The Automation Imperative
The future of work is changing at a rapid pace, and the automation of office tasks is transforming entire industries. Why? Because without automation, modern work is rapidly becoming unsustainable. IT infrastructure gaps, combined with economic pressure to do more with less, are forcing employees to work harder and put in longer hours to complete tasks manually. Inefficiencies prevail, errors creep in, and morale suffers. Ultimately, the costs of inefficiency, mistakes, and employee churn add up, leaving businesses looking for a better way.
This is where incorporating automation into your business strategy can help your organization truly “do more” without burning out your teams and eroding your company culture in the process. McKinsey Global Institute estimates that 49% of all tasks can be automated with existing technology, representing enormous potential to increase productivity, drive your business forward, and measurably impact your bottom line.
While automation may seem like an enterprise-level solution to the problems posed by manual work, mid-sized businesses have just as much to gain from automation–and the technology is both affordable and scalable for organizations of any size and budget.
Keep reading to learn more about what Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is and why it is so critical right now, especially for mid-sized businesses who still have an opportunity to realize early-adopter advantages.
What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?
Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is software that automates tedious, error-prone work, like point-and-click, copy-paste, and login-and-download activities. In other words, RPA is the automation of “swivel chair” work. Robotic Process Automation programs digital workers, or bots, to perform routine, rules-based tasks. If you can describe an activity in a way that anyone can perform it, then a bot can probably do it too.
By streamlining these tasks, RPA increases efficiency and productivity, saves costs, reduces errors, and enables your employees to spend their time on more engaging, high-value tasks that require creativity, judgment, and relationships. Additional benefits include the following:
- RPA bots work with your existing infrastructure without requiring expensive and lengthy software upgrades or replacements.
- Bots work 24/7 and perform the task the same way every time, eliminating human error and ensuring that critical tasks are performed at optimal efficiency and quality.
- Bots can be trained to complete most tasks in weeks and cost only a small fraction of the current investment, so ROI is often achieved in a few months rather than years.
- People need to perform fewer tedious tasks, and they develop an automation-first mindset that improves operations over time.
Gain the Advantages of Being an Early Adopter of RPA
As organizations adopt RPA, a new normal is emerging. Automation is creating a greater divide between larger and smaller players in a market. Early adopters of automation—typically the largest organizations—enjoy first-mover benefits: significantly better service levels and dramatically lower costs. Routine processes are faster and have fewer errors. In addition, employees are free to focus on more meaningful work, giving early adopters an edge in acquiring and retaining talent. In short, organizations that engage RPA early disrupt their market and enter new markets with surprising speed.
While large businesses have led the pack in RPA adoption, Gartner also expects rapid adoption of RPA for organizations of all sizes. Early adoption makes sense for mid-market and small businesses that have fewer resources to meet cost challenges. If you are not yet considering automation, or if you’ve been putting it off, now is the time to explore its capabilities for your business.
RPA Adoption is Accelerating, Further Spurred by the Pandemic
However, the window of opportunity to be an early adopter of RPA is quickly closing. Gartner estimates that by 2022, “90% of large organizations globally will have adopted RPA in some form.” By 2024, large organizations will “triple the capacity of their RPA portfolios.” This is actually a faster rate of adoption compared to previous estimates; prior to the pandemic, Gartner had anticipated that 85% of organizations would adopt RPA by 2022.
Despite contracting the global economy, the COVID-19 pandemic also served to highlight the value of automation across all industries, as companies were compelled to find ways to reduce overall costs without compromising quality, productivity, and service standards during the pandemic. To meet these needs, RPA helps companies “digitally empower critical business processes through resilience and scalability, while recalibrating human labor and manual effort” (Gartner). Essentially, office work today depends on far too many manual processes, so many organizations are pursuing digital strategies like automation to edge out competition, reduce costs, and mitigate the impact of future business disruptions like the pandemic.
At the same time, RPA is easy to deploy quickly and works with existing systems with minimal risk, while delivering measurable improvements. This combination of latent demand for automation and the flexibility of RPA solutions has continued to fuel the rush to automate.
Start with RPA on Your Automation Journey
The key to any digital transformation–especially for mid-sized businesses–is to start small, then build momentum and scale. As a result, most companies beginning their automation journey start with RPA and, if necessary, migrate to more sophisticated options like AI and machine learning over time. This is because RPA is affordable and works with existing systems, reducing deployment risk.
Ready To Embark on the Path to Automation?
At R-Path Automation, we make digital transformation accessible to mid-sized companies. Contact us today to see how you can lower your costs, streamline your operations, and improve employee engagement—all at the same time!