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artificial-intelligence, business-process, coronavirus, covid19, remote-working

Adapting to the times: Working from Home

Written by Sarah Mizzi, Front-End Developer and Marketing Executive at Wyzer.ai
A virus is all it took to create global chaos. Overnight, people all over the world had their lives turned upside down. The old norm of heading to the office and socialising on the weekends is slowly becoming a distant memory as self-isolation becomes the new norm. COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation on the 11th of March and since then every country has tried their best to avoid further contamination of the disease. Country leaders of the larger global economies were seen to delay lockdown actions due to the impact it would have on their economies. However, as the spread of COVID-19 became uncontrollable, the closing of borders and non-essential businesses became inevitable, regardless of the repercussions which are still relatively unknown. The decision for countries to go into a partial lockdown did not come easy for anyone as now businesses in those countries are struggling financially to stay afloat. How can something invisible to the naked eye have such an impact on the economy? This is mainly because this is the first time that people in this century are experiencing a situation like this therefore it was difficult to foresee. Most businesses were unprepared for this sudden drastic change and were not capable of acclimatising their business process promptly. Those businesses that are succeeding during these times are those that already had a system for remote working in place for their employees so business went on as usual. For example, at Wyzer, we already had a system in place that allows anyone to work remotely when they want to. Hence, this change did not disrupt the company or its projects and nor did it slow down our business process. Those companies that weren’t able to work remotely had to either close shop indefinitely until the virus blew over and/or make people redundant. Some got creative and saw this as an opportunity to shift digitally and try to find a way to stay afloat during these turbulent times. The sudden change to working remotely comes with some problems of its own:
  • Companies without the ability to suddenly change the business process of their operations are left with confusion and lack of communication amongst their employees.
  • Employees that are new to remote working have their own obstacles to overcome such as social isolation and lack of routine and structure to mention a few which can all be detrimental to the mental health of the employees.
  • Lack of preparation and tools for employees to work seamlessly while apart
Businesses nowadays need to be able to adapt in a time-efficient manner to any given situation. This was not the first time that companies quickly had to change operations and it certainly would not be the last. Nowadays, we are lucky enough to have such advanced technology that allows employees to work remotely seamlessly. However, to do this, a solid business plan and process need to be set in place. Wyzer aims to help these companies that have struggled to change their business process in a timely manner to stay afloat during these times. Our Software as a Service (SaaS), Wyzer Work, will allow any company to acclimate to any given situation the business may face within a couple of minutes. Wyzer Work is a system that helps all aspects of the company come together through the use of a Business Process Module Solution with implemented Artificial Intelligence. Some Benefits that Wyzer Work can bring to your company, but are not limited to, include:
  • Allows for quick re-assessment of the business processes to adapt to the current situation. The low-code program makes it easy to use and understand without the need for IT personnel. Having to go through fewer people to adjust the business process means that the change would happen more effectively.
  • Mobile Users — Accessible over the internet due to Cloud Capabilities meaning you can access the program remotely to keep businesses running as usual from wherever you are.
  • Allows for Team Agility as all the team would be working on the same platform with live updates and the ability to assign urgency to certain tasks. This would speed up processes immensely within the team during remote working while keeping communication levels high. Better communication levels would aid in helping employees stay on track to reach targets.
  • Reduce the redundancy rate within your company if you are struggling to readjust to the current situation in a timely manner.
  • Job creation- Businesses can carry on with their human resources practices despite the disrupted business climate.
  • It speeds up processes by digitally signing and getting approvals.

