Automation key as UK productivity declines further – is RPA the answer?...

06 August 2019

Signavio Robot Process Automation RPA

Figures due for release tomorrow from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are expected to show a further decrease in UK labour productivity for a 4th consecutive quarter. As productivity in labour markets decline, businesses are under growing pressure to increase efficiency to remain competitive.

Companies facing these pressures are looking to automate jobs in the hope of reversing the decline in productivity, with up to 47% of jobs to be automated in the next 20 years. As many as 98% of IT business leaders stated that automating processes is essential to ongoing business success.

“One way to increase a company’s output is the adoption of Robotic Process Automation (RPA). It offers an efficient method to decrease costs and increase staff productivity, by reducing errors and repetitive work. However, often companies rush into implementing automation without really understanding what the problem is they’re trying to solve,” according to Ian Pollard, Senior Vice President EMEA at business and digital transformation expert, Signavio.

While RPA can help productivity and reduce costs, the process first needs to be captured, analysed and improved, if necessary. Automating processes without optimising them first won’t drive long-term improvements and can, in fact, lead to the continuous use of ineffective processes. More than 50% of RPA initiatives are found to not be delivering expected improvements, primarily due to poor implementation.

Pollard continues: “If companies want to implement RPA, the key is to first acquire an in-depth understanding of how their business processes work. RPA can then be implemented to efficiently solve problems and streamline repetitive tasks, helping to improve efficiency and output.

“A human workforce will also be needed for the successful implementation of RPA – to ensure efficiency and better productivity. This calls for the right combination of optimising and automating processes, and an understanding that humans will continue to form a central part of business decision-making. Automation and RPA is most effective if it’s employee-centric and is used to augment human workers, not replace them.”

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