Will RPA be an Answer to Economic Crisis?

RPA could alleviate new struggles with priority shifts from COVID-19

COVID-19 has already impacted various industries and organizations, and many wonder what long-term negative effects the global virus will leave. However, Robotic Process Automation technology, and the RPA market in general, is one experts are calling “recession proof”. Will this be the answer to economic crisis?

RPA Market – The Silver Lining

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is one of the technologies that’s seemingly un-impacted by “recession-like” economic downturns. In 2019, Gartner named Robotic Process Automation as the fastest growing market-segment in the entire software space, which leading providers like UiPath witnessed first hand in 2019.

In terms of Annual Reoccurring Revenue (ARR), UiPath added a net new amount of $60 million, bringing the entire ARR balance to $360 million in 2020. To put that in perspective, UiPath grew their ARR base by 17% in just one quarter. You can read the full UiPath market update HERE>.

So, why exactly is the RPA market seemingly recession proof? Forbes Tech & Finance Contributor, Tom Taulli, explains some high-level points to elaborate on this notion, which we’ll cover here in detail.

How RPA can save an organization

To start, Taulli sits down with Technical Evangelism Director, Vadmin Tabakman. Tabakman covers the general points of how RPA can help save an organization money by automating any repetitive task that a human does – “RPA bots accelerate ‘low-hanging fruit’ processes in every business like opening emails and attachments, filling in forms, reading from and writing to databases, making calculations, collecting social media statistics, and extracting data from documents, all very quickly.” – Tabakman

In other words, RPA effectively makes the human workforce more useful and efficient, rather than less (depending on the mindset of the organization). The demand to capitalize on intellectual property, critical thinking, and give more attention to innovative idealization is what will drive organizations through economic downturns.

Investment of any kind during an economic struggle might seem unideal on the surface. However, Kyle Kim-Hays, CMO of Softomotive, states that the capabilities of RPA are specifically essential during an economic downturn – “The RPA industry is at an inflection point right now because economic uncertainty makes efficiency, accuracy, and above all, maximizing human intellect critical to survival and growth.” – Hays

Read the full Forbes article on Robotic Process Automation’s immunity to various economic downturns.

Technology and the people

RPA will eventually cause a shift in both front-office and back-office operations. Meaning, it will become democratized as more people incorporate it into their day-to-day activities. Hays continues by explaining that RPA will move increasingly from the ‘back-office’ and IT-focused tasks, to the ‘front-office’ tasks, where business end users directly invoke automated activities.

Vice President of Innovation & Strategy, Tim Kulp, states that the transformative nature of RPA has less to do with the actual technology and more on the people making up the business. “The process to build a bot requires detailed process documentation, which provides people a chance to examine ‘business as usual’ with a new set of eyes, eliminating waste in the process.” – Kulp

A focused scope on customer service

One area where RPA arguably “lacks” is customer service, or at least this holds true in situations where personal experience is valued. Accounting, finance and banking in general is one area where RPA has grown and expanded across departments and channels. However, this growth has also sparked a higher focus on personal engagement and customer service.

RPA market

In a banking system (where customer service especially plays a crucial component) automation of mundane processes not only prompts department personnel to provide a higher level of service, but can also reduce costs.

UiPath President and CEO, Raghunath Subramanian, further explains this point through the standpoint – “By reducing the amount of manpower needed for routine tasks, banks will be able to provide a higher level of service with the same, or lower number of employees. This will reduce the cost of finance, allowing them to lend to more SMEs and start-ups, further boosting the economy.” – Subramanian

The 4th industrial revolution (4IR)

The 4th industrial revolution is a very popular talking point encompassing the RPA market and the realm of hyperautomation. Vice Chair, Mohamed Kande, states that 4IR is actively disrupting every industry, while also representing a major opportunity to take advantage of new technologies from data and analytics to RPA.

“4IR investments can help companies weather any downturn while also positioning them to emerge stronger, and business leaders agree. Based on a recent survey, 63% of business leaders believed that 4IR technologies will provide protection against an economic downturn.” – Kande

In terms of 4IR, there is also a component of “survival of the fittest”, especially in the automation space. As both Hays and Kande explained, more organizations are desiring for automation to encompass full end-to-end processes (hyperautomation), impacting both routine business processes and more tactful initiatives.

This push for RPA and hyperautomation to go beyond expediting mundane tasks is forcing the human workforce to “upgrade” itself, prepare to accompany digital bots in an assisted manner, and further protect intellectual property.

Understanding HOW to train your workforce on Robotic Process Automation is the first step in adapting and thriving in an unideal economy.

The Urgency to Learn RPA

Understanding the RPA market, and effectively learning RPA can be the difference between gaining a competitive edge or slipping through the cracks. When it comes to training organizational team members to learn RPA to its fullest, having a resource with practical/real-world implementation experience is the most efficient option.

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