The truth is… this might be a more frequent question than you’d expect – especially since the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation within companies.
Automation is a key factor of companies’ digital transformation strategy. In 2020 especially, it became an essential component for any organisation that needed to upgrade its business model to survive and thrive in times of crisis.
What is a software robot? It’s the deployment method of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), a software technology based on developing, deploying, and managing software robots capable of performing repetitive, high-volume, rule-based tasks usually done by human employees.
UiPath offers an accurate description of RPA: „just like people, software robots can do things like understanding what’s on a screen, complete the right keystrokes, navigate systems, identify and extract data, and perform a wide range of defined actions. But software robots can do it faster and more consistently than people, without the need to get up and stretch or take a coffee break.”
Moreover, robotic process automation alongside artificial intelligence (AI) transforms into intelligent automation, a higher level, more potent form of automation.
RPA can be implemented in various business industries. As a UiPath Services Network Partner (USN Partner), we at Aggranda are building software robots using Robotic Process Automation on the UiPath platform for diverse companies.
Let’s take a deeper look at how software robots can contribute to bottom lines and human’s lives at work in a few industries.
RPA in retail
This is a very complex industry, where every activity needs to be performed fast, so consumers gain access to the goods and services they want.
For example, Piscot the software robot can process orders that Ana Pan gets from supermarkets. How? Piscot gets the orders via email in PDF format (every order contains the list of cookies that Ana Pan has to produce and deliver to the supermarket).
The software robot adds the order in the ERP software, sends the cookies into production, and sets the date and time for delivery to the supermarkets.
Since Piscot has joined Ana Pan’s team, the risk of errors is reduced to zero and it saves Ana Pan 60 hours of labor work for one person – the equivalent of almost 720 hours a year.
RPA in HR
The HR department is crucial for any company, as it manages every process regarding the workforce – from recruiting, hiring, payroll, and so on. Arya is a software robot built on the UiPath platform that helps Provident with on-boarding and off-boarding.
Arya performs the tasks such as updating the list of candidates for a job from different platforms, creating offers for candidates that were interviewed and agreed to move forward in the recruitment process, creating the legal contract together with all necessary documents for the new employee, and generating the vacancy position report.
See here more about how Arya helps Provident save time and reduce the errors of these repetitive steps to zero, while giving human employees the chance to focus on tasks that can bring more value to the company – and satisfaction in their personal lives.
RPA in Finance
This is an industry based on processing large amounts of data. So another relevant example here is Kevin, a software robot built on the UiPath platform and also part of the BestValue team, the biggest airport retail store in Romania.
Kevin is helping their financial department with tasks such as processing and reconciling payments received via PayU (online payment processing operator), processing and reconciling payments from the expanses accounts of major delivery companies (Fan Curier, TNT), and processing all the statements from Transilvania Bank.
It never makes mistakes and is always on time. See what it would be like to have Kevin as a co-worker here.
RPA in Logistics
Corry is a software robot built by Aggranda for TCE Logistic that manages the orders from 3 warehouses, operates them in the ERP, and prints the documents needed for delivery on the corresponding printer. See how Corry saves the company more than 10 hours every single day and enables it to be always on time with the deliveries.
These are just a few examples of how robotic process automation is a game-changer for the daily processes of a company. Software robots are also successfully used in the healthcare industry, telecom, banking, marketing, and many more.
They transform business processes into effective workflows so that employees can focus more on important activities, such as dealing with complex situations and offering better customer support. Therefore, employees became more motivated and productive, aspects translated into the overall success of the company (having higher revenues, for example).
Going back to the potential of automation, we could say that, in recent years, RPA implementation strategies were applied especially in big companies, with a lot of employees and repetitive tasks to handle. It was seen more as an innovative solution for companies that wanted to have a competitive advantage in the market.
But, when the pandemic started, companies witnessed the importance of adapting to a new, unpredictable business environment. Therefore, COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of RPA. Moreover, robotic process automation (RPA) revenues are set to reach $1.89 billion in 2021, an increase of 19.5% from 2020, according to a Gartner report. Despite economic pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the RPA market is still expected to grow at double-digit rates through 2024.
Working with a digital co-worker: demystified
Myth #1: Software robots are stealing jobs from human employees
To be successful, the RPA implementation plan needs to be well understood and accepted by the company and the employees. Here, one of the biggest myths is that „software robots are stealing people’s jobs”, but, as Harvard Business Review specialists claim, „the big difference is that the robots have come not to destroy our lives, but to disrupt our work.”
According to World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report 2020, both automation and the coronavirus crisis are creating a ‘double-disruption’ scenario for workers. The adoption of technology will transform tasks, jobs, and skills by 2025. What’s more interesting, by then, the time spent on current tasks by humans and machines will be equal.
Specialists estimate that „by 2025, 85 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in the division of labor between humans and machines, while 97 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labor between humans, machines, and algorithms”.
Yes, some people will need to upskill or reskill, but this is a necessary step for human evolution, just like the Industrial Revolution was back in the day for blue-collar employees.
Undoubtedly, companies will still need human workers: not for rule-based, simple tasks, but strategic, higher-added value roles. Rather than „replacing humans and stealing jobs”, a software robot co-worker is actually an opportunity to make everyone’s lives easier by automating mundane tasks.
Myth #2: Having a bot co-worker leads to losing human connection
This is also one of the fears among companies, but in fact, the reality might be exactly the opposite. Due to the advance in technology, companies can integrate innovative tools for creating an authentic, tailored experience. This couldn’t be possible if we didn’t have advanced algorithms and a lot of data available.
For example, a software robot co-worker could successfully process the questions and remarks of customers received on various channels (on Facebook chat, for example), 24 hours/7 days a week without being tired and with zero errors. This way, employees will only handle complex situations and place their entire focus on the customer’s problem.
Also, due to automation, companies can process data that enable them to better know their customers, their preferences, their interactions with the company, allowing them to offer a personalized, human experience that will increase the level of customer satisfaction.
Myth #3: RPA will increase security risks
Robotic process automation is not just a basic piece of software or technology that carries risks. By its definition, a bot co-worker can perform certain activities with zero errors, as it’s never tired or distracted. So, on the contrary, RPA can help companies reduce the risks and problems that might arise from completely normal human mistakes.
It’s important to mention that robotic process automation can also be successfully used for an effective compliance management process (from identifying potential frauds, to ensuring that all legal requirements are met within the company).
From bringing more clarity and efficiency within companies to making employees more productive and motivated, robotic process automation has a lot of benefits on companies choosing to implement it.
But, as you’ve seen in this article, you don’t need to be afraid of a digital co-worker. Embrace it for a better work environment and, eventually, for a better organizational culture. So, the answer to the question from the title might be: ‘you just enjoy it!’