Pink Innov’: Interview Mehdi Nafe “Sustainable innovation, a decade to act”

Pink Innov’ is a network of women and men who want to bring innovation to life by facilitating its concrete application in organizations. Their actions: to keep a constant watch on current events, to contribute their thoughts, to encourage exchanges and to organize workshops, feedback and discovery conferences to put innovation at the heart of the debate.

In a white paper, they have decided to gather 75 testimonies from SME / ETI / start-up managers, academics and organizations, and large groups, all of whom have expressed their views and shared their vision of responsible innovation.

Discover the testimony of Mehdi Nafe, CEO of Novelis:

“After 15 years working in digital and technology, I made the choice to become an entrepreneur in 2017 by founding Novelis, a hybrid structure halfway between a research-based start-up and a specialized consulting firm. I have always been
inspired by innovative and responsible societal practices and my desire in creating
Novelis was to have a sustainable footprint on the societies in which we operate.
The notion of sustainability is essential, as it is one of the keys to responsible
innovation. When Novelis was created, all the partners worked at length on the
founding values of the company and the mission we wanted to give ourselves.

Our first ambition was to have a tangible impact on innovation processes and to
make technologies accessible to all organizations, regardless of their size. This is
why we have created a Research & Development laboratory, in which we invest a
quarter of our revenues. I am convinced that Artificial Intelligence is still in its
infancy and that, in the years to come, this technology will profoundly transform the
way we live and work and will have the capacity to impact the daily lives of people.
The latest advances in medicine give us a brief glimpse of its potential. However,
ethics must remain a point of vigilance in the uses to avoid any drift.

If I were to define responsible innovation, it would be a process by which any
innovation, whatever its state of progress, is analyzed in terms of environmental
sustainability, ethics and relevance from a societal point of view. Through our
expertise in new technologies, we strive to accompany our clients and evolve in this
direction. Automation, for example, is a tool that allows us to simplify information
systems, thereby reducing the hosting infrastructure and the associated carbon
footprint. By coupling this with a rationalization and urbanization approach, it is
possible to optimize digital infrastructures, by making them custom-made, thanks in
particular to the new modular architectures – microservices – capable of
automatically managing their scalability. These are all favorable factors in view of
the inevitable ecological transition that is coming. On a daily basis, we are
developing innovative solutions that are faster to implement and therefore less
resource and energy intensive, both for Novelis and for our customers

But our footprint should not be limited to the scope of our expertise and we want to
go further in the societal actions that could be implemented by Novelis and its
employees. We have set up a dedicated working group which is currently studying
several causes and mechanisms in which Novelis could provide long-term
assistance. The goal is to come up with a concrete, sustainable action plan in a few
weeks, with an associated budget, so that we can start implementing a real aid
program this year. Sponsorship can be financial but we do not want it to be limited
to that. We want to include every employee who wants to participate in this program
by offering them a range of impact actions to get involved in, depending on their
sensitivity to these issues. Each of us can, at our own level, make a contribution and
help our fellow man. Our employees were immediately enthusiastic about this
initiative and saw the value and new meaning it could bring to their daily lives. The
collective is one of our founding values that each employee shares, but this word
only finds true meaning when it can extend beyond the company and be associated
with the world around it.

I am convinced that the success of a company is not measured solely by the
conquest of new markets or by its profits, but by its ability to work for the common
good when it has the means and the capacity to do so. We are at a turning point in
our civilization and it is incumbent on all leaders to take their responsibilities to
move the world forward and create a more just, innovative, inclusive and
sustainable society.”

Interview En-Contact: automation and process optimization projects have ROI that can be counted in months

This month, we invite you to read the interview of our CEO Mehdi Nafe of En-Contact in the French version https://en-contact.com/projets-dautomatisation-doptimisation-processus-metiers-ont-retours-investissements-se-comptent-mois-mehdi-nafe-novelis

En-contact is the leading B2B magazine which focuses on Customer Service, Contact Centers and Customer Experience.

