Making Your Business COVID Ready

For a business, unprecedented times demand an innovative and robust solution. No one expected COVID-19 to throw BAU activities out-of-track. Flights, trains, personal vehicles, contact centers, everything has come to a standstill, except a few organizations who had a smart Business Continuity Plan in place.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the old saying — nothing is more precious than human life; however certain businesses such as banking, hospitals, telecom, food, power, and pharma must continue to keep that life going.

Education institutes, medical centers, and FMCG banks, among others, are relying on an on-premise operation to run classes, consult patients, place purchase orders, or approve invoices and approve credit applications, respectively. The lockdown has led to the suspension of critical services, thus obscuring the reality to both customers and businesses.

How can businesses continue uninterrupted in these challenging times? Is it possible to maintain the scale of operations? How can one be released of mundane tasks to give precedence to human life? All these incessant questions have disturbed private and public organizations, looking for a reliable solution that can offer uninterrupted BAU experience.

Automation has never been this critical. With 5G connectivity making inroads, the remote operations seem more tangible and acceptable. A recent study by HBS stated that trust-based culture and higher productivity would be a few of the outcomes of social isolation due to reliance on technology during the COVID-19 lockdown. Remote working tools such as Slack, WebEx, Teams, and Zoom have seen never-before adoption rates (with Teams taking maintenance downtime).

While the above tools have been in place for long, assisting remote work operations, enterprises were challenged by disconnected activities that demanded constant human presence, operating out of legacy applications or a secure environment. Processes such as 4 Eye sign-off, invoice approval & disbursement, and transaction reconciliation required staff to be available round-the-clock working out of company premises.

Few business leaders, keeping abreast with intelligent automation, have adopted Robotic Process Automation to not only better define their BCP, but also to scale their operations.

RPA, with its low-code automation platform and hyperautomation capability, applies native Artificial Intelligence capability to discover business processes, automate them and orchestrate using a cohesive platform. A thin client-based orchestrator lets process owners, on their handheld devices, remotely monitor and control digital workers running the enterprise processes.

Focused on reducing the automation cycle and increasing the scale of operations, specific ready-to-deploy skills can be accessed from the Marketplace, that let businesses immediately kick-off their RPA journey. Among these skills, Digital Workers pre-trained in business operations such as invoice reconciliation, talent management on SAP, productivity management on O365, and client management via CRM tool Salesforce let businesses realize the key benefits of automation in a shorter timeframe. Once the solution is deployed, the day-to-day operations that must continue uninterrupted at office premises or behind a secure environment such as Citrix can run without any human intervention.

A controversial report by BCG predicts that the lockdown, resulting from social isolation mandate, may continue for a more extended period, leaving many individual contributors overwhelmed by the pipeline of outstanding tasks. A readily accessible personal assistant that could run non-stop to address scheduled demand is the need of the hour.

Enterprise Personal Digital Workers are integrated/built-in to certain applications or installed on personal machines to reduce the workload of regular asks and are available 24×7 to run without any assistance.

Never before have health and hygiene been this important. While social distancing may help flatten the COVID-19 curve, driverless vehicles, contactless store purchases, or real-time traffic management have made a strong point that — Artificial Intelligence, with constant feedback and on-demand assistance from human — will drive Automation Singularity.

Automation Singularity defines a state wherein human specialists drive customer orientation using their creativity and empathy and are complemented by digital workers with extreme productivity and consistency. The feedback mechanism and monitoring can happen remotely, driving excellence in automation.

AssistEdge has been running non-stop critical operations at global enterprises in pharma, telecom, and manufacturing with a scale of 500+ unattended digital workers in a single environment.

EdgeVerve, with its 300+ enterprise clients and values inherited from Infosys, offers free AssistEdge licenses to ensure BAU continues, while human lives stay secure in these challenging times.

With free access to AssistEdge Academy and an active community forum engaging 10,000+ RPA enthusiasts, citizen developers can now learn and automate their critical processes while maintaining social distancing.

