Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy 40th Birthday, Copy and Paste (give or take a year).

Actually, it's older than that if we include scissors and tape but I'm talking the revolutionary "technological" version still in use today!

On most desktops, copy and paste still thrives en-masse, costing our businesses BILLIONS of dollars in the manual labor cost (it takes a computer user approximate 5-10 seconds for every click, copy, toggle, paste, toggle back). Training a human on what to copy, when to copy along with mistaken copies, adds billions more. It's because in reality, our desktops (and smartphones) are still cluttered with many applications our employees need to simply do their jobs.

Call Center agents witness this every day. They sit on a desktop with 4 or 5 open applications and toggle all day long, collecting and moving data between them (costing the Call Center lots of time, money and frustration). I call this "manual work" because it's just that. Humans, bashing away at the keyboard trying to figure out where data resides, apply their brain-trained rules and move it around. Manual work and wasted time.

And it's not just legacy applications. As a big Salesforce user myself, you'd think this super-duper, SAAS based cloud thingy wouldn't be tarnished with the same brush, right? Well, you are dead wrong. Most applications built yesteryear and today have little to no ability to be connected cost effectively to much else. Sure, there are plug-ins for salesforce and office to cut back on the number of manual integrations but that just makes the cloud application, bigger, clunkier and slower. Either that or have a development team constantly customize your salesforce and plug-ins until they too make just one new legacy mess.

After 40 years it's got a little better to be fair. Click on a phone number in an email on your smartphone and there's a good chance (unless it's an international number with a zero in the wrong place) that number will be magically dialed for you. Yippee, progress. However, if you have a 100 employees, or a 1000 or 10,000, sitting at a desktop, manually navigating applications, they have been trained (and hopefully remember) on, the Average Wasted Time (AWT)  adds up. Especially in a call center where AWT is unacceptable (Cost and Customer SAT score impacts).

I say, if you can't beat them, join them but do it automatically instead. Desktop Automation enables business and IT to figure out the appropriate joins quickly (automate application and human interactions) and eliminate AWT. Desktop Automation allows you to train the computer to do the things the computer is perfectly capable of being trained to do. This way, humans (Call Center Agents, Back Office works etc.,) can focus on the stuff the computer doesn't do well (human interaction, discretion etc.,). AWT costs money, lots of it. Desktop Automation can eliminate most of it, and customers of Desktop Automation are rewarded with the clear financial ROI as well as the virtual elimination of errors.

Screen Scraping, Macro's and Scripting are old tech. The new Desktop Automation technologies allow Agile, Drag and Drop automations to be built and rolled out quickly. Take a look. Your "human" workers will thank you for it, and your desktop computers likely won't care that they have to work a little harder for you :)

Of course, Desktop Automation can do much much more than just help eliminate AWT but since it's a birthday for our copy/paste nemesis, I thought I'd give it it's own special post ;)

I'll post some use detailed cases shortly but here's a quick one for you. A recent Desktop Automation project that took 12 weeks to implement allows 50 people to do the work of 300 people (about $1.5m a month savings). Yes - the numbers are big!