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THE FUTURE OF RECRUITMENT TECHNOLOGY: HOW LONG UNTIL YOU’RE SITTING NEXT TO A ROBOT COLLEAGUE?

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Worried about your job becoming obsolete because of technology? Fear not, recruitment will always need the human touch, and technology only stands to benefit both recruiters and job seekers alike.

 

In this article, Access Group, looks at how the industry needs to adapt to the changes being brought about by technology.

 

The recruitment industry is growing, and is now worth over £35 billion to the UK economy. So, the industry knows how to adapt, and manages to thrive when other parts of the UK economy are struggling. But, having said this, technology is disrupting the world of recruitment. Naturally, one focus for recruiters is to maintain growth, and to do so, they need to look ahead and understand technology’s inevitable influence.

 

Once upon a time, recruiters had to sit at their desks looking through paper CVs, and today, it’s not that different. Applications may be online and digital, but recruiters still tend to have to read batches of CVs in order to shortlist applicants.

 

At the moment, the recruitment sector is very much focused on cloud-based platforms that aim to centralise activity and improve efficiency. You can use software to manage your entire recruitment process from start to finish in one place. The majority of recruiters use a central recruitment client and candidate relationship database to manage assignments. Recruiters who use software spend less time on admin and more time placing candidates, or adapting to the latest industry digital trend. For many recruitment businesses, it’s easy to get left behind in this digital world. We don’t need to tell you how competitive, fast-moving and dynamic the industry can be.

 

So what is likely to happen?

Well, the obvious impact is that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will continue to disrupt industries across the globe, offering new technological opportunities for companies everywhere and putting at risk manual, labour-intensive roles. In this scenario, called the “New Economy” current jobs can be displaced and new jobs can quickly be created.

 

New and emerging technologies are not new, big brands and agencies are at the cutting edge of recruitment tech. For example, a couple of years ago Unilever ditched resumes in favour of AI and algorithmic matching for a portion of their graduate hiring. Using a tool, they shifted an entire segment of their university hiring away from the traditional on-campus model towards a new approach based on AI assessments. The results were significant, and to summarise…

 

  • Applications doubled over the first 90 days
  • Time to fill was reduced from four months to four weeks
  • Unilever hired its most diverse class to date
  • The hiring class was also much more socio-economically diverse, with many hires coming from schools they did not typically visit and recruit

 

The benefits are there to see… and it’s likely that technologies will only get better or improve.

 

Even in some cases, the robots are coming! In March 2019, the very first robot to conduct unbiased job interviews was tested out by Swedish recruiters. Her name is Tengai. Measuring 41cm (16in) tall and weighing 3.5kg (7.7lbs) she’s at eye level as she sits on top of a table directly across from the candidate she’s about to interview. Time will tell if this really is the future, but it’s not likely to replace the need to interview. However, Robot Vera is an AI service which finds candidates, conduct interviews, and screens resumes. This is the latest new way to interview, and it is said that this approach offers results that are up to 10 times faster than traditional human interaction. The firm only started two years ago but already boasts big-name clients such as PepsiCo and L’Oreal.

 

Hold on, will robots take my job? 

When technology, AI, and robot trends like this begin to emerge, people are quick to sensationalise the potential job losses involved. But the truth is that it’s highly unlikely, and even more so in recruitment.

 

Machines are great for helping with admin and automating processes, but they’ll find it tough to sell to a candidate. They can’t build relationships and they won’t have the emotional judgement that is so often needed in the recruitment industry.

 

You should embrace AI, use video interviewing, explore the latest support platforms and more! There will be new ways to deliver efficiency and quality. With reporting and recruiting software, employee data, and social media at our fingertips, recruiters have a world of possibilities to explore. While these developments are already in full swing, 2020 will be a period of rapid development as companies devise and implement new strategies.

 

Such a dynamic market is likely to create situations where agencies with less agility or expertise could see their customer relationships disrupted or lost to agencies that respond better to the changes. So, in short, recruiters need to stay on top of technological advancements.