The impact of COVID-19 on insurance companies & customers: How can automation help?

The world is going through an unprecedented situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. None of the regions have remained unaffected by this disease. It is an unforeseen situation in which most of the world population is under a lockdown or restriction of movement. This leads to new challenges for all the industries and businesses on how they continue to service their existing and new customers with a reduced workforce.

The situation created by COVID-19 being a health emergency is generating plenty of work for insurance companies, where customers are looking for answers and faster turnaround on insurance claims. It has led to many customers trying to get in touch with customer support teams of insurance firms across the world. With strict restrictions in place across all the major countries on the movement of people, it has led to a dramatic reduction in the availability of employees and support staff, as remote working is a challenge. In this situation, Robotics Process Automation (RPA) and Chatbots powered by Machine Learning capabilities can help in bridging the gap.

Automation can help insurance companies in below areas to sail through this situation:

AssistEdge provides a cohesive automation platform through its products like AssistEdge RPA 18.0 and AssistEdge Engage 1.0. AssistEdge RPA 18.0 provides the capabilities to build and run both “Unattended” and “Attended” intelligent automations. AssistEdge Engage 1.0 brings in AI-driven automation in the area of customer support services, which helps you in making transformational changes through its capability of providing 360-degree customer view, guided assistance for agents, and one-click smart automations.

What we discussed above are only few areas from insurance industry, but automation can play a big role in other processes also like underwriting, policy management or regulatory compliance. Automation can not only help insurance companies in managing the current crisis successfully but also helps them build capabilities for the future.

Automation: Assuring “customer service” during COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all parts of the enterprise, and it varies dramatically for each department. Mitigating the impact of the crisis and ensuring business continuity is the need of the hour. These unprecedented times require everyone to evaluate how contact centers are leveraged & how contact center employees can deliver quality customer experience in a remote setup. The emotional state of consumers and business and various macro-economic factors adds up to the challenge. But this also presents an opportunity for the organizations to excel by providing compassionate customer service so that customers feel involved.

The strategic decision-makers who are heading to the drawing board to re-strategize the working model for a customer service department, on a broad level will have the following questions to ensure business continuity:

The solution to these questions can be clubbed in two broad categories:

An optimal route for organizations would be to have an attended automation product to empower customer service teams with features that solve the problem. EdgeVerve, an Infosys subsidiary, provides one of the leading automation products — AssistEdge Engage, which is not only easy to integrate and deploy but also helps cater to the problem at hand currently. The in-built product capabilities such as single sign-on, availability of most frequently used data of customers in a single view, and one-click attended automation, among others, makes it easier for the agent to resolve queries. Any agent would need help on a situational basis when handling a customer request; a step-by-step AI-enabled guide that is available suggests the next best action that can be taken by an agent for resolution. This would ensure that agents are able to maintain the average handle time even in the new setup keeping a check on operational costs as well.

While all of us try to fight this pandemic, every organization’s leadership must prepare immediate roadmaps to bring back business to normal. This also gives every leadership time to go back to the drawing board, and develop new capabilities, find better working tools that would make them ready for long-term operational challenges in the times to come.

How is AI helping banks expedite the lending process amidst COVID-19?

Read the blog to learn how we can help banks and financial institutions automate their loan application process quickly and accurately, in turn, assisting small businesses to stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted small businesses across the world. Businesses are facing unprecedented economic disruption, loss of business, and are compelled to adapt to new ways of working. Moreover, millions of people across the globe are filing for unemployment relief over the past few weeks.

With these unforeseen challenges, National and State governments are offering financial assistance in the form of relief loan packages, designed to help small businesses navigate the crisis. Small business owners are applying for loans through their banks to keep their workers on the payroll during the pandemic.

