The Future of Robotic Process Automation. What will business processes look like in 2025?
Marios Stavropoulos, CEO of Softomotive, is being interviewed by Diana Davis, Senior Editor at PEX Network, in the context of PEX annual Operational Excellence research report.
Research findings dictate that businesses need to transform the way they operate in order to survive the shifting market dynamics in the coming years, and robotics are predicted to be a key enabler for these new ways of working. “New technologies such as AI and RPA, will radically transform business operations over the next decade,” says Diana Davis, Senior Editor at PEX Network and author of the report. “To truly harness these technologies companies will need to focus on doing things in better, faster, simpler and easier ways. That means that the successful businesses of the future will manage their processes as strategic assets. What you do and how you do it is next decade’s competitive advantage.”
In this interview, Marios Stavropoulos talks about what are the common misconceptions that people often have about Robotic Process Automation, the advantages associated with RPA that businesses can benefit from, the industries and processes that will be most affected by RPA and the capabilities of the automation software to evolve over the next five to ten years.
Below is an interview abstract, while the whole interview can be found in the downloaded at the Emergence the Future of Operational Excellence report.
PEX Network: It’s widely documented that RPA can be useful in terms of cutting operational costs. What are the other advantages that are associated with RPA, that businesses can benefit from?
Cost reduction is what usually makes people start thinking about RPA in the first place, especially now that outsourcing has started becoming less and less cost effective. On top of that, of course, cost is a business metric that everyone cares about and can easily be measured. However, when it comes to RPA benefits, this is not where the story ends.
There are so many benefits that organizations gain by adopting robotic automation, that the true ROI ends up exceeding the initial expectations. An important factor is that humans are prone to errors, especially when carrying out dull, repetitive tasks. A software robot, on the other hand, can do the same thing again and again, error-free and with 100% accuracy.
Then there is speed of delivery. A process that would take a person, for example, half an hour, could take, maybe, ten minutes or less if automated by a robot. Delivery speed, combined with error reduction, results in improved customer experience and increased quality of service.
RPA also provides greater transparency. Process managers can measure the performance and the cost of each task and each process with great accuracy. In addition, software robots provide detailed auditing, which helps organizations with regulatory compliance procedures.
In addition, software robots give organizations greater agility as they can easily be retrained in order to adapt to new demands or changes in the organization and its procedures.
Finally, bots provide the scalability that organizations need to deal with a continually changing workload. Robots can work 24/7, and given that the workload fluctuates throughout the year, robots allow organizations to scale up rapidly in order to meet new demands and handle production peaks efficiently.
PEX Network: What is the best piece of advice you can offer to businesses who are either thinking about or starting to implement RPA?
My advice would be to make sure that RPA is adopted as a strategic decision within the organization. For this initiative to succeed, you need to make sure that you get consensus from all stakeholders, that you engage management, business and IT from the early stages, and that you have planned to communicate the RPA benefits widely internally.
That would of course be the ideal scenario, however we have also seen cases where RPA starts small, from a business unit. If this is the case, then what I would advise is to start with processes that will show the biggest ROI, and as a rule of thumb select the ones that are the real bottlenecks in the organization. Then you get a better chance for the new initiative to shine and be self-driven.
In both cases, it’s very important to choose wisely when it comes to the vendor that provides the RPA solution. Businesses need to make sure that they are selecting the most suitable vendor and technology for their automation needs. For this, an initial proof of concept is highly recommended, especially for large deployments. And that would be the last and by far the most important piece of advice I would give: make sure that the automation solution you select is reliable and actually delivers what it promises.
Learn more about ProcessRobot, Softomotive’s Robotic Process Automation Solution.