FEATURE Robotics & Motion Control

Digitally transforming businesses with Robotic Process Automation

Dr Paul Rivers, Managing Director of Guidance Automation, highlights how RPA is an area of technology that will continue to drive business transformation, but only if implemented correctly


obotic Process Automation (RPA) is an IT solution that brings humans and software together for fast, effi cient, accurate,

streamlined processes. The concept is not new but the application has evolved over time, now involving Artifi cial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The worldwide RPA market is expected to reach nearly $2bn by the end of 2021, according to Gartner. But, as with any new technology, it’s important not to just simply jump on the bandwagon without clearly-defi ned processes in place. Automation doesn’t have to remove control or decision making, but should enhance processes and empower businesses to make informed decisions in real time. Hence, organisations fi rst need to consider the business value or pain points of its adoption. Then, it’s best to gradually deploy the innovations, where the automation solution fi ts and works alongside existing processes, while ensuring it is fl exible and scaleable. Additionally, the human workforce should be part of the deployment and clearly understand the technology and benefi ts of RPA, making their tasks simpler and more effi cient. When technology can completely eradicate these arduous tasks, individuals will respond well to the change, but people need to be educated, trained and confi dent in the solution. They need to understand how the technology works and its benefi ts. The concept of Big Data is driving automation, and particularly RPA, acting

20 June 2021 | Automation

as a data-driven process. Vast amounts of data are generated daily, collecting information about performance, accuracy and repeatability, but the value of this information can often be lost if left to human operators to process. The insights provided by the collaboration between RPA and Big Data can be used to recognise any risks within business processes and help companies resolve and streamline these points within their operations.

Post-pandemic and post-Brexit COVID-19 has acted as a catalyst by accelerating the uptake in automation, especially within the manufacturing and logistics industry. With less staff able to be present within the same environment due to the pandemic, organisations faced signifi cant challenges to meet demand – caused by the boost in e-commerce, increasing by 41% in just three months. But this is where RPA can play a vital role to keep up with the pace of change and to drive effi ciency across the business. Such technology is critical to business response and continuity by amplifying automated support systems in order to strengthen a resilient human and machine workforce. Additionally, Brexit will bring some manufacturing back to the UK, which will continue to accelerate the requirements to automate. With even more uncertain times ahead, businesses must prepare for any potential changes, address problems in productivity and constrained budgets – with

the implementation of RPA, it can empower digital workers and help to remove repetitive tasks that clog up processes. This is refl ected in recent research, which highlighted that business spend on RPA is expected to increase by 20-30% in the coming year as a result of administration overheads related to Brexit. Furthermore, with travel restrictions in place, there may be less travel for business in the future which in turn will create an interest in buying and supporting ‘home’ businesses, again, driving the need for automation further.

Catching up The UK remains behind globally in the automation and productivity race, but the country is about to play catch up, driven by Covid-19 and Brexit, despite the remaining uncertainty. A growing number of businesses are inquiring about automation and wanting to fi nd out about the available technologies to make processes more effi cient, such as RPA. By ensuring this technology fi ts into existing business operations and deploying it successfully, RPA can support the new S curve in the UK for automation, allowing businesses to benefi t from improved effi ciencies and productivity, in turn driving business transformation now and into the future.


Guidance Automation

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