Why your business should embrace RPA
South Africa, along with most of the world, has been in some state of lockdown since March, with millions of businesses impacted as a result. Growth has slowed to Depression-era levels, with many countries poised for a long and lasting recession in the coming months.
Successfully adjusting to the lockdown has required a tremendous amount of agility from enterprises to ensure business continuity in some form, where this has been an option. For corporate South Africa, this meant implementing wide-scale remote work capability within days, fast-tracking the debate about working from home from the future to now.
Now more than ever, companies are looking for modern tools and technologies that not only help them deliver better service to their clients, but also get them geared for what promises to be a long and challenging road ahead. One such technology is proving particularly useful, one that has been with us for a while, but the capability of which has become a necessity: Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
RPA is software automation that allows you to automate business processes or tasks that are performed on a computer by a person. Using RPA tools from UiPath, Automation Anywhere and other industry leaders, companies can deploy software ‘bots’ to mimic what a user would do while performing a task on a computer, in particular repetitive high volume activities. It can be used to automate any number of simple or more complex tasks, from generating an automatic email response to performing thousands of different tasks in an ERP system.
Investing in the connectivity, hardware and software that enables and streamlines remote working has become mandatory, but the next step – stimulating business growth – requires something more. Companies should be looking at how they can maximise productivity in this new work paradigm, how staff can be more efficient and productive regardless of where they are physically.
One way to achieve this is to leverage a working partnership between people and software, where software works alongside people to automate their repetitive daily tasks. That’s where RPA comes in, as an assistant that provides people with the capacity to achieve more in a workday.
It gives people more time to spend on high-value tasks that require skill, experience, judgement and human decision making, while offloading tedious, repetitive and predictable tasks to the software.
All businesses must work within certain capital and human resource constraints, and right now, the capital constraint will be more severe for the foreseeable future. RPA is an opportunity to increase efficiency and augment human resource capacity to focus on delivering high-value business services.
As the lockdown measures are lifted, there will be a scramble for new clients and winning back clients that you may have lost. You may even have to re-hire skills that the business had to let go. Invest more time on client retention as the fallout of the pandemic lingers. Your sales channels, customer communications, customer onboarding processes and the delivery of your service has to be better and faster.
Organisations must ask themselves (or rather should have a few months ago) how efficient are our current processes? Can we do them more efficiently? If your business is not actively investigating technologies like RPA or looking to expand its current implementation of them, now is the time to do so. We are going through a seismic shift in how services will be provided and consumed in the new normal. A year from now some will emerge in first place and others in last.