Digital workers reduce risk and errors without fatigue.
I had the opportunity to speak with Jon “Jet” Theuerkauf, Chief Customer Officer at Blue Prism about the findings in their recent survey of 6,700 knowledge workers and senior IT decision-makers globally, The Impact of a Digital Workforce on Business Agility & Survival.
Jon and his team are seeing a lot of interest in automation in financial services, insurance, and healthcare as these industries have seen the challenges of keeping remote human workers up and running with traditional distributed process models when they have trouble connecting when working from home.
In the US 78% see robotic process automation (RPA) as solving the global productivity problem, 93% for driving digital transformation, and 84% as essential for a business to remain competitive. C-suite executives globally are also embracing automation with 92% looking to deploy and extend these capabilities throughout their organizations, while 81% indicated RPA and/or automation is critical in scaling technologies such as AI across their business. From creating and enhancing jobs, saving time and costs, accelerating and improving work quality, and making organizations more innovative, those surveyed universally agree that RPA is providing a hugely positive impact on work, business agility, and resilience.
The New Normal — Post COVID-19
To learn the impact COVID-19 is having on businesses, Blue Prism also surveyed its own global customer base and found that 94% see a renewed urgency to use RPA to maintain business continuity and ensure a higher level of overall responsiveness. 94% of these customers also see a digital workforce enabling greater competitiveness while supporting remote collaboration post-pandemic. 100% of respondents are now looking to expand or extend RPA use within their organization, a sign of continued customer momentum and permanence.
Tackling Global Productivity
Across every industry, most knowledge-based work isn’t delivering anywhere near its potential, evidenced by diminishing global productivity that’s stagnated at one-tenth of what it was 40 years ago. With the pandemic, organizations face additional challenges from reduced workforces, customer demands, and macroeconomic pressures. Survey results reveal a positive link between automation, global productivity, business agility, and resilience. In the US, 67% of respondents believe too much time is wasted on administrative tasks, while it is telling that 78% of those decision-makers see automation as a solution to the global productivity problem, and 94% feel it can help them meet customer demands too.
In the US, 84% of business decision-makers believe RPA and/or automation is essential for their businesses to remain competitive. These positive sentiments are a reflection of the major time savings, improved accuracy, and cost savings reported by US business leaders, 94% of which already have plans in place to extend the use of automation across their businesses.
In today’s competitive economic environment, US decision-makers recognize strategic technology investments like RPA can keep their digital transformation efforts on track. In fact, 93% surveyed identified RPA as an important factor in driving digital transformation – more than one third indicating that RPA allows them to scale the deployment of other emerging technologies too.
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, two thirds (64%) of US decision-makers reported a struggle to meet customer demand, and 94% felt that automation would help address this challenge.
A Skills Shift Coming
The survey reveals there’s a need for re-skilling and training, with over three quarters surveyed indicating that there are skills which they are constantly sourcing for, such as data analysis and data science. To address this, 77% of US knowledge workers surveyed indicated their organizations are providing learning opportunities for new skills/qualifications when they introduce technologies that will transform their job.
Fear of automation is diminishing as there’s a growing level of trust with more organizations adopting digital colleagues. US knowledge workers are becoming increasingly comfortable with RPA, just 28% worry about related job losses in the next three years. More than half of knowledge workers are excited at the opportunities that RPA will create, while decision-makers feel adopting new tech will attract talent. Encouragingly, 83% of US business decision-makers believe their employees would trust working alongside a digital workforce and 77% would even trust them to manage employees.
Blue Prism has provided quite a few new case studies in response to COVID-19. Here are three:
Financial Services: An American investment management firm serving clients around the globe. With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting so many people, the firm is currently seeing 10 times the normal volume of requests as they try to process CARES Act and other hardship loan applications. In order to meet client requests and get funds to those that need it as quickly as possible, they are applying Blue Prism Digital Workers to the loan application process to automate the end-to-end process in a compliant, secure, and scalable way.
Public Sector: During the COVID-19 crisis, the front-line staff at this County Council in the UK have become more stretched than ever in their capacity to continue to deliver key services to the people we serve. The impact can be seen across many services the Council provides, but one in particular, the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) team are seeing an uptick in requests for prepaid cards that enable families of children with additional needs to buy equipment and fund educational and fun activities. The administration associated with this process is time-consuming, as each transaction—up to 2,000 per month—must be audited to verify that the spend is compliant and not with a prohibited supplier. If the transaction requires clarification from the cardholder, then a letter and email are sent out. The Blue Prism Cloud team is now assisting the Council with automating these processes to free up the Council’s SEND team to support other COVID-19 front line response roles.
Healthcare: As more people seek diagnosis and treatment for COVID-19, the impact is being felt in the healthcare back offices, throughout the NHS. Medical secretaries who support clinicians, human resources, finance, and other administrative staff are all critical personnel serving on the front lines of the current crisis. Working as part of the NHS’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnership Back Office initiative, Blue Prism Digital Workers continue to automate many of these administrative tasks and processes, so that patients receive the best and most efficient care possible.
Contact Center: An American consumer credit reporting agency is grappling with the impact of COVID-19 crisis on business continuity, as their contact centers have been depleted with 85% of their global workforce home. They turned to Blue Prism Cloud for an automation solution to support the following processes: password reset for external consumers; the processing of mail documents in the imaging department; cancellation of consumer product requests; third party data validation; and, update consumer records. It’s important to the agency that they maintain their commitment to helping consumers protect and stay in control of their credit health during this unprecedented time.