Survey Results:

To help those companies and employees that are struggling with remote working, we thought that we would conduct a study. The aim was to gather information so we can determine how everyone is coping during this period and why remote working works for some people but not for others. With Wyzer’s newest SaaS, Wyzer Work, we would like to help where we can to make everyone’s job easier and remote working possible. Another motivation for us to conduct this study was to see that if the people that got to work remotely for a long period of time would like to adopt it into their usual routine once this pandemic is over. The survey was filled in by 150 people from mainly Malta but also other countries within the EU. These people all came from very different industries, the most popular being IT, Legal, Finance, Insurance and Architecture. The ratio of male to female was more or less equal and the age brackets are as follows:
(Chart: Age of the interviewee’s.)
We asked the respondents whether they felt that the company they work for was ready for the switch to work remotely to which 39 said no and 111 said yes. We also asked what are the tools they are utilising the most to aid with remote working which is presented in the diagram below.

Most Popular Tools:

(Chart: Most popular tools being utilised to work remotely.)
When working remotely it is important to have 3 different types of tools: Communication, File Sharing and one that gives access to the enterprise applications. Most companies use more than one tool to function efficiently. What is important is that the main tools being utilised are secure as you would not want your company’s sensitive data to be leaked online. Zoom was recently in the news for having security issues. It was also noted that although most people felt their company was prepared for the switch to work remotely, almost every single person said that they are having communication problems within the company. This could be due to the fact that although they are utilising video conferencing tools, a lot of them are using Email, WhatsApp or Facebook as the main source of written communication which tends to get confusing within large groups. This leads to unclarity and miscommunication amongst the team. The companies may also not be having video calls frequently enough. Many also have the problem that they lack access to documents and files that are only accessible by physical copy in the office, which means that the company is not using enough file-sharing tools such as google drive. When asked whether remote working affected the company’s customer experience, 112 people said no while 29 said yes. Those that said yes work in various industries like Retail, Sales, Education, Law and Architecture. The most common problem was the lack of interaction between them and their customers as it is impersonal and harder to communicate without the ability to read body language and social cues. We also asked respondents to tell us what are the benefits of working from home and what are the challenges they are facing.

Benefits:

Challenges

(Chart: General overview of how many of the interviewee’s tasks can be done remotely.)
We then asked what percentage of their tasks can be performed remotely. Those that responded with 20% and 40% are mainly in jobs that make it difficult to work remotely such as Education or are Directors or Managing Directors (who need to oversee the company and deal with problems daily). With the data received we compared the results of how many people would like to work remotely in the future against those who had experience working remotely before to whether they would like to work remotely again in the future.

Working Remotely again in the future?

(Chart: General overview of the interviewee’s response to whether they would like to work remotely again in the future.)
(Chart: A general overview of those that have worked remotely before to those that wish to do so in the future.)
To get a more in-depth view we also broke down this graph into age brackets and with those that have kids to see which age bracket would be more likely like to work from home.
(Chart: Age difference vs their experience with working remotely prior to social distancing.)
(Chart: Age difference vs wishing to work remotely again in the future.)
(Chart: Seeing the difference in parents with their experience of working remotely before and whether they would like to work remotely after.)
From these graphs, it is clear to see that most employees in most industries, where possible, would like to have the option to work remotely whenever possible. It is particularly visible in the age bracket of 18–29 where most have never worked remotely before and after this experience, only 6 replied they definitely would not like to work remotely again in the future. It is also important to note out of those 9 that said ‘definitely not’ to working remotely again in the future, 4 of them are in the education industry (which may require a great amount of physical interaction) and the majority of the others are professions which cannot function properly when working remotely. The others may not like the ‘anti-social ness’ of working remotely or may just prefer the office environment. The respondents that said they have kids also would like to have the option to work remotely or add it to their weekly routine. Although working from home with children can be beneficial for the parents due to time management, it is also not for everyone since they can shift your focus. Lastly, we asked respondents what tasks do they have that they cannot do while working remotely. Out of the few that we got, we picked these out as with our product, Wyzer Work, these are all capable of being achieved within minutes. Besides these capabilities, there are also other benefits to our product above. Our system will make working from home as seamless as possible.
  • Obtaining Signatures on documents — This can be done with Wyzer Work as we have integrated a system that allows you to digitally sign or upload an image of the signed document
  • Document couriers — There is no need for document couriers with our product as everything is done digitally and securely.
  • Access to and updating physical files — with Wyzer Work, everything is done and stored on the cloud which is secure and allows remote access.
  • Auditors (Physical Documents are Required) — documents are easy to retrieve from our system and can be done with the click of a button.
  • Processing of Paper Work and Invoices
  • Seeking approvals — Approvals can be done within seconds with Wyzer Work.
  • Getting core systems data on time — Wyzer Work has live data updates.
  • Management of people, checking departments and daily ongoing monitoring — Wyzer Work has a task assigning system that allows you to manage your team and see what they are doing.
With the help of our product integrated into your system, working remotely would never be easier. Are there any questions that we haven’t answered? Let us know through our ‘contact us’ page — www.wyzer.ai or email us at hello@wyzer.ai. In the meantime, at Wyzer, we are building Wyzer Work. This is a BPM tool that will encompass all of the above features and we plan to launch it later this year. We are currently accepting a limited number of BETA customers. If you want to be part of our journey, please get in touch with us! Let’s work toward a Wyzer and more digitized working world! If you do feel like you are struggling at the moment with the current situation and being stuck indoors, please do seek help from the local authorities where a helpline is provided. *Disclaimer: Wyzer is in no way affiliated with the brands or products mentioned in this article.
ai, bpm, bpmn