This has led to banks getting inundated with a massive volume of loan application requests from small businesses, all of which must be reviewed and approved in a short time. Processing of loan application requests involves specific steps, from loan underwriting to verification checks and approvals. There also needs to be a mechanism to authenticate the small business enterprises applying for the loan, by extracting critical employee payroll data needed for approving the loan application. The failure to process loan application requests on time leads to a huge backlog and customer dissatisfaction.

This is where banks and financial institutions need a solution that can harness information and insights locked away in unstructured documents and automate the manual process done traditionally by banks in double-quick time.

For example, EdgeVerve’s IDP solution platform Nia DocAI, leverages Computer Vision, NLP and ML/DL capabilities to automate bank lending and loan processing by extracting critical data from multiple documents such as loan application forms. This enables the underwriters and loan officers to make quicker decisions, process applications faster, and streamline workflows.

See Nia DocAI in action: Nia DocAI expedites loan processing for a large US-based bank

Conclusion

With an unprecedented increase in loan applications by small businesses, banks need to automate tedious tasks in loan processing such as extracting information from the lender’s forms and Intelligent document identification and information extraction from applicant documents.

Nia DocAI can accelerate the bank lending & loan application processing with high accuracy while providing traceability for risk and audit.

Nia DocAI

Nia DocAI is a solution platform that harnesses information and insights locked away in unstructured documents. It automates the end-to-end document processing lifecycle from ingestion to consumption, using AI capabilities. It enables intelligent processing of documents such as loan application forms, invoices, waybills, account receivables, and policy documents, among others.

Contact our team to schedule a demo to learn how our Nia DocAI solutions can enable financial institutions to support small businesses with their loan requirements.

Mitigating Risks and Reducing Overheads with Application Usage Insights during COVID-19 Crisis

Today, the world is facing unprecedented headwinds causing economic disruptions. While the world is fighting the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are in the process of adopting new norms to ensure their organization continues to deliver value to the customers. The gradual implementation of work-from-home policies across the organization imposes operational risks as well as a few overheads. Organizations with a history of operating in a closed-loop system are now opening their applications to be accessed from home.

Virtual mechanisms not only allow employees to connect and access these applications from anywhere but also help organizations to reduce overheads, ensure security, and rationalize application usage by monitoring:

Monitoring such information can be a daunting task when numerous applications become susceptible to a new network. Automated process discovery products, while discovering the day-to-day process steps performed by a user, can also help in application tracking and rationalization in these challenging times.

Process discovery products capture key digital interactions that employees make with an enterprise application. This granular interaction data empirically captured across all the employees forms the basis of application usage reporting. The application usage data captured by process discovery provides an insight into how employees are using the application by providing reports on:

In these dire times, such insights help organizations in endless ways. From keeping operational risks at bay to identifying any unnecessary overheads on their IT infrastructure by taking actions like sun-setting applications that are unused, optimizing license usages, and disabling any older version.

AssistEdge Discover is a leading process discovery product that captures and leverages user’s digital interactions to create business process maps and transformational insights that aids enterprises in process improvement, automation, and efficiency. Powered by empirical data, the outcomes are free from human biases providing a powerful foundation for operational excellence and continuous improvement.

Process Recording by SMEs for agents working from home to provide a Standard Operating Procedure

Business Continuity is something that enterprises tend to adhere to theoretically. Most companies have a plan at place but only on paper, leading to managers and leaders gasping for a course of action during this unprecedented time of crisis. The sudden focus on business continuity can be perplexing to some of us. Why is Business Continuity the most mentioned keyword currently among top CXOs globally? Why is there a sudden focus on Change Management? That’s because the world, as we know, is at present in dire straits. We are amid an economic meltdown owing to the recent pandemic that has engulfed humanity — the COVID-19. Due to the immense possibility of human-to-human transmission of the virus and nearly a global average of 5-6% mortality, if affected, organizations are taking the necessary precautions. They are going to great lengths to ensure that their employees do not face the wrath of this pandemic by coming to the workplace physically and by not adhering to the social distancing norms that must be practiced during these turbulent times. Even if we somehow overcome this disruption, we’re unaware of the collateral damage that we’ll have at our hand and how businesses, especially in the Travel, Hospitality, and Retail industries, would operate post this pandemic. Companies are looking for solutions that will work as a contingency plan for weeks, if not months, to come. One of the immediate solutions that organizations across the world implemented was allowing employees to ‘Work From Home (WFH).’

