You and your organisation need RPA (even if you don't yet realise it)
December 05, 2019
We now live in a world coming to grips with machine learning and artificial intelligence – concepts that we’re all familiar with.
These technologies are being deployed in a surprisingly wide variety of use cases today – such as streaming music, your phone learning about your movement habits and prompting you with traffic information, through to intelligent chatbots solving service problems you might be having with your phone company.
Intelligent automation technologies are fast being built into products by well-funded startups looking for new enterprises and industries to disrupt. Take a moment to consider how your industry competitors might be working to improve their businesses by adopting technologies such as these.
Companies are disappearing at an ever-increasing rate
According to the Harvard Business Review, in the last 15 years, 52% of the US Fortune 500 companies have disappeared. It’s clear that those organisations unencumbered by legacy systems and who can respond to change the fastest have the best chances of success in today’s volatile market.
Digital transformation is racing ahead: no industry is immune
Agility and a light touch have never been so important in business. As every organisation working to digitally transform knows, process matters. And most have hundreds – if not thousands – of repetitive, manual processes that stand in the way.
The implementation of technologies such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) are changing the game. RPA can be thought of as a workforce of digital assistants (or software ‘robots’) with the ability to imitate many human user actions. They can log in and use the same applications that a human would use to complete tasks, such as creating files and folders, copying and pasting data, filling in forms, manipulating data in Excel and much more. These robots can work 24×7 and can rapidly complete a wide variety of mundane tasks that are present in most business processes and activities.
RPA was born in the finance and insurance industries, as they possess a number of characteristics that make them especially suited for automation – they have clear business rules, many unconnected or poorly integrated legacy IT systems and mature, repetitive tasks that involve manual rekeying of data.
Deloitte’s research (shown below) demonstrates that RPA is capable of delivering extraordinary value to organisations – with 95% of respondents realising productivity improvements:
The automation of routine processes can quickly lower costs, reduce errors and improve the speed at which tasks are completed, which has a huge impact on the customer experience and allows staff to focus on more important activities.
RPA also dramatically enhances workforce agility, as robots can be scaled out and replicated across a business at a rapid pace — much faster than the lengthy process of recruiting and training employees would be.
By 2020, Gartner predicts that 90% of large and midsize organisations will have at least one process supported by RPA.
The 4th Industrial Revolution – also known as Industry 4.0 – is a topic discussed with increasing fervour in the technology industry, and relates to the current trends around advanced automation, cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence. RPA is likely to be the catalyst for Industry 4.0, and the enablement of digital workforces that will have a profound effect on the future of work.
RPA is rapidly becoming a digital innovation for companies of all sizes and is now at a tipping point. A business’ processes are at the heart of its productivity, customer experience and competitive advantage, all of which RPA promises to improve while reducing costs, improving quality, compliance, scalability and providing better management information. Most importantly, it allows employees to focus on higher value work and can help established enterprises fend off the ever-increasing threat of disruption.
Thanks to its significant upsides and widespread applicability, RPA represents the next leap in competitive advantage; its impact on the future of work will be immense.
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