What is Business Process Management (BPM)?

Written by Liliana Ratushnyak, Business Development Executive at Wyzer.ai

processes

Whether you are a small start-up or a large corporation, chances are, you are in contact with business processes on a daily basis. In its fundamental form, a business process is defined as a series of steps performed by a group of stakeholders to achieve a business goal or objective. From human resources to accounting to manufacturing, across an organisation every department enforces a flow of events engaging multiple team members to produce an outcome. These steps are often repeated many times by multiple users in a standardised and optimised way. It is a backbone of an organisation.

Each business process can be represented as a workflow of logical steps. However, it is the discipline of improving a business process from end to end by analysing it, modelling how it works in different scenarios, executing improvements, monitoring the improved process and continually optimising it that is known as business process management or BPM. BPM is not a static mechanism, it is an evolving technical organism that requires continuous re-engineering to meet the demands for higher efficiency and lower operational costs. Clearly, this is a broad definition encompassing a multitude of business activities hence why there is often confusion as to the term and how it applies to specific industries. The simple answer is that BPM applied to all industries and activities. Let’s take for instance the automobile industry. Prior to 1913, cars were a luxury commodity exclusively custom produced for the top-tier of the population. This was due to the inefficiency in the production of cars leading to their high costs and henceforth unattainable price tags. In 1913 Henry Ford introduced moving assembly belts into plants producing “Model T” cars in order to increase efficiency. By 1916, the car cost less than half of what it cost in 1908. The modern consumer-driven society has forced businesses across all sectors to improve product/service quality, increase speed of service/product delivery while reducing costs, leading to the majority of fortune 500 companies implementing BPM tools by late 1990s.

Moving past the history lesson and fast forwarding to todays hyper-digital business environment, automation is the new buzzword. A large array of applications have been developed to organise and automate business processes, thus relieving employees from mundane and highly repetitive tasks.

So how do BPM tools work and what do they achieve?

BPM software tools help companies map out their everyday processes to;

· Identify and eliminate bottlenecks

· Control the company’s costs

· Make day-to-day processes as efficient as possible

· Adapt to organisational changes

· Ensure the effectiveness of the people involved in the processes

In order to improve business processes it is essential to be able to track and manage them. BPM software allows companies to do just that. BPM manages the entire life cycle of business processes. It allows teams to model, automate, manage and optimise their business processes in order to track and report on key business functions, as well as to continuously evaluate and improve the processes.

This is certainly an attractive promise that’s sold to companies wanting to stay afloat in the demanding business environment by digitizing their workflows. These same companies then end up in a vicious cycle of unanswered questions and decision fatigue when choosing the right tool, only to revert back the old and inefficient manual processes.

