Since the COVID-19 crisis began, we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing graphs that project the caseloads. The emphasis has rightly been on reducing peaks in those numbers to decrease the pressure on the world’s health services. It’s been termed “flattening the curve.”
At the same time, we’ve all seen – and felt – increasing concern about the effects of lockdown on national and international economies. How bad are things likely to get, and how hard will it be to recover?
If we picture a graph with turnover on its vertical axis, measured against time horizontally, we’re looking not at peaks, but at troughs. No business wants to bump along the bottom, if there’s a possibility of something closer to a bounce.
It seems to me there are three phases to a pragmatic response to current circumstances.
The first phase is, of course, to limit the disruption as much as possible. Most organizations have done this. Where they could, they enabled working from home (WFH) and digital collaboration: there are many online tools that facilitate this. By keeping people engaged, they are tackling the restoration and operation of critical business functions across the client value chain. They are also addressing the need to maintain good governance and communications.
The second phase is to stabilize and get back to business faster. To start turning things around, organizations need to ensure that the WFH measures they roll out incrementally are prioritized in line with client demands. They need to look dispassionately at any capabilities that are currently frozen, and assess the best time and manner for efforts to restart them. Finally for this stage, they need to begin thinking about the measures they’ve already deployed, and about how new ways of working might be applied to them.
Ideally, the business will have turned the corner as the second phase begins, and the measures introduced during this period will accelerate recovery. The third phase is about relaunching the business – performing and reimagining the “next normal.”
Reimagining the next normal
Many of the best innovations involve building on existing strengths; and that can be the case here, with the introduction of profound and frictionless process execution. This is not about replacing people with robotic routines, but ensuring that a human and virtual workforce fuels each other to create hyper productivity.
At Capgemini, we call this a digitally augmented workforce at scale. It can enhance client value generation with automated, end-to-end processes – all of which is underpinned and infused with RPA, AI, and smart analytics to deliver high levels of process intelligence.
The words “digitally augmented” are worth noting. This new way of working is still about people – but this time, they are people better equipped to address tasks and implement strategies than ever before. It’s an approach that employs algorithms to gauge possible outcomes, and that uses formulae to create human-in-the-loop solutions in which the process efficiency is better than machine-only, but is achieved at a cost that is much lower than person-only.
What emerges from this is a business that is faster, smarter, and more flexible than before. It’s seen difficult times, it’s endured them, it’s recovered from them, and it’s learned from them.
It has, in short, become a resilient enterprise. Yes, it’s faced challenges in its immediate past – but it’s fit and ready for its long-term future.
To learn more about how Capgemini’s Intelligent Process Automation offering can enhance your business operations with automated, end-to-end processes and a digitally augmented workforce at scale, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more from our colleagues across the Capgemini Group about how they are helping our clients run their business operations during these challenging times.
Dr. Adam Bujak is an expert in intelligent automation, business process transformation and strategic management. He heads Capgemini’s Business Services’ Intelligent Automation Practice, helping multinational clients to embrace the future of an augmented workforce in the front, middle, and back office.