infoTECH Feature

May 06, 2015

Businesses Are Adopting 'Digital Employee Software' to Increase Productivity

By TMCnet Special Guest
Richard Milam, Founder and CEO, EnableSoft Incorporated

Found today in small and mid-sized businesses alike, outdated IT systems still run 60 percent of all critical business applications. These systems – typically mainframes and “green screen” terminal emulators – are reliable, but the maintenance and training required to use them can often make solving even routine business problems challenging. There is a perception issue as well. A recent Microsoft (News - Alert) survey of roughly 1,400 customers revealed that over 90 percent of them would be reluctant to do business with a vendor who utilized obsolete technology. Every company wants to help their employees be more productive, and adopting the most current IT infrastructure is one way to do that. The problem occurs when budgets limit their ability to invest in new technology.

The telecom industry is one area where many companies are starting to use “digital employees” to move data from existing systems to a more user-friendly front end, saving up to 160 hours per month in labor and thousands of dollars.  This quest to salvage older technology is not unique to the telecom industry.  Many other businesses are looking for cost efficient ways to save overhead. One such company, Smart City, has found an innovative way to add new capabilities to their existing systems without incurring a big investment. The Orlando, Florida-based organization is using software to carry data between a user-friendly front-end system they developed and their legacy AS/400 core business system. By creating a more intuitive front end and preserving their million-dollar mainframe system, Smart City has improved agents’ abilities to serve customers while avoiding the time and cost associated with adopting new business technology.

This type of technology is also being used in data entry tasks.  Using a software tool that automates manual tasks can be a huge time and cost savings to a business.  The traditional methods are failing for many reasons, some of those include:

  • First, human data entry is slow. Even for a fast typist, top speed is around 1,000 characters per minute. Our own limitations are the bottleneck to maximum productivity in virtually every data-related task. Worse, humans generally work in 8-hour shifts. Even if you employ two shifts, one-third of a 24-hour-day will go unused for data entry and maintenance. And the speed of human data entry is variable. Most workers have peaks and valleys of productivity during their shifts. They don’t work at top speed all or even most of the day. They take coffee, meal, and bathroom breaks as well as vacation and sick days.
  • Second, humans make mistakes. The error rate for human data entry is 0.5%. A team of human operators performing plan updates on 10,000 customer records will probably make at least 50 errors – which to your business, and certainly for those 50 customers, is problematic. In practice, data entry and maintenance error rates are often higher. In one data center, there were 2,584 changes required for 41,568 pages entered into a health database. Of these changes, 71.1% were necessitated because of errors in the initial data entry.
  • Third, data errors are expensive. For example, a data-entry error may make it impossible to process documents automatically. Incorrect documents may be created, and the cost for reprocessing can be many times higher than the initial pass. The customer may become irate and complain. And there might be soft costs as well—like the customer service issues that unhappy customers can generate.

Advances in IT and software have undeniably made many business processes more efficient, but manual unstructured data processes still exist in every organization. When you can't move data from one system of record to another system of record, options are limited.

Exiling an employee to hours of data entry is not only a terrible waste of their talents; it's a poor financial decision. Most firms spend $40,000 on-boarding, training and supporting entry-level workers to the point that they begin having a positive financial impact on their operations.

Companies will squander that investment if workers sit behind a keyboard and mouse for hours on end, instead of engaging with customers and finding solutions to the business challenges of the day. Manual software processes stand in the way of solving human problems that need to be solved by thinking humans.

Every company wants to help their people be more productive, and adopting the most current IT infrastructure is one way to do that. Automation technology can empower organizations to integrate new technologies with trusted legacy ones and get more bang for the buck.

About the Author: Richard Milam, Founder and CEO of EnableSoft Incorporated. EnableSoft, is engaged in offering game changing software products and services to the business and financial services industry, healthcare and a dozen other markets.  EnableSoft serves over 500 corporate clients worldwide. Prior to founding EnableSoft in 1995, Richard was a partner and served as Senior Vice President of FiTech PLUSmark, Inc.  Richard designed and implemented a business plan to offer bank merger data conversion services which resulted in the successful merger of over 50 financial institutions.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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