Preparing for the Digital Future: Critical Planning to Ensure the Ability to Compete and Thrive

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If there is one thing that the pandemic has shown us, it’s that digital technology is critical. It provides essential connectivity for remote workers, enables offices to operate seamlessly even when they’re not centrally located, and ensures that your business can continue despite the many challenges it faces. However, the coronavirus has also highlighted the fact that many organizations have not yet fully committed to their digital futures. How might you prepare to go completely digital?

The Role of Data Continues to Grow

Data is already your most valuable asset. However, without ways to access and understand that data, it is mostly meaningless. The good news is that an increasingly large number of digital tools give you the ability to mine, parse, sort, and model information in order to extract critical insights that will inform key business decisions. However, not all processes and tools are created equal. It is important to consider the following when choosing the options you use:

  • Accuracy – Inaccurate or misleading data can easily throw you off track, misinform your decisions, and lead to serious mistakes. Any tool you decide to use should ensure complete accuracy within your data.
  • Deduplication – Duplicate data is present in all systems. However, it is often problematic. Duplicate data can lead to inconsistencies, inaccuracies, avoidable expenses, and other problems. For instance, consider these three CRM database entries. Each of these is treated as a separate contact, but in reality, are probably the same person:

James F. Holden, Airport Way, Reno, Nevada

Jimmy Holden, Reno, Nevada

F. Holden, Airport Rd, Reno

  • Organizing – Data does you little good if it’s raw and uncategorized. For humans, this type of information is largely meaningless. Make sure that any tool you decide to use can accurately organize information.
  • Parsing – Parsing is another important function. It bears more resemblance to transformation than it does to organizing, though. In this process, one type of data is converted into a different type of data that is more easily digestible by humans. For instance, HTML data might be converted into a readable form that can actually be used by your teams.
  • Visualization – Finally, data tools should also provide the means to visualize your information. The human brain performs better with information in specific forms, making it easier to connect the dots and make informed decisions. For instance, what would you find easier to understand – a paragraph of text citing statistics or a pie chart that put those statistics into visual format? For most people, the latter option is the most easily understandable and provides the most use. Make sure that your data tools provide powerful visualization capabilities.

Artificial Intelligence Continues to Empower

Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere today. It’s behind that website chatbot and the ability to add grocery items to your list through Alexa. It’s in your smartwatch and your phone. It’s also the future for many businesses.
AI has many important implications for your success. For instance, if your organization has a significant online presence, you can use AI to answer common questions from customers or website visitors. You can enable AI in Facebook Messenger for much the same purpose.

You can also use AI for many other purposes, including:

  • Gathering information about customer sentiment
  • Gauging the nature of customer complaints
  • Making recommendations to customers (also-boughts, interest-based recommendations, customer history-based recommendations, etc.)

However, these uses are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. AI can and will continue to play an increasingly central role in customer interactions, everywhere from online chats to phone- based support systems. It will also play a role in employee learning and development, combatting cybercrime, and even improve employee productivity and performance.

Robotic Process Automation Boosts Efficiency

Robotic process automation (RPA) is already present today, but look for it to increase in terms of scope and capabilities. RPA is a type of software that allows digital robots to mimic the capabilities of human beings. These robots can automate mundane yet important tasks, ensuring they are completed quickly and accurately, while allowing your human employees to focus on higher-value tasks that they are best suited to handle.

Not only does this type of software free up human employees for more important work, but it also helps reduce errors while simultaneously improving productivity and efficiency. The result? A dramatic boost with those processes, decreased costs, improved accuracy, and a better ability to compete within your industry.

Where can RPA be used, though? It is already in use within a wide range of areas, with more occurring all the time. Some pertinent examples include the following:

  • Handling customer or employee requests
  • Data entry
  • Database management
  • Data research
  • Financial processes
  • Customer care applications
  • Commerce merchandising

As more businesses find the benefits of RPA, applications will continue to grow. Currently, unassisted RPA (sometimes called RPA 2.0) is under development. This software will further amplify the benefits of robot-based automation while driving down the costs and time required by creating self-teaching systems.

The Golden Rule for Moving Forward

The economy is recovering and more and more businesses are trying to resume business as usual. Digital technology can and should play a central role in those efforts. However, decision- makers must remember the golden rule here: stay flexible.

Digital technology continues to evolve very quickly. Nothing is set in stone, and assuming that you have the “perfect” solution for a particular purpose only means that you are probably missing out on something even better. By remaining adaptable and watching the industry, you can make informed decisions about digital technology and evolve as it does, ensuring that you remain on the leading edge, positioned for success and growth.

At Valenta, we work with clients to determine the right digital transformation path for them, including robotic process automation, intelligent process automation, and more. Contact us today to learn more about our offerings and how we can support your success.