RPA: A sign of positive change

The 21st century business environment is characterized by intense competition shaped by technological advancements, changing customer expectations, volatile financial market and heightened competitive dynamics.

According to Ray Wang of Constellation Research since year 2000, 52% of traditional companies in the Fortune 500 have either gone bankrupt, been acquired, ceased to exist, or dropped off the list. Why? They failed to stay relevant and competitive in the fast-changing digital economy and were easily phased out.

Executives today are forced to take radical decisions with innovative strategies as we move deeper into the era of digital disruption, what the World Economic Forum refers to as the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Industry 4.0 also sometimes referred to as Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) or smart manufacturing focuses on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, and real-time data. It marries physical production and operations with the use of digital technology to create a more integrated and improved connected environment for companies. In recent years, Robotics Process Automation (RPA) has gained attention as one of the top technologies that is taking part in Industry 4.0 evolution.

By definition, RPA is the use of software to mimic the activities done by a human user in a personal computer. Activities that are highly repetitive, rule-based and with structured data can be automated using different RPA platforms such as UiPath, Blue Prism, Pega, etc. Examples of these activities that can be automated are IT support processes, back office work, workflow processes, business processes and remote infrastructure. There are variety of benefits that drives enterprises towards RPA. Most significant are the potential cost savings, reduced cycle time and improved quality of tasks. Employees are also freed up from low-value, repetitive work, and redirect them to higher value type of work that requires judgment, communication skills and critical thinking to improve employee morale and satisfaction, which in turn further improves productivity of an employee.

Given the long list of benefits that RPA promises, there’s no doubt that it will have an impact on the workforces around the world especially in the Philippines. According to a report from SSON Analytics, the country houses one quarter of all shared services across the ASEAN region. RPA will be a huge disrupter in the next few years.

Though while the disruption is immense, so is the opportunity. There may be job losses but there will be new jobs created as well. Organizations will need specialists to analyze, develop, monitor and run the technology. This will then create a new field of expertise. Thus, we are encouraged to focus in upskilling and reskilling and think of RPA as a catalyst to this never-ending process called “change”.