At the end of August, we had the pleasure to discuss with Manuel Jacquinet, editor in chief of En-Contact, about automation, process optimization and more generally about our vision of the market. This interview was also an opportunity for our CEO to explain the reasons behind the creation of Novelis, and to go back over the differences and complementarities between players such as Novelis and other consulting and integration companies.

As you will have the opportunity to read, Novelis is fully committed to its partners and customers to carry out the various transformation projects and make digital a concrete opportunity for economic efficiency for employees and customers.

Interview #5 : “At The Heart of Automation”, A Focus on Novelis Consulting

Fabien Fouissard

For this 5th interview, I had the pleasure to have a chat with the founder of Novelis Consulting. Innovation being the heart of its strategy, the subject of Automation does not leave Novelis Consulting indifferent, but let Mehdi Nafe express it in its own words!

Question 1 : Hello Mehdi, to start, could you please introduce yourself as well as your Novelis Consulting structure, its positioning, and your objectives?

I am Mehdi Nafe, co-founder and CEO of the Novelis group. I am an engineer by education and a projects’ man. I have spent most of my career in managing digital transformation programs.

Novelis is a young and dynamic company, that was founded on strong values with a focus on Research and Innovation. Our activities revolve around 2 major pillars: R&D Lab and Services.

As part of the Services entity, we are working on various projects related to the automation and transformation of digital uses, both for our customers and for the general public.

Within the Research & Development Lab, we address trending technological topics such as : artificial intelligence, connected objects, virtual reality, Devops, etc.

Novelis positions itself as a horizontal management, far from the layers of hierarchy or rigid and authoritarian organizations. We give our employees a breathing space to be important players in their careers and their progress.

Novelis clearly positions itself on a horizontal management mode, far from hierarchical layers or rigid and authoritarian organizations

At Novelis, we value people, teamwork, audacity, innovation, and the courage to take initiatives.Question 2 : At NICE, as a supplier of an RPA software suite, we can see that more and more companies are integrating the subject of automation in their reflections and roadmap. What are your views on the issue at Novelis?

To begin with, we share this observation regarding the awareness of the RPA subject as an alternative, in certain cases, of so-called “classic” IT projects. It is obvious that an IT department is capable of addressing, via IT projects, most of the business needs that it’s assigned to tackle. However, these projects are not always “interesting” from a time-to-market or complexity of architecture perspective.

We should also note that not all processes can be automated : you should not force certain application methods with an ideological approach. It must be accepted that certain processes are only partially automated.

Do not force certain application cases with an ideological approach.

There is a real alternative that is RPA, which has a similarly interesting potential on ROI. Not to mention that at Novelis, we are also interested in this technology from the angle of “bridges” that can be established with Artificial Intelligence, further strengthening the pool of possibilities.Question 3 : Through your experience related to the projects, and to your own studies and benchmarks carried out internally, what do you personally think an automation and RPA solution brings to organizations? What makes the choice of this technology relevant? For what types of processes?

In my opinion, the first of the values ​​provided is the multiplication of the means offered by the RPA to businesses. This intrinsic possibility of being able to do more without impacting the number of resources required.

The “time-to-market” argument is also interesting because automation projects allow faster production. There is also the fact of being able to have a concrete and rapid vision of what is being automated.

Another force to be noted is the weak adhesion of the RPA to the IS. Today companies have a lot of applications, security to be maintained, and growth issues to take into consideration. The fact that RPA is just a consumer of IS, this dimension which is really non-intrusive, is a decisive advantage.

Another strength to note, the low adhesion of the RPA to the IS

I would also add the fact that launching an RPA project is also an opportunity to adapt and optimize organizational processes, rework them, and therefore offer the opportunity of a better user experience and increased efficiency.Question 4 : The RPA software market has many players. What are, from your point of view at Novelis, the key criteria that allow you to choose one RPA solution over another?

