Organizations try and automate the most manual of processes when they attempt Business Process Re-engineering. SO uses automation beyond prevailing norms, which is called cognitive computing. This leverages RPA based on software robots or AI. Human-like reasoning and reviewing capabilities help to work in complete autonomy with bare minimum human intervention. Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities used in Chatbots enables them to strike intelligent conversations or handle queries.
Back office operations become increasingly productive, giving employees the bandwidth to handle complex workloads. Quality of work and resource utilization gets a significant boost.
SO uses big data analytics and machine learning also known as cognitive analytics. Machines gain the capability to “learn” on their own. Data gets collected through machine to machine interactions (M2M) and enriches the data reservoirs with any possible communication channel.
Analytics deployed in the right place can identify patterns in data and bring out meaningful interpretations. Descriptive, prescriptive and predictive analytics can help analyze customer behavior, estimate demands and prevent potential failures.
Real-time data removes bottlenecks from every business process. As the name suggests, it captures events as it happens and there is no time lag in actual data reception.
It helps in getting live statuses on transactions, while helping in addressing irregularities faster.
“Smart Contracts” employing Blockchain technology has the potential to make finances and transactions more transparent. Decentralized databases are shared among permitted parties, which removes dependencies on intermediate parties. Changes can
be made only after mutual agreement of related parties.
Transparency in finances and revenues creates trust with stakeholders, with no scope for data manipulation. It saves time, and conflict. Removes third-party risk management programs from the value chain.
Connected and Digitized
The virtual data warehouse is a gold mine for any service organization. Strong analytics in place can bring forth meaningful insights. Connected devices serve as a gateway for seamless data exchange and is an enabler of greater interaction and collaboration.
Data points from every device could give unparalleled insights and provide immense scope for improvement in decisions and solutions.
What can “Smart Operations” do for an organization?
SO is the next logical step towards futuristic re-engineering aimed at reimagining back-office operations. It will bring in many benefits.The foundation of competitive advantage is based on operational effectiveness. SO will bring about the adoption of best practices across the value chain. This will make organizations lean and agile.There will be a substantial reduction in terms of waste and finances as a significant amount of rework due to quality issues is stemmed, and wait time due to other process dependencies are eliminated.SO will make an organization transparent in terms of finances or revenues for its stakeholders. Since “Smart Contracts” reduce the scope of manipulation, it will help build trust.Organizations will have richer R&D with automation of the most manual process giving employees significant bandwidth to devote time towards innovation and creativity.
What are the challenges while implementing “Smart Operations”?
Organizations will face myriad challenges while trying to implement smart operations in its business processes.
A significant part of the invested financial resources required to deploy updated software, advanced automation, analytics, tools and, suitable competency building training programs for employees can get wasted due to legacy work processes, mindsets and culture.
Employees with technological expertise are essential for successful SO execution. Organizations might be required to outsource technology-specific work to a third-party or undertake mergers and acquisitions to acquire the relevant capabilities or tools.
Consolidated databases are highly unstructured. Strong analytics is a mandate to identify patterns and insights. Stronger protection from cybersecurity and third-party management needs to be in place to prevent data from theft or leakage. Before proceeding to implement SO, organizations need a thorough understanding of its understated needs.
Towards a smarter future
SO has dramatically changed manufacturing, where ideas like “digital twins”, RFID chip integrated in consumer durables and 3-D printing have changed industry perceptions. In service industry, it promises the potential to enhance the quality of solutions. Blockchain, Big Data analytics, IoT, holographic augmented reality, etc. will become the soul of the IT infrastructure. SO will benefit an organization in terms of cost and optimize efforts resulting in more time for innovation and creativity. It will bring about greater trust and collaboration among the stakeholders due to greater transparency and security.
Organizations need to embrace Smart Operations, the upcoming industry standard after Lean and Six-Sigma, to stay ahead in the race.