Higher productivity and better customer service are just two of the benefits of increased automation, says Chakradhar “Gooty” Agraharam, VP and commercial head, EMEA, for Cognizant’s digital business operations’ IPA practice

The prominence of automation has rocketed in recent years and has been further accelerated as a result of the pandemic.

While adoption is growing rapidly across most sectors, just 10% of the retail industry have scaled automation across the enterprise, and only 3% of consumer goods companies.

The fundamental reason driving this is a lack of clarity and understanding on how best to exploit and leverage the power of intelligent automation.

Traditional retailers who had to shift online viewed automation purely from a platform approach. This has left many open gaps in both process and potential white-space automation opportunities.

While the core focus on automation exists today in back-office functions, such as HR and finance, an increasing number of use cases can be found in supply chain, front office, pricing, merchandising, omnichannel, campaigns, call-centre operations and customer service.

Business benefits

Significant investments in data over the past decade have helped these businesses manage customer and product insight, and with automation they can now leverage process intelligence to benefit from higher productivity, as well as enhanced customer service.

Demystifying automation and understanding its relevance across the entire value chain is key for this sector to impact the outcomes around customer and financials.

A few practical steps on how our customers have adopted automation include:

  1. Setting up an automation centre of excellence to generate ideas across enterprise
  2. Starting small and scaling fast is the mantra here, which helps create the focus needed to drive change
  3. Driving automation at scale by leveraging the expertise of system integrators who have an extensive toolkit of best practices, tools and accelerators
  4. Adopting a process-centric approach to operational excellence using process mining tools to identify inefficiencies and automation potential, providing a more scientific and structured way to address automation opportunities

The journey seems long, but the time to act is now and the technologies around automation open a plethora of opportunities. In retail, it goes without saying that every little really does help.

To find out more about automation, join our Demystifying Automation webinar from 3-3.45pm (British Summer Time) on Tuesday July 6, where our guest speakers will be sharing their vision, journey and practical experiences of automation that generates business results.

Chakradhar “Gooty” Agraharam is VP and commercial head, EMEA, for Cognizant’s digital business operations’ IPA practice

Leading advisory, consulting, automation and analytics growth and delivery within the region, Agraharam leads a team across the region helping clients navigate and scale their automation and digital transformation journeys. He has more than 25 years of consulting experience, working with clients on large systems integration, program management and transformation consulting programs across Asia, Europe and the Americas.

He has also held executive positions with leading BPO players, was a senior partner at DXC, leading that company’s technology advisory practice and led Cognizant Business Consulting’s digital business practice.

Agraharam holds an MBA from IIM, Calcutta, and has executive management certifications from Rutgers and Henley Business School. He has won reputed industry awards with MCA for his contribution to the digital industry in the UK and is a member of various industry forums. He can be reached at Gooty.Agraharam@cognizant.com.