 

All this change, that will inevitably come, got the team at Access Group thinking about how and when the recruitment industry started, how far it has come, and what the future holds?  From Ancient Egypt through to robot hiring managers, we’ve created a timeline that highlights recruitment tech through the years, with information and data to highlight each milestone.

 

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Finance

FOUR STEPS TO INTEGRATING INTELLIGENT AUTOMATION IN THE FINANCE DEPARTMENT

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By

Marieke Saeij, CEO of Visma | Onguard

 

It’s clear that Intelligent Automation (IA) is still very much an emerging technology, with one indication being that is has only been mentioned a handful of times on Twitter since the beginning of 2021. Results from our latest annual FinTech Barometer reveal a mixed picture in terms of awareness, with half of finance professionals having never heard the term before. Whilst this is unsurprising for a technology concept very much in the ‘early adopters’ stage, organisations can stand to gain real benefits from embracing Intelligent Automation now, particular within the finance department. With this in mind, we explore some of these benefits and share a step-by-step best practice to implementing it into business operations.

 

Intelligent Automation ensures a predictable order-to-cash process

Such is the speed of introduction of new technologies that it’s a challenge for businesses to keep pace. As the newest innovation in finance, Intelligent Automation is one that organisations can’t afford to let pass by. It truly takes financial process automation to the next level. In addition to helping maintain a high-quality customer service, it also complements the existing skillset of finance professionals in the industry.

Marieke Saeij

While Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Big Data are key innovations for the sector, IA can be likened to an additional layer that enhances existing technologies. By combining applications, this layer is capable of independently assessing situations and determining the appropriate process sequence. It can, for example, fully determine the risk of a specific customer, and can also predict at an early stage which invoices will be paid late, or even not at all, ensuring that finance professionals can then plan accordingly. The result is a reliable and predictable order-to-cash process.

 

The four steps to an IA-proof organisation

While the benefits of IA are numerous, implementing the technology can prove complex, although some are already treading the IA path without knowing it. In this instance it’s crucial to become aware and begin the purposeful process to full integration. Below are the four key steps to becoming fully IA-proof.

  1. Exploring the potential: Brainstorm where automation can be applied

Step one is to examine the extent to which automation can help your organisation. Blue sky thinking is the key here. What is the ideal relationship with the customer? What does the ideal order-to-cash process look like? In this phase, involving multiple departments from within the organisation is key, from management to operations. The finance professionals who have the most contact with customers are likely to have the strongest knowledge of which processes they would like to see automated. With no limits to ideas, it’s best to explore all the opportunities in the entire order-to-cash process and describe broadly the potential value to the organisation.

 

  1. Decipher which data and technology is needed

The second step is to map out which data and technology is required. Working with a specialist, either external or from the internal IT department, is beneficial at this stage to see where the opportunities lie. In many cases, off-the-shelf solutions are already readily available to help make the difference, so it pays to do the research and gain advice where possible.

 

  1. Firm up the strategy

With the plan mapped out, it’s time to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. Which technology and accompanying software is proving most valuable? It’s vital at this stage to analyse the results the organisation is achieving from deploying the right technology and software. It’s also important to outline any limitations and emphasising the potential risk of failure. This is the business case and the basis for the elevator pitch that will be presented to internal stakeholders.

 

  1. Draw up the roadmap and start benefitting from agility

The fourth and final step is prioritisation. The roadmap will describe step-by-step how to move from the undesired current situation to the desired end goal. In the first step, choosing a subproject that is relatively easy to achieve will help gain support from other departments within the business, and provide invaluable experience that can be applied to the more complex components that follow later. This agile approach facilitates a learn-by-doing mindset and allows the following steps to be tackled in a smarter and simpler way.

 

Effective preparation is half the battle

Exploring the potential of automation, mapping the required data and technology, establishing the strategy and laying out the roadmap are the four crucial steps to ensure the foundation for Intelligent Automation. Effective preparation and estimating which technology and accompanying software is needed will help to create a streamlined and error-free order-to-cash process. To ultimately save time and costs, empower finance professionals and maintain customer loyalty, the time for Intelligent Automation is now.

