Industry experts peg the Robotics Process Automation (RPA) business to touch $6.7 trillion by 2025. The benefits are clear – RPA is a transformative force for every industry. Apart from the huge business impact and cost reduction, it reduces the workload for employees and enables them to take on more interesting and challenging tasks. It also helps the organization to really and truly scale.
There is, therefore, a significant adoption of this technology by the C-suite as they understand its value and are becoming the change leaders for automation in the organisation. According to Strategy Business magazine, “heading up a hybrid workforce of people and robots will require a different kind of leadership, one that blends quintessential human skills such as empathy with a tech-savvy and data-driven mindset.” Without the investment of C-level executives, RPA will remain disconnected, wasted, and underutilized. Using RPA means an organizational change in every way. It also means putting together a diverse team of AI specialists, business experts, and change agents.
A quick rundown of how to implement RPA for your business – The key to adopting this technology is to identify areas that will add significant business impact. This is called a Process Selection Workshop. Identifying high-impact processes for RPA will ensure that there is an optimal division of labour. Process mining is another way to visualize your company’s workflow and to identify places that need automation.
This is followed by a Process Deep Dive, and then a business plan is drawn up. Once the ideas are validated, then the design work begins. In RPA implementations, it is important to evaluate product vendors and integration partners. RPA needs bespoke implementation plans for specific companies, industries and business goals.
Seeing as RPA is change that is driven from the C-suite, executives should size up the company’s processes across different departments and choose those that they can specifically incentivize for ROI and scalability. According Vartul Mittal, “an enterprise-level governance committee should be created, with a mandate to design a formal architecture for selecting and prioritizing feasible projects” It is important, he says, that this committee should oversee factors that impact ROI and FTE savings, and choose processes that get the maximum executive sponsorship.
So why are executives eager to adopt RPA?
- Better ROI on their investments
Hadoop estimates that companies will realize savings that fall in the range of $5 trillion to $7 trillion by 2025, if they use RPA. RPA can transform a business in any industry. Finance, HR, retail, healthcare, logistics, supply chain management, and manufacturing are especially reaping its advantages and are saving huge bucks by streamlining their processes and boosting productivity.
Robots that work in collaboration with human teams also boost performance and learn very quickly from their environments. For example, manufacturing of linear motor systems, HepcoMotion, has automated the loading and unloading of a CNC milling machine, and this has increased efficiency by 47%.
- Better use of existing resources – HR/Technology etc.
RPA also helps HR departments leverage their resources and technologies to perform more efficiently. A crucial HR requirement like employee satisfaction or workforce planning, for example, can be automated, and this in turn has a chain reaction, impacting the rest of the team and performance. RPA also sees an increase in employee morale, as they spend more time in performing high-value and more intellectual work, instead of mundane or repetitive tasks. Deloitte, for example, has identified more than 50% of its standard HR architecture as having processes that can have robotics applications.
RPA also leverages a company’s existing technologies. According to this report by Forrester Research, RPA fixes bad processes and fills in the gaps when it comes to legacy systems. This means that companies do not have to invest heavily in overhauls. What is great about the philosophy behind RPA is that it cautions us to try and fix things first before robotizing them.
- Competitive advantage: Financial leaders and executives find themselves front and centre of important decisions. RPA can be leveraged as a competitive advantage if executives also consider factors other than cost savings – for example, product development, customer service, and research. They can use RPA to create value in a variety of areas including speed to market and strategies to grow aggressively and scale. Automating crucial touch points like data collection, decision making and using RPA for forecasting can take the business one step further from being just another business that implements RPA to robotize manual or repetitive tasks. This is where the vision and strategy of a C-level executive really comes in, since her or his strategy and planning in terms of RPA can have a bearing on decades into the future.
Whether it is RPA technology, blockchain or AI, or combinations of all automation systems, C-level officers are taking automation very seriously from the point of view of business impact. The biggest gain for a business by implementing RPA is that it helps combine automation and human resources, and takes collaboration, and hence a more focused experience for the customer, to the next level. It is easy to see why every C-suite executive is leading the RPA initiatives at their enterprises.
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For more read: Making the most of the RPA explosion