Remote back office: how to maintain communication efficiency, productivity and data protection
Many companies, especially in the financial sector, have long and successfully “virtualized” their units responsible for interacting with customers – front offices. Employees of customer support services, personal consultants and contact center operators were morally and functionally either ready for remote work, or already worked remotely. They have debugged tools, processes and methodologies for forecasting workloads, planning work shifts, quality control, reporting and analytics systems, and so on.
For most business owners and CIO / COO, the back office is often a “black box”, the processes of which are somehow self-regulating and it’s better not to go into details so as not to disrupt the operation.
While front-offices can be described as “front-line units,” the back-office is, of course, the “rear” and front-line supply lines. And as history teaches us, wars are won by those parties whose logistics processes between the rear and the front are better established.
Running without lagging behind
For back-office employees, remote work is a new, atypical type of activity, the parameters of productivity and personal effectiveness are often not fixed for them, the influence of individual departments and employees on processes is poorly studied.
And if you do not dissemble, many employees can perceive the transition to a “remote location” as an unplanned paid vacation – no one is watching. But it is the back office that is the heart of the company, and it depends on how successfully it will continue to function in the conditions of remote work, whether the organization will be able to maintain its viability.
What steps should be taken?
Firstly, it is necessary to ensure transparency of the actions of employees (visibility).
The Desktop and Process Analytics (DPA) desktop process analytics technology does an excellent job of this. Full transparency of actions not only helps reduce unproductive time, but also provides control over the implementation of all required actions, as well as the correct sequence of steps in business processes.
However, DPA functions do not end with observing what is happening on the screen and recording the actions of employees in the log – it is possible to set up an automatic reaction to certain actions. For example, it will be extremely useful to verify the validity of the input data, this minimizes input errors. You can provide employees with interactive “what to do next” tips and implement “integration without integration” of various applications. In other words, everything that a remote employee can do on his desktop himself can be analyzed, monitored and automated. And of course, visualize this in the reporting system in order to proactively respond to the circumstances. In addition, the results of the analysis of employee actions allow you to build a process map (most business processes are complex in nature and involve employees from several departments) and thereby identify bottlenecks, detect both best practices and typical mistakes of employees, and even outright violations.
The accumulated statistics will allow you to identify routine repetitive actions, which will serve as an excellent basis for subsequent automation and robotization using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology.
An interesting effect from the field of psychology is the awareness of employees about the fact of controlling desktop applications can provide a productivity increase of up to 20%.
Secondly, it is necessary to maintain the continuity of the organization’s business processes and maintain operational efficiency.
Here, the Workforce Management (WFM) technology, which is widely known and has proven itself in contact centers, is the best suited. It allows, based on the load forecast, to build an optimal work schedule for each remote employee, so that he does not stand idle and is not overloaded, taking into account various types of activity, his role at the stages of business processes, qualifications and even personal wishes.
The organization, on the other hand, receives calculated timelines for performing various tasks, and a forecast of workload and productivity of both individual employees and entire departments. Instead of setting goals and waiting for the deadline, the business will be able to track the percentage of completion. And all this without a mass of manual reports and endless status meetings, albeit conducted remotely.
Several departments participate in the complex business process at once, and contact centers, sales offices, and back office employees are involved. WFM technology greatly facilitates long-term planning, especially in the “what if?” Mode, which is very important in an epidemic when the flows are redistributed and the nature of the load changes.
The mentioned technologies will allow not only preserving, but also increasing the efficiency of the organization – both the front office and the back office, and during the difficult period of forced isolation and the transition to remote work, and after the crisis.
According to the implementation experience, the use of WFM solutions for optimizing employee labor on average gives the effect of increasing labor productivity from 8 to 12% (KP). In addition, the satisfaction of the company’s customers is increased due to the promptness of resolving their issues. And the harmonization of the balance of work and personal life of employees reduces staff turnover.
Information Security Priority
The issue of ensuring information security is especially acute in remote work. It is not enough to organize a secure remote connection for your employees; you need to control the actions of users regarding compliance with information security policies, as well as working with confidential data.
To solve this complex problem, it is advisable to use a bunch of several systems at once: technologies for monitoring unauthorized actions, information leakage control (DLP) and a multi-factor authentication system.
Systems for protection against unauthorized actions, for example, Secret Net Studio, provide control of the connection of removable devices to the PC, in particular with the aim of recording sensitive data on them. In addition, the change or removal of equipment from the PC is monitored. DLP solutions technologies solve the problem of controlling the transfer of confidential data from a PC through unauthorized communication channels, identify disloyal employees and confidential data leaks. An additional bonus of modern DLP systems is the control of users’ work on a PC (employee’s working hours in a particular application, PC downtime, etc.), as well as resources visited on the Internet during working hours (for example, entertainment resources, social networks, etc.). d.).