But does that solve the problem operationally? Well, as convenient as it might sound from a business continuity perspective, the reality is a bit afar. Operations in physical presence are usually collaborative, where an employee abides by a specific operating procedure that is standardized across a business function. Working in silos, on the other hand, defeats the purpose altogether. The chances are that WFH operating protocols and procedures won’t be followed, or even if followed, will result in erroneous transactions and human errors that will have an overall impact on process excellence.

So how do we address such a situation at hand currently or also in the future? Process Discovery can be one of the viable solutions that helps address the ambiguity around process excellence attributed to employees working from home. AssistEdge Discover is a market-leading process discovery product that captures and leverages digital interactions to create business process maps and transformational insights that aids enterprises in process improvement, automation, and efficiency. Free from human biases, the business process maps and insights generated by the analytics engine in AssistEdge Discover provide a powerful foundation for inter-functional collaboration, process excellence, and continuous improvement.

Benefits of Process Recording for employees working from home

SMEs for a business function can record a particular process with the help of a desktop recording tool, which will capture every user action across different applications relevant to the process. Moreover, there is also a scope of addressing exception handling by recording processes of different scenarios and addressing the complexity that comes with it. Once the recordings are done and dusted, SMEs can feed it to a neural network algorithm, which will automatically clean the additional noise or events that are irrelevant to the process and create a holistic map view of the process with different variations as per the complexity. This can be directly exported as a Business Requirement Document, which will help employees connecting remotely to gather accurate information on the operating procedures and standards. The process variations will also help employees understand what actions to perform from an exception handling point of view. This will result in minimal human error, accurate process transactions, and an overall spike in process excellence standards set across a business function, which can be extrapolated to an organization level subsequently.

In the post-pandemic era, most enterprises would be overwhelmed by the complexity of a work-from-home model affecting their business delivery. If we juxtapose it to organizations who are early adopters of Process Discovery, the foresightedness will bring in enhanced brand value and a content customer base while leading the digital transformation of an organization.

Stronger Together – Committed to Keeping You Up and Running.

These are uncertain and challenging times. My thoughts are with everyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enterprises across the world are taking measures to ensure business continuity and adapt to new ways of working. Between video calls with our colleagues and clients, and discussions with our family, we are all trying to imagine the world post-COVID-19. Nothing is the same and probably will never be. Our job is to prepare, respond, and continue to drive forward.

To extend support to our colleagues, clients, partners, and community, we have put the following initiatives in place, ensuring business continuity and resilience.

A Safe Working Environment for Our Colleagues

I want to thank all of our employees for their courage, drive, and ownership in what is possibly one of the most challenging phases of their careers. Every single day I am humbled and immensely grateful for their spirit, inspiring energy, and desire to go above and beyond. We are doing everything within our power to ensure they continue to deliver their best while assuring their safety alongside that of their families. In line with WHO recommendations and Government of India directives, we have advised all our employees, in India and across the world, to work from home, while ensuring the highest standards of service delivery, security, and confidentiality. It is here that our business continuity plans have been effective in ensuring smooth operations without any significant disruption. I thank our BCP and IT teams for the stellar role that they have played in ensuring business continuity at EdgeVerve and, consequently, for our clients.

With the majority of our global workforce able to work remotely, a dedicated 24-hour helpdesk supports all employees in emergencies. We have mobilized laptops for the workforce, relocated desktops to home environments, reimaged personal devices for official use, and updated our information security policies to minimize security risks further. Additionally, we are continuously improving our virtual private network bandwidth and even enabling high-speed broadband connectivity at employee homes.

