Process Management in the Era of Work from Home is all about "Deskless" workers, distributed all over in various time zones doing work in concert with each other and potentially robots and bots.
The future is now for the future of work. Almost overnight, millions of us are working from home, across the globe, doing our jobs, being good social citizens, and embracing hardship and navigating the current circumstances with skills, will, and a bit of serenity.
We are in the middle of a massive tidal shift of deskless and distributed employees working from home. Employers have to navigate several minefields to make work happen from home.
Companies have multiple mandates to manage and adhere to. These include the care and comfort of employees, assuring quality standards, meeting regulatory and compliance requirements, and, more importantly, customer delivery and satisfaction.
Let’s set the context and then examine how companies are innovating to achieve multiple goals at the same time.
At a basic level, employers must mobilize the workforce to a new way of doing the same old things. Mobilization may take many forms, including a simple and effective modus operandi (standard operating procedure seems too cumbersome of a phrase) on how to deliver business processes and move operations forward.
Enablement and empowerment as at the foundational level as well. It includes providing for sufficient bandwidth, remote access to applications through VPN and other methods, and provisioning collaboration tools such as group chat, message boards, audio, and video calling.
Employers need to empower the employees and entrust them with doing the right thing and getting to the expected outcomes – even if it is not precisely according to the previous norms. Empowerment can take many forms – prioritization, decision-making, abandonment, escalation, postponement, et al. Without empowerment and entrusting the work in the capable hands of employees, moving the needs will be rather impossible.
A deskless, distributed, work from the home workforce can be a force multiplier for good but also poses unique risks for the enterprise. Ensuring quality and conformance to process standards mitigates risk. But managing process work across multiple time zones, terminals, and tasks are easier said than now.
Traditional methods of supervisory overnight may fall short of what’s necessary in this brave new world. Enterprises need new tools to assure quality, mitigate risk, and enforce process conformance – at scale.
A few of Skan.AI’s customers, like many other companies, grappled with how to assure quality, monitor risk, and ensure conformance to expected norms. Using the same tooling and minor tweaks to dashboards, Skan’s customers brought to bear additional capabilities to achieve the monitoring and enforcing aspects of quality, risk, and process compliance.
Skan’s process discovery and management platform leverages computer vision to observe work – at a vast scale, high precision, and in an unobtrusive manner. From this continuous observation of digital traces of human action, based on the law of large numbers, deciphers process start and stop and multiple variants.
In addition to discovering the process variants, Skan’s technology also identifies process bottlenecks, choke points, application footprint, and usage, and efficiency and effectiveness metrics.
Leveraging this corpus of process knowledge, enterprises then can set up an AI-supervisory to achieve the following objectives:
Skan’s virtual process agents continuously and unobtrusively monitor process participant’s desktops to record critical interactions with digital systems. At a foundational level, the evidence-based record of work, as it happens, is a treasure trove of analytical compliance corpus. Supervisors and process owners can query the work, understand the patterns of processes, and replay work as it happened to identify anomalies and opportunities for improvement.
With the constant recording of work, Skan provides elemental evidence to the expertise of the process owners. From the insights gleaned from these digital traces of human labor, Skan’s AI-technology facilitates the following supervisory techniques – hitherto impossible.
Companies can set up tolerance limits and alert the supervisors in real-time and even stop something from happening. This helps reduce operational risk.
Instead of one-size-fits-all training, Skan allows for specific and targeted interventions to help employees – based on individual performance patterns and best practices – just in time, anytime and anywhere.
The visualization of work – per process run, per Case ID, and person – is visual evidence of what transpired and can offer a variety of insights and a record for compliance.
In general, a new normal and a sudden paradigm shift poses unique challenges but also offers opportunities for those firms that can think out of the box and embrace new ways of doing things. A scalable AI-supervisory can work wonders for all stakeholders – employees, process owners, compliance and risk personnel, and executives.
Satya Iluri is Vice President of Strategy, Marketing, and Customer Success at Skan, an AI-powered process mining and process discovery platform.
“One of the things you don’t ever want to do is to automate a bad process. You are just going to make bad things happen faster, and that is not what anyone wants.”