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Just in time "Need to knows"

Knowledge workers spend typically much time in desktop research, reading, exploring and analysing knowledge resources (papers, new techniques,…).

But which technologies are than important? As a frequent LinkedIn user, on daily basis I am completely “tsunamied” by announcements on technologies, methods, operating models, award winning companies and mentions to come to inspiring events on Newtech. I get more confused than I get informed. I guess you have a similar feeling.

If you are in a market in disruption, as a manager you better keep an eye on the speed and direction of what is called “intelligent process automation (IPA)“-technologies, and determine where, when, and how much to invest in such automation. This will have 2 business advantages: remain close to your customers and provide better services at the same time, both to sharpen your competitive edge.

At its core, IPA is an emerging set of new technologies that combines fundamental process redesign with robotic process automation and machine learning. It is a suite of business-process improvements and next-generation tools that assists the knowledge worker by removing repetitive, replicable, and routine tasks. Furthermore, it can radically improve customer journeys by simplifying interactions and speeding up processes. IPA mimics activities carried out by humans and, over time, learns to do them even better. Traditional levers of rule-based automation are augmented with decision-making capabilities thanks to advances in deep learning and cognitive technology. The promise of IPA is to radically enhance efficiency, increase worker performance, reduce operational risks, and improve response times and customer journey experiences. ((c) Mckinzey)

IPA provides the facilities to explore and analyse knowledge resources. It will also recommend the relevant insights to the appropriate knowledge workers on the appropriate moments in time. Context is king, nowadays. What a relief for knowledge workers to be informed only on a “need to know“-basis!

Aside from the above, one more aspect needs your consideration for acquiring IPA capabilities: make or buy. Is it strategic to build your in-house technological competence centers for all those different technologies or should you better opt for buying applications and/or (managed) services? There are a lot of good apps out there (thanks cloud!) to position you as the first mover in your market and relieving you from the educational burden to stay current on tech.

Concluding, if you have a substantial number of knowledge workers, in a market that is in disruption today, you as a manager have a judgement call to make:

  1. Do you want to learn faster than your competition by empowering your knowledge workers to get deeper into your markets & customers (using IPA)?
  2. How will you acquire the capabilities to do so?


– Marc Dries, CEO


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