Our aim here is to break the cycle by answering some fundamental questions about BPM.

How does a BPM actually work at the core?

The optimal BMP tool is one that is regarded as a low-code or no-code software which is made available to the company as an out-of-the-box solution.

A BPM tool does not require programming to create even the most complex business process models. It should incorporate a graphical notation for describing business processes, easy-to-understand for business analysts and at the executive level. These business process models show how your processes and activities associate with one another. By simply dragging and dropping elements into a model and connecting them according to the business process logic anyone can create a digital workflow. Once the process model is created, it is then necessary to specify the data used inside the business process and set process activities.

Business process modelling ends with process publication. At that moment, a BPM tool turns a business process diagram into an executable bpm app which can be run in the Web Application.

Does a company require a whole new department to manage a BPM tool?

Absolutely not! One of the core aims of an effective BPM tool is to make it as user-friendly for an HR associate as it is for an in-house IT specialist. Some familiarisation with the tool user guide and a half-day training, should be sufficient enough to equip any user with the capacity to model processes.

How easy is it to implement process improvements?

An effective BPM tool will have integrated ‘heat’ maps, showing which tasks are stalling the workflow. As a user working with the processes, you may find ways of making a process more efficient. For instance, a HR team finds that the vacation leave approval process slows down at the final approval task of the workflow, due to the key personnel responsible of making the final approval is on maternity leave. The said HR team, then chooses to reroute the final approval task to another member of the personnel. With a BPM tool you can change processes in the running system with no programming or stopping the server required, and apply changes instantly. You can evaluate how effective the applied changes are, as soon as the process is complete.

Are there any questions that we haven’t answered? Let us know through our ‘Contact Us’ page — www.wyzer.ai or email us at hello@wyzer.ai.

Let’s work towards a Wyzer and more digitised working world!



Written by Liliana Ratushnyak, Business Development Executive at Wyzer.ai

processes

Whether you are a small start-up or a large corporation, chances are, you are in contact with business processes on a daily basis. In its fundamental form, a business process is defined as a series of steps performed by a group of stakeholders to achieve a business goal or objective. From human resources to accounting to manufacturing, across an organisation every department enforces a flow of events engaging multiple team members to produce an outcome. These steps are often repeated many times by multiple users in a standardised and optimised way. It is a backbone of an organisation.

Each business process can be represented as a workflow of logical steps. However, it is the discipline of improving a business process from end to end by analysing it, modelling how it works in different scenarios, executing improvements, monitoring the improved process and continually optimising it that is known as business process management or BPM. BPM is not a static mechanism, it is an evolving technical organism that requires continuous re-engineering to meet the demands for higher efficiency and lower operational costs. Clearly, this is a broad definition encompassing a multitude of business activities hence why there is often confusion as to the term and how it applies to specific industries. The simple answer is that BPM applied to all industries and activities. Let’s take for instance the automobile industry. Prior to 1913, cars were a luxury commodity exclusively custom produced for the top-tier of the population. This was due to the inefficiency in the production of cars leading to their high costs and henceforth unattainable price tags. In 1913 Henry Ford introduced moving assembly belts into plants producing “Model T” cars in order to increase efficiency. By 1916, the car cost less than half of what it cost in 1908. The modern consumer-driven society has forced businesses across all sectors to improve product/service quality, increase speed of service/product delivery while reducing costs, leading to the majority of fortune 500 companies implementing BPM tools by late 1990s.

Moving past the history lesson and fast forwarding to todays hyper-digital business environment, automation is the new buzzword. A large array of applications have been developed to organise and automate business processes, thus relieving employees from mundane and highly repetitive tasks.

So how do BPM tools work and what do they achieve?

