Automation AI


Automating Education and Educating Automation

Automation. Intelligent Automation. Hyperautomation. Artificial Intelligence. Process bionics. Robots…

People smile and nod sagely but what does it all mean and why should organisations and the tertiary sector be interested? After all, hype is the one thing that the technology world is great at so why would this be any different?

Let’s look at the statistics. According to Deloitte’s recent annual global survey of executives, 73% of respondents said their organisations have embarked on a path to intelligent automation – this is a significant 58% jump from the number reported in 2019.

Automation is mainstream and in New Zealand it is now a Board level focus and is included in strategic plans across all sectors including the tertiary sector. Intelligent Automation covers a wide range of technologies and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has been adopted by 78% of respondents and 16% plan to use it in the next three years.

Interestingly process mining is the lowest at 20% currently implementing and 42% planning to. However, we expect this to grow quickly in New Zealand as we are seeing more and more clients looking to adopt process mining due to the software pricing becoming much more competitive. Process mining allows organisations to take an evidence-based view of their processes to help them find improvement opportunities based on data, and to subsequently monitor compliance and continuously improve.

Of course, making things better – what we like to call Intelligent Optimisation isn’t new – however, some of the new technologies make it much easier. Combining people, process, technology and data is critical, as is a clear view of the outcomes that are to be achieved. Reducing cost isn’t always the key driver – how do you increase customer and student experience, staff engagement, reduce risk, improve student retention and care? How do you free people up to help grow revenue?

A number of universities are embracing automation and generating benefits across all functions. Some of the processes automated include: bank reconciliation, supplier setup, agent commission payments, recreation centre enrolment, payroll payment checking, student accommodation, onboarding, timesheets, contracts management, at risk student support, and data cleansing. The automation raises productivity, increases staff engagement and improves the student experience. A process can be automated and put into production within four weeks at which point benefits start to accrue, and the Return on Investment (ROI) is typically 12 months or less.

Not only has the tertiary sector embraced this as important approach for themselves, some are running their own automation courses for students to produce the next generation of ‘automators’. Automation is ubiquitous and as Shoshanna Zuboff said back in 1988, “Everything that can be automated will be automated”.

This is one time when the hype is real.

If you would like further information please get in touch.

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