 

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Technology

READING BETWEEN THE BUZZWORDS: DISCOVERING THE POWER OF INTELLIGENT AUTOMATION?

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by Yad Jaura, Product Marketing Manager at Netcall 

 

The nature of automation means that new technologies, ideas and solutions are frequently developed and invented. New words and phrases are banded bandied around, with many similarities and discreet distinctions. A relatively recent buzzword in the business process transformation arena is Intelligent Automation.

Here I explain what is meant by intelligent automation. In doing so, I aim to unravel some of the terms that are intrinsically linked to automation and explain why intelligent automation can be so crucial for organisations in transforming business processes, fast.

 

So, what is intelligent automation exactly?

Put simply, it is the combination of multiple process automation technologies together into a single platform or solution. Those process automation technologies include low-code, robotic process automation (RPA), built-in workflow, integration platforms and intelligent business process management suites (IBPMS). Using any combination of these to automate business processes qualifies as intelligent automation.

 

And how is that different from hyper automation?

It’s very similar to be honest; they were created by the technology research analysts. Forrester coined the phrase intelligent automation, while Gartner came up with hyper automation. Essentially, they mean the same thing.

 

Define RPA and how that is a part of intelligent automation?

The simplest definition is that robotic process automation (RPA) focuses on automating repetitive and rules-based on-screen processes. Intelligent automation does the same job but in addition to using RPA techniques, it incorporates other artificial intelligence (AI) technologies (like machine learning, natural language processing, structured data interaction, intelligent document processing).

RPA when combined with Process as a Service technologies such as low-code can automate interactions with existing systems on a screen. In effect, what the robot is able to do is replicate the actions that a person takes when they are operating various different systems, and do those things automatically.

For example, opening a system, accessing some data, copying it, pasting it to another system, generating a report, emailing that report to someone. This is a process flow. And a robot can be instructed to replicate that exact process flow. It’s especially effective for repetitive and tedious tasks, the robot can take that activity and free your people to work on other more meaningful tasks.

 

Why is intelligent automation so important?

Releasing your people from the necessary but repetitive or high-volume tasks can open up endless possibilities. It’s extremely potent in a customer experience orientated environment because staff can use that freed-up time on activities that need more cognitive, imaginative and interpretive work and more complicated interactions with customers. It allows robots to perform the menial tasks freeing up people to concentrate on delivering a great experience for customers.

 

Can you trust a robot?

Yes. You have to select suitable tasks and you have to program it correctly. But you can absolutely trust that the robot will do EXACTLY the same process, with no deviation from what you asked it to do. RPA robots don’t make mistakes or stop for any breaks – for the right type of tasks, they are better suited to the work than humans are.

The analysts also believe that we need to put our trust in automation and software robots. I particularly liked this quote from a webinar we ran with Forrester in 2020:

“Every process within an organisation needs to be automated in software, or else be liable to failure, and the consequences of failure.”

I really like that, because for me, it provides a real-world definition of intelligent automation in practice. Intelligent automation is the automation of business processes at scale. Plus, the quote demonstrates where we are headed – the idea of automating everything in software, so that those processes can be operated from anywhere, at any time. It’s been proven in the last year, with lockdowns and restrictions, because processes are no longer reliant on people being in specific locations, with access to certain paper, machines etc in that location. Intelligent automation is really about process automation at scale, to address these issues.

 

If the potential is endless… will automation and robots take over everything?

People will always be needed in organisations. You need a human to build an RPA process – a robot can’t think of what is needed to build the set of tasks for another robot. Intelligent automation gives you the best of both worlds. Build faster, reliable processes that are virtually infallible. Use your people for the human interaction side of your business and for the planning, creative and intellectual responsibilities that only a human being has the ingenuity and talent to deliver.

Side by side, people and robots can develop highly competent, successful operations and deliver outstanding CX, every single time.

 

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