With the glitz and glamour of last week’s Capacity23 event in Nashville already nearly a week old, it feels like a good time to recap the day’s events. In stunning surroundings, our customers, partners, employees and guest speakers got together to talk all things service operations, share successes, and to unveil the latest developments in our products all aimed at helping our customers unlock MORE. In this blog, I’ve tried to distil a very busy day down to some highlights and key takeaways to share with you.
I was really impressed by Dion Hinchcliffe, our keynote speaker for the day. He made the call for urgent change in operations, noting that digital workplaces are now vital to being (or remaining) competitive – something that really resonated with the audience. In a world where everyone is being asked to go much faster, while still hitting all the usual KPIs around quality of service, the highlights of what organisations should be focusing on include:
- Analytics. For the first time in history, you have virtually unlimited access to insights. If you don’t use those insights to drive your business forwards, someone else will.
- Going beyond tactical automation to redefine how work is done. We’re talking about building integrated ecosystems of applications that talk to each other, automating repetitive tasks and upskilling human workers, as well as fully digitised customer experiences. Dion recommended the use of dedicated change teams or departments to break down the complexity of this.
- Keeping a close eye on AI. Though still in its infancy, its potential to save money and unlock capacity is huge. In particular, businesses need to consider how they can teach AI their business, and think about the different language models they will need in order to serve a global customer base.
Our CEO, Richard Jeffery, echoed that sentiment, highlighting that the combination of human and artificial intelligence is going to be the next big disruption for service operations. Organisations that can embrace this will be able to navigate any economic, social, and political landscape in a way that maximises business value and ensures a healthy, engaged workforce – wherever and however they work.
After the keynote, Dion moderated a panel discussion with Kelly Brown, Christopher Matz, Satish Shenoy and Leighton McCoy on the subject of how service operations are likely to be affected by the changing world around us. In particular, the discussion highlighted:
- The data challenge. You can never have enough, but you can also have too much. The key is making sense of it all (AI can be a particular help here) and using that data to tell a story that changes how you manage your operations.
- How that data can be used to evaluate hybrid working models objectively, enabling organisations to engage with the next generation of employees who started work during the pandemic. The panel also discussed how hybrid means different things around the world, and that hybrid working can be used to manage digital workers alongside human ones.
- What to do after AI (or if AI fails). The panel agreed that it’s vital to have controls, planning, a diverse workforce, change agents who can help the business adapt, and an outcomes-based approach to thrive beyond AI.
Introducing Decision Intelligence
At its core, Decision Intelligence uses AI to deliver predictive and prescriptive insights to help service operations make better decisions, faster. Ultimately, Decision Intelligence enables your operations to do MORE – whatever that looks like for you. It’s central to our product strategy, and Capacity23 Nashville gave customers in North America a taste of Decision Intelligence for the first time.
The most exciting new capabilities
The advent of Decision Intelligence is accompanied by a raft of amazing new features – and in Nashville we showed customers what’s available now, coming soon, and being worked on. This year, the new features we showed our guests were some of the most exciting we’ve ever showcased – my highlights were:
- The ActiveOps Teams App, which allows users to use our software within Microsoft Teams, so they can access the insights they need to do their jobs, in the place where they do most of their work.
- Smart Planning and Smart Case Planning can create plans at the push of a button – even for complex case-based work. During testing, Smart Planning improved planning accuracy even in top-performing teams enough to unlock up to 5% additional capacity.
- The Virtual Buzz Board (a favourite of our product team) brings together insights from multiple places in ControliQ to give teams all the insights they need for daily department or team meetings, allowing for better decision-making.
- Smart Skills is a first-of-its-kind library of all your people’s skills that’s ALWAYS up to date. With Smart Skills, managers can always be confident they have the right skills available for the work they have on.
The best new feature, though, was undoubtedly the Virtual AOM Coach. It’s an AI-powered virtual assistant that will transform how service operations make decisions, every minute of every day. When it’s available in 2024, it will be able to answer questions about your operations, make recommendations for how to manage any issues that come up, and can even implement those recommendations for you.
An afternoon of MORE stories
During the afternoon at Capacity23, our guests heard from senior ops leaders who are transforming their businesses using ActiveOps, including their routes to defining and unlocking their MORE. In this context, MORE is whatever operations leaders do with the extra capacity they’ve unlocked in their operation. They might boost productivity, increase control, upskill teams, cut overtime costs – or something else entirely.
We kicked things off with a fireside chat with Tom Frosina, Head of Retail Card Services at TD Bank. Tom was able to use ActiveOps data to identify roles across the back and middle office which had similar skillsets, which enabled TD Bank to make its operations more flexible by moving work between these teams. His advice was to start simply, ensure that everyone gets a chance to maintain their skills, and encourage communication between teams – they may uncover process improvements you wouldn’t have spotted.
We then had another panel discussion, chaired by Gerry Purcell and featuring Julie House, Jeremiah Jeschke, Dr. Rajaram Natarajan, and Matt Scott. The panel was discussing getting started with AI in service operations , and was full of great tips – including:
- Find early adopters in your operations and be prepared to take time building trust in the tools.
- Make sure you understand what tools are coming out and how they can help you.
- Recognise the fears your employees will have around AI, and work proactively to address them – for instance, by providing career paths and training plans to help employees upskill.
- Have a plan in place for what to do if the AI breaks – you have to be able to carry on operating.
- Understand how different generations like to use AI and factor that into your planning.
We heard from Greg Gowern and Melissa Gagnon about driving capacity, productivity, and business impact in healthcare. Their stories were fascinating – Melissa shared how she had seen a 25% improvement in productivity using ActiveOps, which is incredible! They both agreed that a large part of the value of ActiveOps is that it gives you insights into what people are doing with their time, which enables you to manage them proactively – both to address underperformance but also to identify who is overworking and at risk of burning out. Melissa also used ActiveOps data to identify processes or types of work where only one person was able to do that work, enabling the business to upskill others or make new hires to remove that single point of failure. I’m sure our other healthcare customers and guests were all taking notes!
Finally, we celebrated with our panel of ActiveOps Awards finalists as they shared the ways they had unlocked MORE in their operations. It was a terrific way to finish the afternoon, and their successes so far and plans for the future were truly inspiring.
The ActiveOps North America Awards
After the main event had wrapped up, the finalists of our ActiveOps Awards headed back to our iconic venue, The Bell Tower, for the long-awaited awards dinner. There were four categories of award: Special Recognition, Excellence in Operations, Operations Team of the Year, and Exec of the Year. Competition was fierce this year, and of course, all our finalists have done incredible things for their organisations and should be very proud.
Congratulations to all our winners, including BNC, TD Bank, CIBC, Humana, and to our joint Execs of the year Tom Frosina and Kelly Brown!