Can RPA help organisations gain immunity during economic slowdown?
Blog: NASSCOM Official Blog
Times are tumultuous and markets are uncertain. The widespread pandemic and effects of the global economic recession in the first half of 2020 have forced CIOs and CTOs to re-evaluate their strategic priorities and look for technologies that could help them keep their customers, employees and their families safe, with no impact on production and costs.
There is a buzz around how robots can transform business processes. We have been talking for years about robots—the droids that mimic humans in a factory—but now we are on the verge of seeing robots that replicate the human brain, rather than only arms and legs. Just like their physical cousins transformed manufacturing, these “virtual” robots are likely to change the way we run our business processes.
So why do we need robots to run business processes in the first place?
Well, to begin with many of our business processes are not as intelligent as they could be. Some of them cut across many IT systems that do not always talk to each other. Others are just too time consuming for humans to perform. To run them smarter is however an expensive proposition. It often involves a massive IT transformation such as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation or a toolset such as a business process management system (BPMS). Other business processes rely on insights based on human reasoning that computers have not been able to replicate.
Therefore, today’s business conditions are ripe for major change and the emerging technologies within the robot-led automation realm could just be the solution. One such solution has been classified as a set of tools knows as “Robotic Process Automation (RPA),” which has been maturing quietly over the last decade, to the point where they are now used for enterprise-scale deployments, very quickly and at very low cost.
Is RPA recession proof?
Some vexing questions come along with economic uncertainty. Will enterprises be able to operate at existing costs? Will their profits will take a hit as business operations start becoming unaffordable? Moreover, will they be able to come up with innovative business models to stay relevant in the changing times?
Organizations that have already implemented RPA are having a better time dealing with these questions. These organizations will likely have an easier time dealing with all the nuances of setting up remote work and keeping up with similar levels of productivity by automating back-office activities. RPA can also help enterprises help overwhelmed customer support staff with attended automation or front office bots.
RPA enables organizations to put productivity on repeat, which means the human resources can work on high-value tasks. Leveraging human intellect to the best of its potential is critical to survival and growth during times of economic tension.
It is one of the technologies that is seemingly un-impacted by “recession-like” economic downturns. In 2019, Gartner named Robotic Process Automation as the fastest growing market-segment in the entire software space, which leading providers like UiPath witnessed first-hand in 2019.
In terms of Annual Reoccurring Revenue (ARR), UiPath added a net new amount of $60 million, bringing the entire ARR balance to $360 million in 2020. To put that in perspective, UiPath grew their ARR base by 17% in just one quarter.
However, does it have applicability across segments?
RPA offers tremendous value proposition in business and IT processes. Corporate Services (CS) are the horizontal support activities that every organization, regardless of the industry or domain it belongs to, needs to perform. The scope therefore includes automating the entire landscape of back-office and middle-office tasks. To be more specific, we are talking about three key areas – finance and accounting, procurement/supply chain, and human resource management. These processes are structured and rule based, have heavy number of transaction requirements, and criticality and dependencies built around them, and are prone to human errors. RPA can transform and automate a whole lot of these process areas.
Here are some of the global key benefits, which can be achieved through RPA:
- Healthcare: Help accelerate administrative paperwork related to patient registration, lab testing, Automated reporting of test results, enabling procurement to manage the influx of medical supply orders.
- Travel: Help ensure business continuity to the hard-hit travel industry with attended and unattended automations. Attended automations in airlines industry can relieve the load imposed on contact centers due to overwhelming cancellation requests.
- IT & ITES: Setting up remote workstation. Monitor the health status of an organization’s workforce that is widely distributed using a health screening bot.
- Manufacturing and Supply Chain: Help organizations with the influx in product demand orders. Help organizations asses their risk levels by compiling detailed daily reports with the latest information tailored to the organization’s needs
- Education: Schools and universities can use RPA to automate class scheduling, activate in-bulk licensing of remote video conference tools for online classes, distribute relevant resources for students and more
- Public Sector: Leverage automation to enable public sector institutions to efficiently distribute funds to the needy, help update public health data in real-time and automate qualification and validation processes for various jobs
RPA helps businesses get as close as possible to the ideal scenario by freeing organizations from mundane, repetitive business chores. From finance and accounting to HR and IT, the possible applications of RPA are numerous. The manufacturing industry has a lot to benefit from RPA. Not only can manufacturers increase their go-to-market speed by maximizing productivity, but can also reduce costs by increasing compliance and minimizing human errors. Overall operational agility is enhanced by optimizing repetitive time-consuming manual processes.
As we observe that current times could lead to some permanent changes in work-style of consumers and clients, RPA is a recession-proof technology that can cater to the needs of enterprises in market lows as well as highs.
Department Head- Intelligent Automation
Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Pvt. Ltd