Business Continuity and Client Excellence

We are in the midst of a healthcare crisis most of us have ever experienced. The panic is understandable, as is the uncertainty of the future. From a client delivery standpoint, it is business as usual at EdgeVerve. We are committed to helping our client businesses operate at full efficiency by offering our unwavering support during this difficult time. It is of paramount importance for us to deliver on our client commitments in line with the high standards they expect of us. To this end, we have put in place our world-class business continuity plans and continue to monitor the situation 24/7. As unfamiliar as this situation may be, our culture of continuous learning, rapid innovation, and agility mean that we are well placed to address any issues that may crop up. We have also launched a host of initiatives to help our clients leverage the power of AI and automation to create value.

Using AI and Automation to navigate the COVID-19 crisis

We understand that our clients need our help now more than ever to ensure business continuity and employee performance. To this effect, we are implementing several propositions across our product range to help businesses harness AI and automation in these challenging times:

  • Automation – We are extending further support to the existing customers of AssistEdge by offering digital workers to tide over any disruptions caused by the pandemic. Enterprises can deploy these bots for 24*7 business process support. All EdgeVerve clients will have access to:

  • AI Chatbot – With the disruption to business operations and working conditions, enterprises will be facing a lot of queries from employees on COVID-19 and work-related information. To help them address this, they can avail our special offer (limited number) that includes the setup and customization of the Infosys Nia Employee Chatbot to answer frequently asked questions. Organizations can use the bot to reduce panic, engage with employees, and share relevant information from internal HR policies as well as external information sources like WHO, CDC, and local state news.

  • Targeted Replenishment – The impact of COVID-19 on modern supply chains is apparent, and you would have come across the news of essential supplies going out-of-stock. Due to frenzied buying, stocks were depleted in some areas and available in excess in others. To address this concern, we are inviting manufacturers to use TradeEdge Market Connect, our data-as-a-service platform for free until June 30th, 2020. This will help them with near real-time visibility into stocks and inventory positions and plan for targeted replenishment of essential commodities.

  • Contracts Analysis – To help our clients understand the risk of the Force Majeure clause in their contracts along with its applicability during the COVID-19 crisis, we have created a Nia Contracts Analysis solution. Nia Contracts Analysis can help digitize and identify all Force Majeure contracts quickly and accurately so you can take the appropriate action faster.

Partners

Our dedicated partner team is working with all the partners to answer queries, thus ensuring business continuity and offering them counsel on how their clients can get the best out of our products.

Budding Professionals

For anyone looking to improve their knowledge of RPA, it would be immensely helpful to understand how to design automation solutions. That’s why we’re offering complete access to the AssistEdge Community Edition, a flagship learning tool of our industry-leading automation platform. Sign up today and discover how you can create bots right from the comfort of your home.

Difficult as they are, it is in these circumstances that our best shines. We are a team, and we are stronger together. As an Infosys subsidiary, we are aligned with Infosys Samarpan – a CSR program, and other initiatives, through which we will be partnering with NGOs to provide rations and meals to the poor and underprivileged. We are also working with NGOs to provide personal protective equipment to the medical staff at various hospitals. Again, I would like to express my gratitude to our employees who contribute not just through our projects, but also in an individual capacity to help those in need.

If you have any recommendations or if you would like to send us any feedback, please write to us at contact@edgeverve.com.

Stay healthy. Stay safe.

Warm Regards,
Atul

Resolving IT issues in a remote set-up with Process Discovery

With the COVID-19 reaching pandemic status, nearly all industries, from Travel and Healthcare to Life Sciences and the Public Sector, are trying to find new ways to protect themselves against the spread of the virus as well as mitigate its long-term effects on the economy. Most companies across geographies and sectors are following the ‘work-from-home’ movement to try and ensure business continuity during these uncertain times, thus minimizing the impact on operations. Many government and medical agencies have also issued guidelines for companies and individual practitioners to work in a remote setting. However, economists around the world believe that such a set-up could potentially generate a worldwide productivity slump, introduce unprecedented challenges, and threaten economic growth for many years to come.

