Using Intelligent Automation to Ensure Business Continuity Amidst Natural Calamities and Pandemics
Updated: Aug 27, 2020
By: Siddharth Wadehra, Steer Head of Research
Natural calamities and pandemics have drawn a lot of attention as of late. The African Swine Flu (ASF), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), or the more recent Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak have had a massive impact on economies and businesses globally. Companies have suffered substantial losses in revenues and profits as China, which is at the very center of the COVID-19 pandemic, is experimenting work-from-home at such a massive scale for the first time in history. The argument which we pose in this current situation is: How can technology, more specifically automation, ensure business continuity and help minimize the risk and the potential impact of natural disasters and pandemic outbreak?
The traditional approach is clearly not working
Despite having detailed business recovery plans in case of disasters, natural calamities or a pandemic outbreak such as the recent COVID-19 spread have brought companies to their knees. Almost all industries have taken a hit and regulatory policies have ensured that employees do not turn up for work in factories and offices. To reinforce business continuity, organizations must augment their manual system management processes and their existing disaster recovery methods with protection that’s more comprehensive, which is where intelligent automation would be useful.
Using automation suites can help automatically perform service management workflows in times of uncertainties. Intelligent process automation platforms can be programmed to make decisions independently based on business policies and impact. In the event where there is a need for human intervention, decisions can be made simpler with a tap of a button in response to notifications on mobile phones wherever the manager might be.
This article outlines some of the key benefits of intelligent process automation and lays out exactly how it can turn out to be the savior when a pandemic or a natural calamity hits the country.
The Benefits of Intelligent Automation in Times of Pandemic or Natural Calamities
1. Streamlined processes (with internal and external stakeholders)
One of the key benefits of automation is the fact that it streamlines and digitizes the processes involving both internal employees and external vendors and stakeholders. With predefined rules that trigger actions or alerts, automation ensures that there is minimum dependence on the human element. Paper forms and bills are completely eliminated through creating digital versions of it securely stored on the cloud and easily accessible when needed. Automated reports eliminate the manual process of information collection and formatting to ensure that the management has access to a periodic overview of performance even during times when the business activity might be at a bare minimum. Streamlining processes ensure that all the actors play their part in the system which is orchestrated effectively by the automation suite. You should ensure that processes of all key departments have been completely automated with actors aware of their roles and well-defined rules and escalation matrix in place. This guarantees that there is minimum disruption to business as usual, even though offices might be functioning at a sub-optimal capacity.
2. Seamless integration with third-party tools
Understandably, no business functions in isolation. While automating processes, there could be instances where the need to reference data sets residing in an isolated system or connects to ERP’s or other accounting and payroll systems arises. The ideal automation suite should allow easy integrations with tools that would allow your organization to continue business activities even when your IT team doesn’t turn up at the office. A number of executives complain that data often reside in isolated systems that often do not communicate with each other. Having an RPA component within your automation suite would complement your business process automation capabilities and ensure your organization is always business-ready for despite any pandemic or natural calamity.
3. Minimized application disruption
The likelihood of your network getting serious interruption during calamities is high and if your organization hosts data stored in local servers in an affected building or on a compromised network, you would not be able to access it even at times when you need it the most. Additionally, if you have paper trails or hard copies of sensitive data in unsecured locations; the organization is vulnerable to having sensitive information potentially exposed to unauthorized parties. Having your key information and processes securely updated on a cloud-based automation suite allows for the ease of access and protection of the organization’s information.
4. Increased scalability
Automation ensures that the organization is able to effectively manage heterogeneous environments with a single dashboard. With traditional business continuity processes, necessary documents might be scattered throughout many departments, taking additional time to coordinate and potentially leading to costly mistakes when an unplanned interruption occurs. Moreover, they may be operating in completely different systems, too. Automating key processes allows the much-needed orchestration between these heterogeneous systems to ensure scalability. Additionally, minimum human intervention completely eliminates the potential for error. Overall, it ensures that the system is prepared for any natural calamity or pandemic that threaten business continuity.
5. Mitigated compliance risk
Having an automation platform ensures that all facets of regulatory guidelines are addressed. Having digital auditable trails ensures that no action on the system could be overlooked. Pre-defined rules on your automation platform ensure that all actors stick to the timelines assigned to them to avoid any automatic escalation. Pre-set templates outline the form fields that capture the information needed by process owners and ensure that all aspects of compliance are maintained and monitored, even when there is little or no activity in the office.
Steer: Your Partner in Ensuring Business Continuity Amidst Natural Calamities and Pandemic
The intelligent automation platform Steer has the ability to streamline and digitize processes- not just within your organization, but also with vendors and other stakeholders. Its pre-built templates allow you to roll out your first process in a matter of minutes and lets you set pre-defined rules that guarantee minimum human involvement to ensure that processes continue to function seamlessly even when employees don’t make it to the workplace or office.
Reach out to one of our customer success team members here or get started on your free trial to explore the potential benefits that Steer could bring to your business as you secure business continuity amidst pandemics and calamities. With a platform like Steer which provides intelligent automation to put your business on auto-pilot mode, you can now confidently tackle the next natural calamity or pandemic that threatens to derail your business.