First of all we should take into account that the chosen solution must be capable of offering both Robotic Process Automation (autonomous robots on servers) and Desktop Process Automation.

Second, from a Novelis point of view, the ability to support and integrate external modules is very important. It increases the possibilities to benefit from better functional coverage in line with the processes themselves.

Finally, even with the mentioned elements, stability, reliability, and the level of maturity of the solution must be taken into account. Our selection of solutions, that have proven themselves within those boundaries and with which we are sharing a roadmap and positioning over the years, is definitely based on the combination of all the mentioned factors.Question 5 : At Novelis, what is the approach you offer your clients when it comes to RPA? What do you think sets you apart from the competition? What about the parts related to consulting itself, and the delivery – run part?

At Novelis, we obviously offer the ability to integrate and deploy RPA projects in different forms, first by understanding the process to be automated, presenting our recommendations, and finally the development and maintenance of the solutions.

That said, we differentiate ourselves on the potential linked to our R&D Laboratory, in particular the AI part. Again, it’s about being able to seamlessly bring an added value into the project itself.

As an extension of this approach, we note two key points :

  • OCR Support : All the solutions more or less integrate this subject but we have the ambition to go even further with our R&D Laboratory. This is important because reading documents and images is a significant element in Front & Back Office organizational and operational processing.
  • NLP Support : It is there through AI and Machine Learning, to offer a better understanding and interpretation of unstructured data. This data is the input of most processes, so a proper analysis is inevitable to be able to increase the number of eligible and usable cases.

In reality, we really propose to “push” the natural boundaries of RPA, while relying on the roadmaps of the manufacturers, of course. Our mission is to bring in a state of open possibilities in order to offer an increased added value to the optimized and revised processes.Question 6 : What is the unanswered question that you would like to answer when it comes to RPA?

0-4

It’s okay to ask questions, it’s all legitimate. Do robots replace humans? No, you have to take a step back and keep in mind a historical perspective.

RPA and AI impact organizations as previous technological developments have also revolutionized daily work.

This is a positive change. For 100 people to do the work of 110 is to give oneself the capacity to do better and to reduce the number of errors and stress levels. What remain for people are the tasks and functions that bring the highest value. It’s only human to be focused on what is most meaningful, most valuable, and the processes where empathy and taking responsibility are decisive. Of course, there will also be abuse, let’s not be naïve, but it will not come from the tool itself but from its use.

At Novelis, we are realistic and optimistic. We are therefore completely convinced that this is a solution of progress, and social growth.

Thank you for your time, Mehdi! For readers who wish to know more about what Novelis has to offer, do not hesitate to contact Mehdi directly on Linkedin, it’s  here. For those who want to contact me, you know how to do it. See you soon for a new interview.

AI accelerated RPA: Interview with Olivier Chosson, Novelis COO

Today we present you a transcript of an interview conducted by NICE welcoming Olivier Chosson, COO & founder of the company Novelis (www.novelis.io) –  consultants in technological integration (Automation, OCR, NLP, IA, micro-services, development of business applications) – who discussed a question relevant to key decision-makers: how to accelerate my digital transformation projects with RPA technologies?

NICE: Hello Olivier, so how did this confinement period go for Novelis and how is the recovery going?

Olivier Chosson : Hello everyone. I think Novelis lived through this period much like most companies in the sector. Project stoppages in March and April, and now an intense recovery, especially around automation issues.

We also took advantage of this rather quiet period to reflect on our support strategy for the coming quarters, review priorities, and initiate new projects. I also want to say that during this period, working from home allowed us to increase empathy with our contacts, whether in the private or public sector. The relevance of Novelis has further increased.

NICE: At Novelis, how do you see the topic of RPA for the coming quarters?

