Blog > June 2020 > Digital Automation Platforms: A Swiss Army Knife for Businesses

Digital Automation Platforms: A Swiss Army Knife for Businesses

In the late 1880s, the Swiss Army desired a simple, portable tool to be used by their soldiers for cutting things, opening cans and disassembling rifles. Because Switzerland didn’t have any suitable factories, the initial order had to be outsourced to German knife manufacturers Wester & Co. But soon, Swiss cutlery manufacturer Karl Elsener started producing the indigenous Schweizer Offiziersmesser, which had a single blade, reamer, can opener, and screwdriver. His first batch, named the Modell 1890, was approved, and manufactured for the Army by 1891.

In 1896, Elsener, unhappy with the design of the existing knife, modified it to have tools on both sides of the handle, which could be retracted by spring mechanism. This innovation allowed him to put twice as many features on the knife, and still remains the basis for the modern iteration of the tool. But it was only during World War II that the knife gained both international popularity and its name, as American soldiers unable to pronounce it’s German-language name instead used the literal English-language translation: “Swiss Army Knife.”

In modern times, the term has evolved further to become a benchmark for versatility. Today, to compare something to a Swiss Army Knife is to say that it possesses extreme utility, the property of being applicable to any scenario at hand.


Businesses Need Technology to Be Like Swiss Army Knives

Businesses today are under tremendous pressure to respond to what is being called “the biggest disruption since WWII.” Strategies are being drawn, plans are getting laid out and teams are going into action—all to facilitate a comeback in this complex and unprecedented business environment. It is also becoming increasingly clear that the assumptions of the past will not be valid in the days to come, and that change will need to go from being a principle that we just talk about to an action that we execute every day.

This ability to change daily will be essential as business models, systems and processes all navigate unique environments. In these scenarios, there will be three main capabilities that businesses will expect technology to deliver.

  1. Agility – Speed will be key to every business decision. Opportunities will present themselves for only a small window of time within which they can be leveraged. Similarly, a threat, unless addressed immediately, can throw the entire business off balance. So, it’s fair to assume that the turnaround time for everything will need to come down significantly.
  1. Simplicity – Speed is, in turn, driven by simplicity. We are in a world where employees need to be productive remotely and clients need to understand the value of what businesses offer. Businesses will expect technology to simplify things. A simplified front end experience, assisted operations, and easily configurable rules from different business situations will all be part of this simplification expectation.
  1. Visibility – Visibility drives trust in the process, and in turn, the organization. It gives clarity to participants about what needs to be done when and why. Without clear visibility, it is impossible to take decisions and take them on time.

What Will Swiss Army Knife Inspired Technology Do?

Technology needs to help businesses become more responsive, so they can fulfill the above requirements. Over time, most businesses have built islands of great technology which are “fit for purpose,” i.e., they do what they were originally acquired to do, and they do it very well. As a result, businesses end up with many silos of high performing technology islands, each with it’s own design and operating principles.

However, with the demand for versatile digital applications which are process and automation centric, the need for multifaceted technology platforms is emerging strongly. In other words, we need a Swiss Army Knife of Technology: multiple tools brought together to achieve functions that are different from and greater than what they could individually do. Let’s look at a real-life example of how this concept might work, and the difference it can make:

Consider the process of applying for a corporate account opening. The involves filling up a form, completing a KYC, checking the applicant’s credit, validating documentation, conducting internal checks, and then, finally, generating an approval letter for the account opening. Traditionally, these processes have involved multiple technology platforms: a content management system, workflow and BPM systems, a mobility platform and possibly even an automation solution, leading to an application process that takes an average of 3-5 working days. This is exactly how we would use each tool before we had a Swiss Army Knife.

But today, we have modern platforms with pre-integrated business services to deliver digital applications, just like the Swiss Army Knife. ASG Zenith is one such platform, with five integrated business services: Repository to capture application documents, Process Services to activate the approval workflows and exceptions, Decision Services to configure the rules that will govern the application process, Robotic Services to reduce human activity and Presentation Services to drive superior experience across web, portal, and mobile interfaces. This platform is fast, because it’s pre integrated; it is simple, because it’s model driven; and it provides end to end visibility, because of decision services.

The Corporate Account Opening Process


Thus, ASG Zenith Digital Automation Platform is a Swiss Army Knife of Technology that can deliver digital applications at half the time and half the cost of complex individual backend applications. Therefore, it has the same essential ability as a Swiss Army Knife – extreme utility, the property of being applicable more or less any scenario at hand for digital applications.



enables a new approach to process automation. This unified platform for digital transformation, increases an organization’s competitiveness. It accelerates the automation of processes, with a robust set of business services uniquely integrated through a single visual design environment (ASG-Studio). Its low-code/no-code approach allows business users and IT to partner together to efficiently automate the myriad of processes that engage customers and employees.