How RPA Can Help You Conquer the ‘New Normal’ after COVID-19
Original post from https://www.cigen.com.au/cigenblog/
Robotic process automation can make a significant contribution to the minimisation of business disruption due to the COVID-19-related restrictions. The shift to remote working is perhaps the most widely applied measure among the precautions meant to ensure population health in the current context.
In order to better handle the shift, many businesses consider the acceleration of digital transformation. After all, digitisation via RPA is tantamount to increased operational efficiency: better, faster, and cheaper processes. If you want more information on the subject, take a look at our recent article about how RPA makes businesses better prepared to handle crises.
There is no denial that COVID-19 will have profound effects on most aspects of the social and economic life. But it’s also reasonable to wonder when the effects start to diminish and consequently, when we can expect to get back to normal. Or should we rather talk about a “new normal”?
If we only consider the threat of subsequent rounds of reinfection and corresponding restrictions, recovery is not at all likely to be a straight path. This supports the claim that what we will call “normal” from now on is going to be very different from our lives before the pandemic – characterised by a more complex, holistic view of the economic landscape, new ways of serving customers and working with suppliers, increased acknowledgment and use of “technological helping hands”, etc.
As a consequence, businesses that will thrive will be those flexible enough to adapt to a new economic order. Automation appears to be part and parcel of this new order. According to a recent Bain survey, a vast majority of 84% of the companies across the industry spectrum plan to take action in the direction of accelerating automation initiatives.
In the domain of financial services, the percentage is even more impressive – 95%. Even during the initial outbreak of the virus, companies in the world of finance relied on automation to support claims and revenue management after 60% of the back office staff was put on a leave of absence.
Because RPA can help you after COVID-19, it is a vital ingredient of progress nowadays. Companies that have an automation strategy in place are a lot more likely to act more efficiently and to manage the additional costs brought about by the pandemic, to build business resilience, and to deal more easily with remote work.
For instance, if software robots, by default virus proof, take over the front-office and back-office tasks on site, your staff could make better use of their home work time by focusing on clever, original projects. Bots can also foster the spread of real (i.e., not fake) COVID-19 news, monitor network traffic, manage consumers’ cancellation and purchase orders, etc.
These context-specific use cases should substantiate the claim that RPA is indeed a key factor for appropriate crisis management.
Use RPA to conquer the ‘new normal’ after COVID-19
Software robots are going to be business pivots, required to remain successful in these times when the practical anchors of normality are changing. They can assist you in adapting to the ‘new normal’, indeed conquering it, in several ways, of which we list a few.
1. Increase receptivity to disruptive changes
Sharing workload with software robots is already a kind of activity that requires human workers to ditch many of their behavioural and cognitive routines. As a consequence, RPA encourages people to stay open to new ways of doing things, and to flexibly adapt to constant processes of change.
Process driven companies, i.e., companies that are continuously looking for process improvements, are currently among the most successful on the market – consider Amazon, Uber or Siemens. So bots may be viewed as offering flexibility training during these times when economic success is about how well and how fast people can adjust to the new conditions.
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2. RPA gives you “first-mover advantage”
First-mover advantage is based on taking committed action in the direction of digitisation. This means scaling automation and AI technologies like machine learning at enterprise level, maintaining a steady pace of digital development, and leveraging strategic thought on the long run.
A recent, post-COVID, Mc Kinsey research shows that almost half of the top economic performers rely on entirely new digital offerings, as opposed to only a quarter of all other respondents. From the perspective of the business portfolio make up, 26% of the digital incumbents acquired new digital businesses for longer term profitability, with no short term gain.
3. A boost in data security
A visible effect of COVID19-related physical distancing is the increased use of online communication, via the available means, mainly, social networking apps. The abrupt scaling of the usage volume may cause additional security breaches compared with the times before the pandemic outbreak.
RPA reduces cyber security risks because it enables the enforcement of more effective cyber operations by, e.g., minimising risk exposure by a reduction in the time to respond to incidents, decreasing attack service by deployment of security controls whenever compliance exceptions are detected.
4. Supporting the remote workforce
Working from home has started as a necessity dictated by the social distancing measures. Many employees were quite happy with it and, at least at the beginning, it increased productivity and flexibility. You can leverage RPA to ensure streamlined processes, and hence higher productivity, as well as a stronger sense of connectedness among employees despite the physical distance.
Consider also automatic status updates, reminders, meeting links, etc. All these can help your staff focus on the issues to be discussed and, perhaps, come up with more insightful ideas.
All the benefits of automation gain more weight when you scale RPA at an enterprise level. While it is true that RPA helps you after COVID-19 from the first steps of the automation journey, i.e., the pilot phase, scaling RPA makes further progress by standardising your company’s approach to automation. We invite you to read more here on efficient ways of scaling automation and thus transforming your organisation, making it more attuned to the ‘new normal’.
Curious to find out more? Take a quick look at our most read articles from the past couple of months, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic: 6 Real World Use Cases for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in Healthcare and 8 Real World Use Cases for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in HR. Then read about how to measure the success of your RPA implementation in our article about 10 performance metrics for assessing robotic process automation benefits.