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How Workflow Automation is Changing the Back Office – ReadWrite

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Deanna Ritchie


The back office of your business consists of employees in administrative and supportive roles. While the admin responsibilities don’t directly work with customers, they’re the engine of your ship. The back-office staff keeps everything up and running no matter what happens up front, and they need support to do so.

Workflow automation changes how the back office operates, maximizing efficiency and ensuring a more effective system overall. As powerful as workflow automation can be, implementing it is no small task.

Don’t know where to start with office automation? These examples will get your wheels turning and help you find direction.

Software Integration

Back offices rely on a variety of software programs to keep operations going. Keeping track of all the tools involved can lead to confusion. Workflow automation eliminates these issues by seamlessly integrating systems together.

Using iPaaS, or integration platforms as a service, you can set up your own workflow automation to tie all your programs together. For example, you can put a trigger in your project management software that will automatically download any files that your team shares to your email. This one simple step might not seem like much, but set up enough automation and you’ll be saving a ton of time.

Human Resources

The back office takes care of all employee management, whether they’re at the front desk or the warehouse. Hiring new employees, training and retention, and compliance are all essential aspects of business management. The more attention an organization can give to their employees, the more they will give back to the company.

Automation greatly assists in managing document-related tasks, which are the name of the game in human resource departments. Automatically generating and filing all the needed paperwork enables HR managers to spend less time at a desk and more time addressing employee needs and concerns. Workflow automation can also help with employee training for new hires or seasoned veterans who may need a refresher.

Banking and Finances

Nearly every back office has a financial team. They make sure books are lined up, invoices are sent and received, and budgets are followed. Automation helps ensure accuracy when taking care of company finances while accomplishing tasks at a quicker pace.

A simple example can be found with invoicing. Having workplace automation send and collect invoices takes a load off of your financial team so they can focus on other things. All they have to do is double-check the work and move on.

Purchasing and Inventory

Your procurement team will greatly benefit from workflow automation. Tracking inventory on its own is very time consuming, and it’s not an activity many enjoy doing. Automating inventory and subsequent purchasing will streamline the process, saving both time and money.

You can automate your inventory list to automatically update with purchases and shipments. When your inventory hits a certain level, your automation will trigger a notification to your procurement team that an order needs to be placed. While you still need the proper manpower to double-check industry counts and confirm shipments — automation helps ensure accuracy and timeliness with orders.

Data Analytics

Right on pace with automation is the growth of data analytics in business. Data-driven decision making has shown to be more effective than relying on intuition and experience alone. Businesses generate tons of data each day, so automation is an essential requirement for making it all work together.

Workflow automation will sift through the data generated by your business to pick out relevant information for your needs. One valuable aspect of data is its potential for trend forecasting. As workflow automation picks out key pieces of data for you, you can use it to make business plans based on perceived future events.

Data analytics also helps with product development, marketing, operations, and a whole lot more. Every aspect of your business can benefit from data, so this is one of the most important workflow automation areas to focus on.

Customer Experience

The front office consists of customer service and sales representatives who form a direct relationship with consumers. The back office, however, still has an impact on customer experience. For example, web developers work to build a site that enables customers to easily find the information and products they need, which plays a major role in the customer experience.

Developers and IT professionals know very well how beneficial automation can be. Workflow automation can siphon the data they need to make decisions that will improve the customer experience, helping them perform their jobs to a higher level. Automation also helps companies provide targeted content for customers visiting their sites. This personalizes the web experience, ensuring that every visitor finds exactly what they need.

Security

Another vital task performed by your tech team is that of security. Keeping malware and digital attacks at bay protect your data and information and that of your customers. Breaches can be catastrophic, driving away customers and slashing revenue streams.

Workflow automation can detect potential threats automatically, no matter the type of threat or time of day. This can trigger preemptive actions to slow down attacks until a technician can fully address the problem. Automation can also send prompt notifications to further accelerate response times.

In addition to cybersecurity, workflow automation can also help with physical security. It can track employee ID scans and other forms of entry to pick up on trends that may seem suspicious and need verification.

Office Maintenance

There’s nothing worse than finding out you’re out of copy paper or need to make repairs right in the moment. With workflow automation, you can keep track of office materials and equipment to provide proper maintenance for ensuring smooth workdays.

You can set up a workflow that calculates the number of materials your company uses and determines when restocking needs to be done. You can also use these algorithms to track printer toner, air filters, and cleaning materials as well.

Filing and Organization

No one wants to spend a day filing documents, and no manager would have one of their best workers waste time doing so. Digital filing systems and storage are more efficient than their physical counterparts but still need maintenance to ensure proper documents can be readily accessed when needed.

You can set up your own organizational system using workflow automation. Tag certain files to be sent to specific locations, so you know exactly where they’ll be when you need them. You can also automatically send the documents you need directly to your inbox, avoiding the need to hunt them down.

With workflow automation, your back office will never be the same. Not only will you be increasing your company’s efficiency, but you’ll also be giving your workers a huge quality-of-life boost as well. Any team that made it through 2020 unscathed deserves a break, and workflow automation can be just that.

Image Credit: charles parker; pexels

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content development.

Politics

Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending

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Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play


London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Politics

Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs

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Deanna Ritchie


As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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Politics

UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations

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Deanna Ritchie


As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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