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Reimagine Digital Transformation in 2021 – ReadWrite

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Bruce Orcutt


Throughout the year, 2020, companies everywhere had to reimagine their businesses and the future of work. It made us realize that digital transformation was not a fad or incremental project to roll out by department; it’s imperative to be agile and remain competitive during disruptive times.

Digital transformation will continue to be a top priority for CIOs in 2021, according to new research by Constellation Research. Here is how to reimagine digital transformation in 2021.

The Constellation Research surveyed Fortune 500 CIOs and found that 77.3% prioritized digital transformation for their 2021 budgets over any other business activity. It will undoubtedly affect the entire business – from customers to employees to management.

There are several lessons learned that emerged from the year 2020 business.

Businesses should take into consideration with future digital transformation initiatives. You’re likely launching or scaling a robotic process automation (RPA). Maybe you are implementing or looking to fix or optimize some other intelligent automation transformation.

Understand that any automation speeds up the value of business and improves customer experiences. Here are the top five revelations that will help leaders reimagine how they digitally transform their organizations in 2021 and beyond.

  1. RPA is not a strategic initiative

RPA has proven to be a useful tool for automating desktop manual tasks to increase speed and productivity, and there is an expected continued uptick for it in 2021. However, enterprises adopted it too quickly and added it to several projects that didn’t deliver the value they expected.

One of the most challenging aspects of RPA is that it isn’t smart; bots will repeat broken processes and cannot process unstructured content, which makes up 70% of enterprise content.

Transformation leaders are now realizing that in order to generate the most value from RPA, they need to take a more strategic approach and have a complete understanding of how their processes work and how employees interact with them overall.

Using process intelligence to back their decisions will validate the value it will deliver before starting any initiative. Additionally, RPA software bots need cognitive skills equipped that enable comprehension of any form of content and automate repetitive tasks to minimize human intervention.

  1. The difference between desktop automation and true enterprise transformation

Automating tasks that workers used to perform from their desk was often the beginning of digital transformation initiatives. However, the disruptions enterprises encountered during COVID highlighted that there’s a big difference between automating manual data entry and digitally changing how entire processes are executed.

In 2021, more companies will boost automation and enhance human intelligence with AI to help with workplace disruption for location-based, physical, or human-touch workers who are working from home.

According to research firm Forrester, this includes applying AI for intelligent document extraction, customer service agent augmentation, return-to-work health tracking, or semiautonomous robots for social separation.

True enterprise transformation involves not just automating tasks and processes for the sake of automation, but using advanced technologies to understand how people, processes, and content interact together, and completely re-engineering how they work together.

  1. Leaders need to better understand and optimize their workforce

There has been a myriad of productivity and collaboration tools introduced to help employees conduct their work faster and more efficiently. But is it really improving their workflow? Most employees say they deviate from set processes to successfully complete their tasks. One in four get so frustrated they want to quit their jobs.

It’s not just about tweaking processes in order to make them digital; it’s reimagining them to meet changing environments and expectations. One way of doing this is by understanding how employees complete their tasks within the programs and systems they use, and how it impacts other workflows and business outcomes.

Introducing workforce optimization tools, like task mining, monitors how tasks are done – not to be confused with monitoring employee actions as part of their performance. Its goal is to find optimal patterns of task completions so that organizations can shift away from highly repetitive tasks and empower employees to focus on higher value tasks.

It can also be effectively used as a personal productivity tool for employees to see how they’re working, how they can improve, and identify areas where additional automation can assist them. For example, if an employee doesn’t see the benefit from a program in place, they can show their employer how many hours they lose with the current program or how it’s negatively impacting their productivity.

  1. Workers are capable of working with AI

Now that organizations have introduced RPA digital workers to their human workforce, management and workers alike realize the benefits of having a digital colleague. More companies will equip staff with their own software robot to augment their daily work for tasks with invoicing, onboarding, loan processing, and more.

Knowledge workers will be able to easily train, set up, and monitor their digital coworker with a new breed of low-code/no-code software solutions and infuse them with specific AI enabling skills such as reading, understanding, and reasoning documents specific to their jobs.

Robots that do these tiresome tasks – from replying to emails to sorting through documents for relevant data – will give employees more time for higher-value work like handling exceptions or nurturing customer relationships, which, in the age of social distancing, allows for more personal connection.

  1. Data can do more than you think

Data used to be the last step of a business process – filed away after a transaction was complete. With customers’ growing expectation-of-now, leaders realize that rather than extracting then inputting data at the end of processes or on an as-needed basis, workers (human and digital) need access to relevant information in real time.

Content needs to be an active stream of critical information fueling processes and decisions in real time without intervention from the team that implemented it.

Making data work smarter for organizations will be big in 2021 and will make content intelligence and document processing solutions more popular than ever. From digitizing documents, structuring dynamic data like emails, images and PDFs and streamlining the intake by multiple systems.

By combining data with business analytics and process automation platforms, leaders will have an end-to-end view of their interconnected processes and a greater understanding of the health of their organization.

While digital transformation isn’t new, the current COVID-19 pandemic has driven companies to rethink their entire business models, with many launching DX initiatives in a short amount of time.

With businesses accelerating their transformations, others cannot afford to delay digitalization; new disruptors will continue to appear and more enterprises will push their CIOs to plan strategies that will establish the best technology in order to meet new needs and standards and customer experience demands.

Solutions like automation and AI will continue to gain relevance and remain even when the pandemic ends. While the ongoing digital revolution may bring serious challenges to many businesses, it also provides them with the opportunity to reimagine what a better way of doing business could look like and will only enable those prepared to embrace DX to succeed.

Image Credit: fauxels; pexels

Bruce Orcutt

Bruce Orcutt is VP of Product Marketing at ABBYY, a Digital Intelligence company. He helps organizations to gain complete understanding of their business and raise their Digital IQ.

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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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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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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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