BPM software tools help companies map out their everyday processes to;

· Identify and eliminate bottlenecks

· Control the company’s costs

· Make day-to-day processes as efficient as possible

· Adapt to organisational changes

· Ensure the effectiveness of the people involved in the processes

In order to improve business processes it is essential to be able to track and manage them. BPM software allows companies to do just that. BPM manages the entire life cycle of business processes. It allows teams to model, automate, manage and optimise their business processes in order to track and report on key business functions, as well as to continuously evaluate and improve the processes.

This is certainly an attractive promise that’s sold to companies wanting to stay afloat in the demanding business environment by digitizing their workflows. These same companies then end up in a vicious cycle of unanswered questions and decision fatigue when choosing the right tool, only to revert back the old and inefficient manual processes.

Our aim here is to break the cycle by answering some fundamental questions about BPM.

How does a BPM actually work at the core?

The optimal BMP tool is one that is regarded as a low-code or no-code software which is made available to the company as an out-of-the-box solution.

A BPM tool does not require programming to create even the most complex business process models. It should incorporate a graphical notation for describing business processes, easy-to-understand for business analysts and at the executive level. These business process models show how your processes and activities associate with one another. By simply dragging and dropping elements into a model and connecting them according to the business process logic anyone can create a digital workflow. Once the process model is created, it is then necessary to specify the data used inside the business process and set process activities.

Business process modelling ends with process publication. At that moment, a BPM tool turns a business process diagram into an executable bpm app which can be run in the Web Application.

Does a company require a whole new department to manage a BPM tool?

Absolutely not! One of the core aims of an effective BPM tool is to make it as user-friendly for an HR associate as it is for an in-house IT specialist. Some familiarisation with the tool user guide and a half-day training, should be sufficient enough to equip any user with the capacity to model processes.

How easy is it to implement process improvements?

An effective BPM tool will have integrated ‘heat’ maps, showing which tasks are stalling the workflow. As a user working with the processes, you may find ways of making a process more efficient. For instance, a HR team finds that the vacation leave approval process slows down at the final approval task of the workflow, due to the key personnel responsible of making the final approval is on maternity leave. The said HR team, then chooses to reroute the final approval task to another member of the personnel. With a BPM tool you can change processes in the running system with no programming or stopping the server required, and apply changes instantly. You can evaluate how effective the applied changes are, as soon as the process is complete.

Are there any questions that we haven’t answered? Let us know through our ‘Contact Us’ page — www.wyzer.ai or email us at hello@wyzer.ai.

Let’s work towards a Wyzer and more digitised working world!


artificial-intelligence, blockchain, malta, Tech, websummit

WYZER visits Web Summit 2018

Written by Sarah Mizzi, Front-End Developer and Marketing Executive at Wyzer.ai

Web Summit 2018 is now history. This year I left with the words Personalisation, Authenticity and Emotional Engagement ringing in my ear. This was my second edition of the Web Summit I have attended, having attended both as a Women in Tech attendee. Last year, I attended as a university student reading for her degree in Business and IT and about to start her dissertation in cryptocurrencies. It was my first conference, so naturally, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The hype around the event combined with the huge number of attendees expected for the event added to the overall excitement. Although this year I knew what to expect, the levels of excitement remained as one is not quite sure what new technologies will be presented. Having just started working for a company called Wyzer, a software development company that focuses on Blockchain, FinTech and Artificial Intelligence was another reason to be excited. Since it was my second event, I was used to the protocol and the ‘etiquette’ of such conferences, and I could keep a sharp lookout for any opportunities that could be of benefit for my company.

On my return, there has been one question which everyone has asked: “Which year was better?”. In my opinion, a better question to raise would be: “What has changed in terms of technology?”. After all, that is the reason the summit happens every year. One would not think that much can change in 8760 hours, and they are right, not much has changed in terms of technology per se. However, quite a lot has changed with regards to the use of already existing technology and how society has started to implement it to be more than just technology ‘for the sake of’ technology. They have morphed technology to be beneficial for the general public.