To answer the question, the topics on automation will continue to progress in the coming months. The challenge is to go beyond the few robots in the accounting and finance back-office and to manage systematically other departments. For example, a large American pharmaceutical group has taken it to the next level by automating more than 450 processes. At NICE, they support large international groups in deploying thousands of robots. It is, therefore, possible and it works from the moment when we follow a relevant methodology, whether we know how to identify the eligible processes no matter how complex they might be. It is important to go beyond the short-term dimension and be able to offer business models at the organizational level. Otherwise, this technology would only be a functional “add-on” in the IT architecture of the organization.

NICE: How do you address this problem of identifying eligible processes to propose a roadmap that is both ambitious and realistic?

We have two approaches. The first is our Process Assessment offer. It is the ability to mobilize our best experts in business analysis to identify, alongside our customers, the processes that can be automated. To do this, we apply a methodology combining interviews with business executives, shoulder surfing the employees accomplishing the tasks, and analyzing intrinsic data linked to each process: duration, applications involved, nature of the technologies used, structured, or unstructured data. Following this qualification audit, a decision-making summary is presented to our client, in which we prioritize processes to be automated by their complexity and associated ROIs. By integrating this general vision, decision-makers have the means to make the right choices.

At Novelis we are also primarily technical architects. These recommendations are made in compliance with urbanization rules and with the concern of building maintainable and scalable solutions and architectures. With this in mind, IT Departments who lack the technical expertise must not be omitted from these projects.

The second approach is technological and based on artificial intelligence. By installing a solution such as NICE’s Automation Finder, we can get extremely precise insights of processes, but even more so, of tasks that can be automated.

This technology is very helpful for accelerating an automation roadmap within a company!

Besides, its implementation is really simple because it only requires installing an application on the team’s workstation. This approach respects all security constraints for personal life through observed applications’ white- and blacklists and the fact that the compiled data is not integrated within the apps’ unitary origins.

After a period of 15 to 20 days, the data is consolidated and analyzed by the solution using artificial intelligence. It is then possible to identify the tasks that can be automated. The solution summarizes the following:

  • Number of identified tasks
  • Nature of the identified tasks (copy/paste, navigation, documents used, …)
  • Repetitiveness of the identified processes
  • Time spent on each of these tasks
  • Relevance of the potential ROI

To our point of view, starting with the first phase of process evaluation and then launching an automatic detection initiative seems to be the best approach.

NICE: Can you tell us about an Automation Finder project and what it helped you bring to your client?

Often when trying to automate tasks, the stages of a process in which human insights are involved can be complex because it usually requires human validation, which is a big responsibility. However, some steps in this process can be optimized and automated.

This is why we carried out this project with our client and the results were very relevant. We have identified the following processes:

  • Sending a structured email pre-completed with a Desktop Automation solution, based on information collected in real-time, that accumulated 1,100 actions per month!
  • Collecting and consolidating customer information KYC (know your customer) to relieve their employees from browsing and data re-entry: we recorded 70,000 occurrences over 4 weeks.
  • Another KYC related opportunity with more than 4,000 identified occurrences, saving tens of hours of processing time, mostly concerning the recovery of contact details.

Beyond these benefits linked to saving time, securing data, and the ability to deliver an optimal customer experience, the quality of the employees’ work has also improved: unnecessary and uninteresting tasks are entrusted to the Desktop Automation part.

NICE: In terms of time and budget, where do you stand?

This is also what’s interesting with RPA technology. Implementation budgets are manageable. Projects are set up quickly and ROIs are as measurable as heavy ERP migrations, and yet faster to achieve. This is not a quick fix. But as the London School of Economics recalled at an English fair about automation: RPA is the technology that offers the highest ROI compared to all other observed technologies.

At Novelis, our consultants and engineers are pragmatic. Indeed, organizations need new strategies, a roadmap, and principles of governance, but above all, they need to maintain common sense and to be operational with the delivered quality and the provided value. Automation Finder has been designed to trace facts and quantified data. Such a solution is clearly the second stage of the RPA rocket.

Thank you to the NICE team for this interview!

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