Traditionally, risk evaluation as part of the business strategy did not include dealing with healthcare crises. Before 2020, what could possibly go wrong in a way that would significantly affect the global economy and everyone’s lives?
Then, the pandemic came and gave us the answer. During the spring of 2020, in just a few days, not weeks or months, as it normally would take a company to adjust their workflows – organizations were forced to adapt their business models to keep doing their activities, in unusual conditions, at a high uncertainty level.
Almost every business in the world has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, one fourth of companies registered a 50% sales drop and on average, companies’ sales dropped 27% in October 2020-January 2021 from pre-pandemic levels, reveals a World Bank analysis based on surveys with over 120,000 companies in more than 60 countries.
Consequently, the most important thing they needed to do for survival was building resilience. According to McKinsey, “resilience is the ability of a business to withstand, adapt, and thrive in the face of shocks that are internal and external, as well as known and unanticipated”. And this couldn’t been said any better.
For doing this, companies had to find a way to make workflows more effective and maintain the productivity level among employees, despite remote working. Therefore, the pandemic proved to be the perfect timing to embrace robotic process automation technology, as it can be implemented fast and easily, on the existing IT infrastructure and with immediate advantages.
Specialists believe that automation is suitable for almost every business, from every industry, as it can perform the repetitive, mundane tasks of an employee, so called the “copy-paste” tasks. Intelligent automation is and will continue to be from now on the ideal tool for a company to survive and to continue to do business in times of crisis.
Robotic process automation (RPA) refers to a software technology able to build and manage software robots that can perform humans tasks faster and more effectively. Basically, robotic process automation can perform repetitive, time-consuming tasks that require little human intervention. We explain at length how Robotic Process Automation works on our website here.
Implementing RPA in time of crisis brings a lot of benefits to the company, from cost and time savings, to a smoother workflow and a high level of productivity and customer satisfaction. You can read an interesting perspective about RPA in 2021: digital transformation during the pandemic.
But when robotic process automation is enriched with other technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) including machine learning, natural language processing, structured data interaction and intelligent document processing – we can talk about intelligent automation, even a more powerful technology that could transform forever the way companies do business.
So, if your company – like many others – has struggled with these challenges, you should consider implementing intelligent automation:
- Your cashflow has been impacted, as customers also faced with cash issues;
- Your income sources have been affected: the pandemic forced companies to shift from offline to online or even to shut down their operations, so workflows has been affected;
- You couldn’t provide a positive customer experience: the customer must be the central element of your business, but the pandemic brought a huge pressure;
- You cannot prioritize business tasks: in times of crisis, companies must prioritize what activities are critical for the business to continue to function and what tasks could be eliminated.
Intelligent automation proves to be a real game-changer in vital industries for the world, such as healthcare, retail and eCommerce, telecommunications, logistics, public sector and so on. By implementing it, companies could optimize and automate business processes and accelerate digital transformation.
Intelligent Automation examples can be as simple as chatbots able to do answer to basic requests or software robots able to read and extract data from certain database and introduce them in other applications or systems.
Curious to see a practical example? Let’s take a look at an RPA demo for an UiPath software robot working in the HR department of First Bank:
How can Intelligent Automation help in times of crisis
Let’s take a closer look at a list of benefits brought by Intelligent Automation, especially in unpredictable times:
1. Cost savings
This is one of the most important aspects to take care of in times of crisis and automation could do this successfully.
According to Accenture, when RPA is used effectively, the average handling times is reduced by up to 40% and processing costs could be up to 80% lower.
Operational costs and costs with the human workforce are also reduced using automation, as software robots can perform a big part of the daily tasks of an employee, especially the ones that are repetitive and time-consuming.
2. Increased productivity
Software robots can perform the mundane tasks of a human employee faster and without errors, enabling them to focus on more important tasks, that could add value for the company – this aspect is especially important during a crisis like the coronavirus pandemic.
Intelligent automation also leads to higher engagement and a higher level of motivation among employees, as they will feel they’re doing something meaningful at work. A motivated employee will always be a productive one.
One example here is Piscot, a software robot built by us at Aggranda, a UiPath partner. How does it work? It processes orders that Ana Pan, a Romanian bakery chain, gets from supermarkets. Piscot gets the orders via email in PDF format.
Every order contains the list of cakes that Ana Pan has to produce and deliver to supermarkets. The software robot adds the order in the ERP software, sends the cakes into production and sets the date and time for delivery to the supermarkets.
Since implementing Piscot, the company reduced their cost and time allocated to input invoices into their system. Each month, Piscot is saving Ana Pan 60 hours of labor work per person, the equivalent of almost 720 hours a year.
3. Improved customer experience
Customer experience personalization is very important, especially in times of crisis. Chatbots can be used to interact with customers for basic requests, like questions about the products, services, availability, or orders.
To sum up, Intelligent Automation can be used to interact with customers anytime, via chats during the weekends or business hours, providing the same quality level. Another important aspect to mention here is that software robots are never hungry or tired, so the risk of angry clients due to errors that may occur is zero.
Besides, since RPA allows employees to focus on more strategic activities, they will have time to deal with more complex customer problems, which will improve the overall customer experience.
4. Enhanced business scalability
Intelligent automation provides the right framework and the right actions that help companies scale their operations to meet market demand. As we were saying above, software robots can operate non-stop, so companies won’t need to hire more employees to deal with a surge in demand.
Another relevant example here is Alex, a robot built by Aggranda using the UiPath platform for an accounting company that needed help with invoices. Alex is able to read invoices from a CSV file, log into the accounting software with its own credentials, add invoices in the accounting software, create new profiles for companies and individuals in the software, get information about a company from Romanian fiscal institution website, and input data in the accounting software.
Each month, Alex saves the company 64 hours of labour work for 4 people or close to 770 hours a year. This means 2 weeks of full–time working employees.
5. Help you develop a future crisis management strategy
It’s important to have this in mind: even if you implement intelligent automation in times of crisis, this will help you build a stable strategy also for future crisis situations. Even if another global disaster such as the pandemic doesn’t happen again (fingers crossed, right?) – it’s good to be aware that difficult situations may occur again.
Automation enables you to establish a plan of action when it comes, for example, to remote working, customer interactions, efficient workflows and any other business aspect that can be optimized through technology.
The pandemic changed business models and people’s lives forever, so building a resilient future is mandatory for every company who wants to survive and thrive in an unpredictable environment. Resilience can be achieved if your company chooses to implement intelligent automation tools.
It’s true that, for a successful deployment, you will need a reliant implementation partner able to craft a well-planned strategy, tailored for your organization’s needs. You can contact us anytime – we are happy to help.