When talking about robots applied to business management , we should not imagine a rolling entity with the appearance of R2D2 or a humanoid to the nice style of C3PO. In addition to advanced robotic arms that learn to collaborate with humans in the manufacturing industry, the use of robots in the company refers, in most cases, to the automation of processes through robotics ( Robotic Process Automation or, for their acronyms, RPA ). Therefore, you have to think about a “boring” but very useful software . We also have to flee from topics such as robots that are going to take jobs away from everyone or that will be the ones that quote for our retirement. The perspective is very positive and I would summarize it by saying that the robot is the best friend of the professional .
Robotic process automation pursues two key objectives: increase productivity and improve the customer experience. I do not think there are any entrepreneurs who think that their company is not big enough to improve both aspects efficiently. And, by the same token, robots are not the exclusive patrimony of large companies at all. Small companies are the big beneficiaries of robotics, precisely because they benefit from the fact that large companies have made investments that allow robotic suppliers to innovate and launch applications accessible to any size of the company.
RPA: levers to improve productivity
Process robotics relies on a series of levers to improve productivity, mainly greater efficiency in the execution of repetitive tasks, which reduce the number of errors . Among these tasks can be found administrative human resources, financial, purchasing or systems. For this it is necessary that the tasks are defined as a process. You can start by automating a small part of the process, probably the most repeated, although the ideal is that robotization covers the processes from start to finish. This is the best way to release talent during the time employees spend on those routines, so they can focus on those other functions where they add value, especially to the customer.
Being a software , there are models of pay-per-use services ( Software as a Service or SaaS) accessible to the SME, as they are easy to implement and do not need a technological infrastructure. Business intelligence is one of the areas that is experiencing an improvement, since automated data collection is used to make forecasts, dashboards and business plans that, otherwise, would be very expensive to implement. Another possible application is the management of internal procedures, such as incidents that reach the systems department, whose automated treatment drastically reduces the time needed for staff. The same applies to the routines that the human resources department must carry out each time an employee joins or leaves.
Robotics for each function
A recent guide on RPA of the technological partner Ultima clearly shows the application of robotic automation of processes to the different functions of the company. This is the case of Systems or IT support , an area especially close to technology, with usually qualified personnel with special skills and training. However, in most organizations they devote excessive time to administrative tasks that have to be performed at least partially manually such as backups , diagnostics and system checks or patches in the programming to solve vulnerabilities or improve performance. Through the automation and integration of “digital workforce”, the talent of this area could be dedicated to business improvement and technological change management.
Something similar happens with the human resources department , where processes such as the reception and exit of employees usually involve several teams and in many cases, isolated processes are generated, with inefficiencies in the transfer of the task, which slow down the process and give rise to mistakes. With the digital “employee”, these processes can be automated from start to finish, freeing up team time to focus on improving quality in other aspects of the company. As a final example, the marketing and sales areas also benefit greatly from process automation, improving synergies between both areas and providing small businesses with a scalable capacity to reach customers and improve their experience.
Organizations around the world, no matter their size, face the need to manage change in the face of digital evolution, which requires a transformation in business models. According to a PwC study, almost three in four companies expect to increase their level of digitization by 2020 . For its part, Deloitte has noted a change in the motivation to adopt the robotization of processes: before, the main reason was cost reduction, while in 2018 most executives have declared to undertake this transformation to increase productivity and Improve the customer experience. Therefore, it is not a matter of displacing talent, but of companies maturing in the new economy. This year 2019 many more professionals will eat the nougat in their companies with their new digital partners!