Below, we discuss the promise of digital transformation with Mullins, as well as the partnership between Alkymi and Automized Solutions and the value realized through this strategic connection.
Can you explain to people not familiar with your company what problem you solve through digital process automation?
JM: In the middle market, where we focus our attention, there is a lot of costly inefficiency in teams that isn’t easily addressed by the larger, enterprise-wide technology tools out there. Oftentimes, these organizations struggle to predict resource requirements and hire additional staff in ways that run counter to the actual market needs. Digital process automation (DPA) streamlines business processes, reducing time spent on repetitive tasks and increasing employee performance and morale.
The construction, automotive, and food service industries, in particular, are seeing improved efficiency and cost savings after implementation of digital automation. By and large, the CFOs are the main drivers of this approach, as they immediately realize the value in investing in a one-time scalable use case that creates efficiencies, reduces the need for extra hires in a volatile market environment, and eliminates the more robotic nature of people’s jobs, freeing them up for higher-level strategic work. Simply put, teams just work more efficiently with automation. Bringing intelligent document processing automation tools like Alkymi to these businesses is a key component of that success.
Do you think DPA can transform businesses?
JM: People should think about digital process automation as a strategic approach to digital transformation. While transformation sounds theoretical, it is impactful to businesses in very practical ways. An easy example can be found in comparing an employee’s job description with the daily tasks they actually perform. We recently worked with a construction company that hired a warehouse and procurement manager tasked with optimizing inventory and analyzing vendor service for better decision making. As it turned out, the manager was spending 40 hours per week on manual data entry for purchase orders and inventory receipts. In this case, automation would eliminate that data entry and move the work back to data analysis. The transformation there results in smarter decisions and a better bottom line.
Similarly, as companies grow, it seems attractive to hire additional accounts payable clerks for invoice processing to handle increasing volume. Digital process automation, in this case, would eliminate the need to hire additional staff. Tools like Alkymi can take that data and automatically get it into a CRM or a project management system, giving companies better real-time data, free from manual-entry errors.
How does technology like this better connect people?
JM: It’s common for data in organizations to be siloed. The root cause of that is the disconnect between different departmental applications which leads to incompatible processes and low organizational visibility for sound decision making. Automation can bridge the gap between different systems such as a CRM and accounting software or production management so that leadership teams can be on the same page. When all stakeholders can see the information flow from beginning to end, everyone understands the “why” behind the outcomes.
What is the nature of the Alkymi/Automated Solutions partnership?
JM: Visibility brings people together, and visibility into both structured and unstructured data is essential for meaningful insight. Alkymi is a great tool for us because in the organizations we work with so much data is still on paper, whether it be contracts, invoices, or purchase receipts and the like. Those types of unstructured data all vary by vendor or contract originator. Alkymi gives us the opportunity to eliminate the manual work in finding fields and extracting and entering data through a customized, automated Pattern that can do all the work. In a franchise operation in Indiana, for example, we are implementing Alkymi to assist with invoice processing. In short, Alkymi allows us to instantly pull out store-level information that is otherwise combined in one sheet of paper. We can create a streamlined connection between Alkymi and QuickBooks to have accurate, real-time visibility to more granular data. And all of this can be done without adding staff resources.
Alkymi’s Patterns Studio stuck out to us right away for its ease of use, especially in quickly building models for various document types. Going forward, I’m excited to leverage Alkymi’s capabilities for even more complex types of unstructured data.
Is there immediate ROI from automation?
JM: The short answer is, ‘yes.’ Immediately after implementing DPA, data entry errors are eliminated, efficiency increases, staff time on manual, repetitive tasks is reduced, and cash flow can increase. I’d say the biggest ROI is in data entry right now. One of our clients experienced a $17,000 error because of a mistyped number. Alkymi would have prevented that kind of human error. Another CFO was able to go from three accounts payable staff down to two with automation, which represents a 33% savings in salary costs.
How can DPA lead to more enjoyable work?
JM: Creating more meaningful, enjoyable work is my passion. When I was an intern, every Monday morning I spent hours working on the exact same report. Frankly, it was the worst. I truly believe that no one was created to do data entry every day. We don’t need to do that anymore. People’s talents and strengths can be better utilized and to greater value. Alkymi helps create the shift from data entry to the higher-level work that is ultimately more interesting and rewarding.
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