Agile: 4 key business boosts

Agile processes are fast becoming imperative to keep up with today’s business demands. Here are 4 practical examples of how agility can benefit your organization.
2 readers like this.

As innovation continues to help organizations enhance their operations and improve efficiency, consumers’ expectations of the experience and value they receive will evolve. Speed of service remains a top priority, and consumers no longer need to waste time with businesses that can’t meet their needs.

This poses a significant problem for businesses that have clung to legacy platforms or failed to digitally transform their internal processes. The decentralization of technology, the rise of intelligent automation, and the increasing importance of the customer have enabled businesses on the bleeding edge to quickly adapt and deliver value at the speed of thought.

This is achieved through agile processes—processes that are both quick and easily responsive to change or external factors. By pursuing agility, organizations can eliminate unnecessary red tape within their operations and deliver a more satisfactory customer experience while also allowing employees to adjust their tools and workflows to their strengths and the reality of their work.

While “agility” might seem like a catch-all buzzword, it is an achievable outcome when implemented with the right tools and platforms and with efficiency in mind. From increasing revenue to customer loyalty, read on for 4 ways agile processes can improve organizations.

1. Low-code/no-code empowers citizen developers/business users

Employees’ productivity can be limited by the tools that they use. Not all processes look the same end-to-end, and unexpected variables or unique scenarios can require customization of tools and platforms.

[ Also read Agile transformation: 3 obstacles and how to overcome them. ]

If these tools can’t be adapted without extensive IT knowledge, a once-simple task then requires help desk tickets, email correspondence, and more overall obstacles than if the initial user is able to make the necessary changes themselves.

This is where low-code/no-code platforms enable agile organizations to expedite internal processes and elevate employees to citizen developers. Intuitive, accessible, and customizable tools can ease tasks and prevent technical debt. Organizations can adjust to client needs on an ad-hoc basis without unnecessary bureaucracy.

Tax season, for example, brings an influx of highly detailed forms with a wide range of personal information and special circumstances. A rigid platform for document processing would severely limit the processing of a business or individual’s finances. Tax services with legacy platforms that require advanced coding to modify would yield significantly slower processing times than a counterpart using low-code/no-code tools.

By improving straight-through processing rates of documents and reducing the need for human intervention, low-code/no-code document processing allows for agile adaptation that will help organizations provide speedy and satisfying service to customers.

2. Agile front-end processes improve customer experience and retention

Slow customer onboarding and other tedious front-facing processes will discourage use of your product or service.

Arduous identity verification and repetitive manual entry are the antithesis of agility and will not garner customer loyalty when, for example, banking institutions have set a standard for an almost instantaneous speed of service.

A recent survey identified organizations’ top reasons for abandonment during customer onboarding, among which were excessive steps (29%), difficult identity proofing (26%), and excessive manual entry (26%), among others.

Proof of identity is a key pain point that can drastically improve the agility of the onboarding process, reducing dropout rates and improving customer loyalty and advocacy. Requiring users to toggle between various screens, email documents to themselves, or dig up personal information presents too many obstacles and opportunities for customers to get distracted and abandon the process.

Limiting proof of identity to just a few steps that can be completed from a single application or interface keeps users engaged and satisfied, reflecting a professional organization that values its customers’ time.

3. Intelligent processes increase revenue

Agile processes that directly relate to revenue, such as accounts payable, can increase profitability.

Invoice processing is inherently document-heavy and can involve laborious and repetitive manual entry if organizations haven’t automated it. Opting for manual entry over automation solutions wastes time and money and increases the likelihood of errors.

Agile accounts payable processes enable a higher, faster volume of processing with fewer errors, allowing businesses to take advantage of early payment discounts, avoid duplicate payments, and decrease cost per invoice.

4. AI tools improve business logic and processes

The rise of tools driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning has enabled businesses to understand their own processes and operations more thoroughly.

Attempting to improve the agility of a process without a comprehensive understanding of every step will lead to the misallocation of time and resources. Automating the wrong aspects of a workflow can even have direct adverse effects on outcomes, such as delaying a back-end bottleneck until it is more visible to the customer rather than eliminating it altogether.

One tool to help you better understand your own operations is process intelligence. Process intelligence combines task and process mining to depict an accurate and detailed model of a workflow to identify opportunities for agility and automation.

From understanding individual clicks and keystrokes with task mining to gaining a higher-level perspective through process mining, IT leaders can use these insights to guide their implementation of intelligent solutions and take a clearer path toward organizational agility.

Agility remains a priority

Agility is not a fad driven by recent trends in artificial intelligence and machine learning. It’s an approach to operations that brings objective improvements in sustainability and improves employee and customer experiences. Although many organizations have not reached full maturity with agile processes, innovation in automation and the use of other intelligent solutions suggest that returns on investment in agility are only going to grow.

[ Learn how leaders are embracing enterprise-wide IT automation: Taking the lead on IT Automation. ]

Scott Opitz
Scott Opitz is Chief Technology Officer at intelligent automation company ABBYY. He is responsible for overseeing ABBYY’s research and development (R&D) investments. He also leads the strategy, development, and execution of the company’s product and innovation efforts based in Europe and the US.