Learnings and take-aways from #RPAbreakfast2016

Digital Workforce organized a unique breakfast seminar on the 2nd of November, discussing the role of RPA, Robotic Process Automation, as part of digital strategy. Over the morning hours, the industry’s leading movers and shakers shared their thoughts on the future of work with a packed audience.

What did we learn?

Professor Leslie Willcocks, London School of Economics:
Professor Willcocks is considered one of the world’s most respected researchers, speakers and business publications writers in knowledge work automation.

Many studies are flawed in both hype and fear related to RPA.

  • One of the biggest flaws is focusing on people being replaced by RPA. Due to over 50% increase in data handling and great increase in regulation, people are overworked. This fact has not been incorporated well in the future of work studies. RPA, more than anything else, offers a way to cope with the ever increasing amount of work.
  • The technology has been around since 2005 (as created by Blue Prism). RPA is today’s technology, whereas more complex solutions such as CA (cognitive automation) are at the proof of concept stage. Software robots are used to automate routine knowledge work done on the computer. RPA specifically fits rule-based, repetitive tasks.

Most RPA myths are false.

  • Based on studies, the following 6 myths are false:
    1. RPA is used to replace humans.
    2. Staff feels threatened by RPA.
    3. RPA brings jobs back offshore.
    4. RPA is only driven by cost savings.
    5. RPA replaces a full person’s job.
    6. Whole processes need to be automated to get a good business case.
  • Supported by good management communication, employees often develop positive personal relationships with digital workers – giving them names and treating them as enthusiastic trainees.

Results suggest RPA will be embedded into all organizations over the near future.

  • RPA improves the customer experience by letting the organization focus on their core competences. The main force of RPA is taking the robot out of the human employee. As a result, studies find 30-40% increased efficiency!
  • The technology fits many situations and can be scaled very quickly. Organizations can massively decrease the baggage of regulatory processes, that increasingly burden companies.

Alastair Bathgate, Blue Prism CEO:
Bathgate is the co-founder and CEO of Blue Prism, a pioneering developer and global market leader of enterprise Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software.

RPA bridges the gaps between different systems.

  • Many organizations use multiple “legacy” systems, in some cases even thousands. These systems commonly lack integration between each other, a problem to which RPA offers a simple solution.
  • No changes to existing systems are needed!

Services industry can learn from manufacturing. 

  • Manufacturing industry worries about creating standardized processes, decreasing errors and efficiency. Service industry could benefit from adopting similar thinking and applying these objectives to RPA. Customers are being treated fairly when the service delivery process is consistent!
  • When you start with RPA, first think about what you want to achieve. If you want to scale RPA organization wide – communication is key. In the case of RPA the barriers to entry are more cultural than technical. It is recommended to assign a person to lead the change.

Digital workers offer a great opportunity to knowledge intensive organizations. We are excited to work with our customers to revolutionize their business efficiency and help create more full-filling jobs.

Thank you to all our guests and expert speakers!

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Find also professor Willcocks’ and Alastair Bathgate’s interviews in the media.