Inflation and the looming potential of a recession are impacting consumer spending, while at the same time, labor shortages are driving up operating costs. These dynamics are putting retailers under significant pressure to identify ways to maintain margins. During previous downturns, retailers largely exhausted the impact of traditional cost-reduction programs, leaving companies challenged to find new ways to preserve profitability.
To achieve this in today’s environment, leading retailers have begun using intelligent automation to identify and execute cost containment and margin improvement opportunities previously unavailable to them. These leading retailers have recognized intelligent automation benefits can be achieved beyond a historical focus on back-office cost reduction and process optimization. They are now using these tools to seize front-office opportunities in merchandising, marketing, and supply chain. In fact, intelligent automation is being used to perform complex analyses and real-time adjustments that create sustainable margin improvements.
Intelligent Automation in Today’s Environment
Fortunately, today’s integrated intelligent automation platforms have addressed the historical challenges of human interaction and the burden of legacy systems. Early RPA systems sought to “replace” workers by automating mundane tasks. Today’s leading providers, however, recognize the importance of the interaction between technology and the humans overseeing business processes.
A recent McKinsey study shows that “about half of the activities in retail can be automated using current, at-scale technology. While this number is alarming, the change will be less about job loss and more about the evolution of jobs, the creation of new ones, and reskilling. Only about 5 percent of all jobs can be fully automated with current technology, and automation will create jobs as companies invest in growth.” Recognizing this human-to-automation interaction within a single intelligent platform is a key differentiator for those solution providers competing in the intelligent automation marketplace.
Another factor that sets this apart is the ability to deploy without upgrading enterprise systems, point solutions, or creating and updating APIs, which can take weeks, months, or sometimes years. No-code/low-code automation platforms enable retailers to leverage “citizen developers,” or non-technical employees, to initiate and manage automation that leverages digital workers for mundane, repetitive tasks and frees up employees for more high-value work. The result of deploying these digital bots is improved legacy technology capabilities and more efficient interaction between these systems.
Things to Consider When Exploring Automation Technologies
While there are many automation technology options in the marketplace, retailers require an intelligent automation platform that can meet the unique business needs of a retail organization. Other distinctions to consider when exploring a solution include the following:
- Does the solution offer integrated Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Intelligent Document Processing (IDP), Business Process Automation (BPA), Intelligent Data Automation (IDA), and Software Test Automation (STA) capabilities?
- Is the solution technology agnostic, and can it be used across an enterprise ecosystem?
- Is the solution powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning within a single platform?
- Does the solution provide process and task discovery to help identify potential automation opportunities?
- Can the system offer a single-user interface for web, mobile, and desktop?
The needs and challenges currently facing retailers are vast. But with today’s intelligent automation solutions, retailers can continue to maintain margins and even improve profitability by automating tasks and processes that don’t require human intervention – freeing up employees to focus on activities and projects that add greater value and productivity to the organization.
Investing in Automation and AI Technologies
Now that you have an idea of the benefits leading retailers have achieved through intelligent automation, it’s time to develop a strategy to maximize business results.
At Wizeline, we work with leading retail businesses to deliver innovative technologies, including natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, to accelerate the technology roadmap. Our proven implementation expertise allows us to address the most daunting test automation challenges and release quality applications faster and more confidently. Through our partnership with HuLoop, we offer an all-in-one, no-code intelligent automation solution that streamlines processes and simplifies workflows for retail clients and software test automation for customers across industries. If you’d like to learn more about how Wizleine and HuLoop can help, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.