Technology today is being utilised to solve common day to day problems such as traffic management and the verification of financial transactions. A number of presentations focused on how Quantum Computing and Augmented Reality (AR) could help the financial industry, as well as the car and transport industry, become more efficient.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and in particular robotics was a main feature of the event. Furhat Robotics presented a robot displaying human-like interaction qualities (listening, showing emotions, eye contact etc.) with the aim of not only communicating via speech but also body language which plays an important role in the dialogue between people. By personalising human interactions humans are encouraged to develop an emotional bond to robots and technology in general.

The increasing use of AI in technology has been controversial. Probably fuelled by Hollywood’s over-dramatization of the technology in films such as IRobot and Ex-Machina the increasing application of AI and Robotics has raised red flags for employees around the world. Robotics are entering every sector in our lives, mostly in a servile manner such as cleaning, shopping, and driving. There is no escaping this growing trend. The main question being: will robots take over? Will robots just be limited to performing tedious, mundane and dangerous jobs or will their application spread into other sectors, causing widespread unemployment leading to economic collapse? What can one expect when robots are armed and used to fight wars or used for law enforcement? One must remember that although they are programmed to learn, they still lack the ability to learn soft skills that humans excel at such as empathy, creativity and imagination to mention a few. Therefore, although artificial intelligence is progressing at a fast pace, these are vital skills that artificial intelligence lack. Will robots “evolve” from being servile to masters? A scary thought indeed.

Furthermore, what if the technology is abused for criminal purposes. I am sure we will see a whole load of upcoming films from Hollywood specifically on this subject.

Besides AI, Internet of Things (IoT) was another ‘hot topic’ at this year’s summit. The difference between these two is that AI uses algorithms that allow machines to learn while IoT utilises the internet to allow devices to communicate with each other. The aim of both technologies is to simplify the lives of those utilising it.

IBM Q

IBM showcased their quantum computer this year which was an impressive sight for all — IBM Q. This goes to show just how far technology has come. IBM has a community of companies, such as Barclays and Honda, that are part of IBM Q Network that are using IBM Q systems, technology and software development kits to build their knowledge and understanding on Quantum Computing and investigate potential usages for this technology. This will have a great effect on the technological industry as a whole in years to come.

“Emotional Engagement” was a key phrase that appeared throughout the summit. It seems to be something that every company is focusing on nowadays, no matter the industry it operates in. A company that, in my opinion, managed to showcase this perfectly at the Web Summit was InnoWave. InnoWave specialises in technology, consultancy and innovative solutions. At their stand, they had set up a little room where people who had a business idea and had signed up outside would go in and sit down in front of a robot. This robot would then ask you a series of questions based on the solution, team, the business model, the market and the competition. In the end, the robot would evaluate the probability of success of your idea. This proved to be a popular attraction, emotionally engaging and personalising the visitor’s experience with the company.

Countless exhibitors showcased their applications in artificial intelligence and technology to help society at the web summit. A number of start-ups were involved with the creation of chatbots that can be tailored to cater for multiple applications. This is another example of how technology is becoming more personalised and emotionally engaging.

The last day of the conference featured a whole stage that was dedicated to blockchain and cryptocurrencies called, “CryptoConf”. The main take away I got was that although people are sure blockchain is here to stay as it has proved itself useful in many industries, there is still some doubts regarding the life of the current iteration of cryptos.

The focus on technology, on the whole, is to create a more personalised experience with emotional engagement for the user. It is being invented to enable society to meet greater demands and to do things more efficiently. As part of the team of Wyzer, I found all this very fascinating and left the Summit with an optimistic outlook realising that all the companies are being ‘Wyzer’ and thinking about the future, which is now.

At Wyzer, we understand that innovation is the order of the day in the technology world. Our vision is to put the worlds most innovative technology in the hands of every single organisation in a seamless and cost-effective manner. If you’re interested in knowing more about how you can transform your organisation through Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain technology, get in touch on hi@wyzer.ai. Whatever the size of your organization, Wyzer is here to help!

Closing Remarks by the President of Portugal,
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
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