Let’s take support functions of an organization, for instance. Support functions such as HR, Admin, Legal, Finance, and IT Support are accustomed to working in an office setup where connectivity problems are a rare issue. These functions are likely to face major challenges due to the shift to working from remote locations. Out of these, the support function that will probably be affected the most would be IT Support. Issues range from hiccups in VPN accesses to problems in system compliances, network and system accesses, system crashes, and application errors, among others. In an office setup, the IT Support team can work with the employees to see where they are going wrong. They can even keep an employee’s laptop in the IT Support lab for inspection and try and recreate the error scenario to identify the root cause. However, due to remote working, carrying out such activities is no longer possible.

Automated Process Discovery, while discovering process nuances at its core, comes to the rescue in such a scenario. A process discovery technology is one that can capture all the digital interactions made by the employees at a granular level like keystrokes, mouse clicks, and copy and paste operations. Details of the exact transaction the user made, each value entered, screen viewed, button clicked along with screenshots can be captured. Additionally, it can capture the entire flow of transactions that the users have made, and all the applications that are being used.

The data captured is then documented in terms of detailed steps leading to the issue. Moreover, to provide a visual representation of the data, task flow maps are also generated. All that the employees need to do is to have process discovery running at their end. Once the product has provided its outputs, the IT support team needs to go through the outputs to analyze the RCA as quickly as possible and provide a fix accordingly.

Automated Process Discovery can enable the IT Support function to complete their IT tickets remotely, and much faster. This will, in turn, save employees’ efforts of — trying to troubleshoot the issue on their own, sharing umpteen system logs, or getting on a call and continuously sharing their screen to try and resolve the issue. Overall, it will save not only time but also crucial infrastructure. Employees can continue to focus on their work without disruptions and get their issues resolved in time, thereby leading to happier employees and more productive outcomes even in this hour of crisis.

AssistEdge Discover is a leading process discovery product that captures and leverages user’s digital interactions to create business process maps and transformational insights that aids organizations in process improvement, automation, and efficiency. Powered by empirical data, the outcomes are free from human biases providing a powerful foundation for operational excellence and continuous improvement.

Increasing your teams’ productivity in remote working conditions amidst a business disruptive phase

Read how Process Discovery helps improve team efficiency during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Amid the spread of COVID-19, which has officially reached a pandemic status, most of the global organizations have rolled out mandatory work-from-home policies to ensure business continuity. Keeping client deliveries intact by allowing employees to work from home is the new business norm. While it significantly helps save long hours of commute and provides an opportunity to be with near and dear ones, it also imposes a new set of overheads for many of the employees, in terms of staying on task in a new environment as well as maintaining the productivity level.

To improve efficiency and productivity, organizations have enabled virtual mechanisms to connect with the team. In-person collaboration is essential to keep the team motivated and is necessary for creativity and innovation. Employees are also encouraged to:

Accurately logging the information mentioned above is a burden for each employee, and auditing them at an individual level is probably a daunting task for the management too. Automated process discovery, while discovering process nuances at its core, is the need of the hour in these challenging times.

These process discovery products capture all the digital interactions (such as keystrokes, mouse clicks, and copy and paste data) made by an employee with different enterprise and web applications. The data captured at this granularity form a base for the necessary audit and adherence reports as well as automatically helps generate attendance and productivity views of departments and individual employees. Below is a glimpse of a login-logout adherence report and application interactions trend.

Since these insights and adherence reports are backed up with the empirical nature of the captured data, it will also help accelerate approval efforts, which will ultimately:

AssistEdge Discover is a leading process discovery product that captures and leverages user’s digital interactions to create business process maps and transformational insights that aids organizations in process improvement, automation, and efficiency. Powered by empirical data, the outcomes are free from human biases providing a powerful foundation for operational excellence and continuous improvement.

When are you automating the attendance and productivity tracking in your enterprise for remote workers?