Skip to Content

5 Ways Intelligent Automation Can Help Businesses Lower Costs

5 Ways Intelligent Automation Can Help Businesses Lower Costs

Discover how intelligent automation can help your company drive efficiency, improve customer service, streamline operations, and maximize financial resources.

A lot of the automation Canadian companies have implemented so far focuses on the “how,” and with good reason.

Allowing customers to submit an insurance claim via an online form is a lot easier than forcing them to scrawl on pieces of paper and mail them in. It changes how the claims process begins.

Processing invoices via automation means your finance team can stay on top of more complex tasks like consolidation and reporting. It changes how quickly the process happens.

In sectors like retail, automating inventory management can ensure you have enough product in stock at the right location to serve customers. It changes how companies work with greater accuracy.

The next stage of automation will go beyond the “how.” Instead of merely automating the way tasks get done, the opportunity now is to combine robotic process automation (RPA) with artificial intelligence (AI) to better understand the “why.”

This includes answers to questions like, “Why are customers behaving the way they do?”

Within functions like HR, the question might be, “Why are employees struggling to achieve maximum efficiency?”

At the most senior level, leaders might be wondering, “Why can’t we find greater cost savings to combat the impact of economic challenges like high inflation?”

Bringing RPA and AI together leads to intelligent automation to help small and medium-sized businesses not only get tasks done, but gain context to help them improve the way they’re done. The result is a better employee and customer experience, which in turn leads to greater long-term growth.

Research from Deloitte and Blue Prism has found intelligent automation can cut business process costs by anywhere from 25 to 40 per cent on average. That makes it a great place to begin thinking about how you can build upon the digital transformation your company has done so far.

After all, reducing or eliminating manual work was a great start, but the biggest value comes from being able to continually adapt and enhance operations in a cohesive fashion across the business.

These are just some of the areas where intelligent automation could be woven into your digital transformation strategy:

1. Building greater flexibility within critical IT processes

Lots of companies have automated the way their IT department provisions virtual machines to run cloud-based applications. Depending on the business needs, though, the workloads those servers need to handle can cause lag times or delays.

Intelligent automation goes beyond merely ensuring a virtual machine goes live. It would analyze the typical highs and lows that put pressure on compute workloads (such as a spike in e-commerce activity amid the holiday shopping season, for example).

Intelligent automation would then manage compute workloads to ensure they meet business demands and not hamper customer or employee experiences.

2. Reducing the need to hire additional IT specialists

As critical as technology is to business success, many Canadian companies aren’t in a position where it makes financial sense to add headcount to their IT department. Even if they want to hire more people, they might have their work cut out for them. Just look at a report from the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), which estimates that Canadian employers will need to fill an additional 250,000 tech jobs by 2025.

The truth is that a lot of the analysis that needs to happen within many businesses is beyond human capabilities. Intelligent automation can work faster, and at greater scale, to solve problems and even avoid them from happening in the first place.

This means that when Canadian companies do hire more IT people, they can focus on those with advanced skills in areas like machine learning that can help them fine-tune their intelligent automation solutions.

3. Boosting customer retention through better service

Customer service agents often have their work cut out for them. They’re expected to get through large volumes of calls or other forms of customer outreach within a short time frame. They’re expected to troubleshoot a wide range of issues. And traditionally, they’re expected to piece together what went wrong with a customer’s purchase as though the data were part of a jigsaw puzzle.

Customers are a lot happier when they connect with an agent who already knows their purchase histories and account profile details and is ready to get to the problem at hand. That’s the result of intelligent automation, where data is routed from disparate sources to provide a clear picture of every customer and their needs.

4. Developing greater autonomy over business operations

There is no end to the range of third-party services available to help companies manage payroll processing, logistics and other business functions. Many of these services work great, but they come at a cost, and can become a complex web of relationships for companies to navigate. They also pose the risk of keeping data in silos, rather than integrating it into a single source of truth.

One of your goals with intelligent automation should be to take back control of processes and the insights that technology can provide you about what’s working, what’s not and why. You’ll save money by having rules-based automation in place, and greater agility when it’s time to change processes.

5. Avoiding costly errors

You might have automated tasks such as sending customer orders from an e-commerce site to a system that handles shipping information, but what happens if there’s a disconnect when the data is sent to a transportation firm that keeps it in a silo?

The end result is that it becomes difficult to explain to customers why their package arrived late (or in some cases not at all). That same customer may decide to shop elsewhere the next time around, and you’re stuck finding a new customer instead of gaining more business from an existing one.

One of the best aspects of intelligent automation is the ability to deal with exceptions and anomalies that crop up in the day-to-day course of business. It makes the technology can address those mistakes and help stop the threat of customer churn.

Intelligent automation deserves an important place in your IT budget. When you leverage the best of what RPA and AI has to offer, the payoff includes lower costs, happy customers and employees focused on what they do best.

Get timely updates and fresh ideas delivered to your inbox.