Robotic process automation has already become a familiar disruptive force for BPOs, some of which have already implemented robotic process automation (RPA) in their service offerings as a differentiating factor, or some who are eyeing it as a must-address initiative in the next few months. The spotlight that has fallen on this technology is now gently illuminating shared services organizations, looking to see what type of impact it will have on them. According to the report, “Anecdotal feedback on future investment plans includes: data warehousing, ‘everything automation,’ bring-your-own-device, predictive analytics, knowledge management, and business intelligence in investment plans.” Statements like this indicate that at this point, the discussion on RPA is primarily spoken in future tense, but in the very near future it will shift to present.

How automation plays into other shared services mega-trends

Automation is one of the mega-trends itself, but what’s interesting is the role it can and does play in some of the other trends mentioned in the report:

Optimizing service delivery

“Supporting client growth with reduced budgets” is top of mind for shared services organizations. RPA software at its core is built to facilitate scalability for companies, giving them a way to cut costs initially, and then again and again as their automation models mature, and as organizations become increasingly “automation dense.” With “continuous improvement” being listed as a #1 way to drive process excellence (according to 71% of survey respondents), it makes sense why SSOs are considering how automation and other technology can help achieve that goal.

Data analytics

A source of struggle for enterprise organization in analytics and reportings is depending on a “single source of truth” with their data; being able to rely on not only data cleanliness, but also data continuity. RPA software helps systems talk to each other, integration applications non-invasively so that data fields can auto-populate in multiple places and be relied on as a single source of truth.

Customer service

Part of the reason automation is compelling to the Fortune 1000 is because of its core essence: it’s error-free, it’s around-the-clock, and it’s fast. With productivity and quality remaining an important focus for SSOs when it comes to customer service and satisfaction, automation is another way to keep customer retention rates high and complaints low.

An upcoming RPA discussion will shed even more light on the topic

Hopefully you’re attending the North American Shared Services and Outsourcing Week coming up next week in Orlando, and if you are, you can bet that all of these mega-trends will be discussed. RPA specifically will be discussed in the context of disruptive technology in a panel with Genpact, Everest, and Automation Anywhere that’s bound to generate some compelling discussions.

The outsourcing world is being rocked by RPA software. How? Find out in this RPA for outsourcers content hub.