Stop Overlooking Manual Work: Using intelligent automation to augment people with better task management.

Neil Bahadur

Neil Bahadur

· 4 min read

future-of-work digital-transformation

“Meet me where I am.”

When using software, minimizing the number of jumps users need to make between systems is essential for productivity. Automation is already a well-known solution to this type of issue.

Why? Because automation reduces manual interactions with different systems and moves information from system to system, much like system integrations did. Intelligent Automation further builds on this foundation and can help with transformation, manipulation, and validation of data along the way.

But there is an added dimension of productivity that is often overlooked by automation solutions: Proper Task Management

Take this quote from a customer of ours:

“I’m a lazy person. That’s not to say I dislike work. It’s to say that I dislike doing extra work. If there is a way to be efficient with my time, I’ll always take it.

If I’m working in a tool or platform I like working in, why would you ever want to force me to go somewhere else?”

It’s not just about automating lots of work behind the scenes. Intelligent automation is also a tool that improves productivity of every employee. In order to do that, people must be given the means to be effective and successful in their work.

There are 3 key dimensions to delivering work in effective ways to employees:

1. Consolidation of information

Often, when performing work, whether making a decision, preparing a deliverable, or having a meaningful discussion, there is a need to gather information from multiple places. Not only should automation drive the actual data gathering, but it should also deliver that information cleanly and seamlessly to the person who needs to act upon it.

A task that is queued up for a person to act upon should be clear, contain all necessary information, and eliminate the need to send a human anywhere else to be able to effectively perform that task.

2. Just-in-time delivery to the right place

“Right time, right place” is about more than just having great luck. It’s also about having great effectiveness. Giving information to someone days or weeks ahead of when they can act upon it will slow them down. They’ll allocate mental energy to having to remember that this item needs to be done but be unable to act upon it in that moment.

To the extent to which it is possible, a great process supported by a strong platform will deliver that information exactly at the moment when the person would like to take action on it. This impeccable timing reduces the need for reminders.

In addition to being well-timed, the task should arrive where it is likely to be picked up by the employee as quickly and conveniently as possible. This is where intelligent automation really stands out. Because it can seamlessly move data in and out of systems, it’s a great candidate to deliver all necessary information for a person to complete a task exactly where they prefer to get their work done.

If an employee spends their day in Slack or Email, that should be exactly where tasks arrive. Even if the system in question has nothing to do with the work being done, automation can be a crucial bridge to restructuring information. For example, if I’m a Sales person working in Salesforce, why can’t I get my task to complete my timesheet sent to me in that platform?

The reality is, each of these systems support a large range of flexibility and automation unlocks their full potential. Sending me that task in a system I’m already working in reduces the likelihood of abandonment or avoidance significantly. My odds of timely completion get even better if it is delivered to me exactly when I can act upon it.

3. Robust notifications and visibility

Lastly, having a way to clue people in that work needs to happen, is happening, and has happened can eliminate lots of noise. How often do you see requests like “where are we with x?” or “when can we expect y”?

Proper task management done with automation can help with the monitoring and tracking such that everyone involved knows exactly where the process is, what has been done, what is planned, and what is left to do.

For the individual, giving a helpful notification that prompts them that work is ready in a place where they wish to receive it is huge. If I have mountains of email, maybe I’d prefer an urgent notification by text instead. Or maybe I don’t want any at all, and want to have all of my work delivered to me once a week in a dashboard that I can check voluntarily. However I like to work, the solution should match my behavior.

Bots nagging and managing humans is a recipe for disaster. Flexible intelligent automation should mold the way it works to suit the person to truly maximize their contributions.

Bottom Line

With these 3 key factors taken into account, employees can be significantly more productive when working alongside their automated counterparts. The strongest automation solutions of today and beyond will make sure that these concepts are fundamental and not afterthoughts.