Study reveals employees to benefit most from RPA adoption

It was revealed that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) provider Automation Anywhere had commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a survey of 211 enterprise decision makers and influencers across banking and financial services, energy and utilities, government and telecommunications sectors in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) to understand the scale and maturity of RPA adoption in ANZ.

The results of the survey were revealed in a recently-released study titled ANZ Businesses Reap Early Success of RPA Adoption, which revealed RPA is here to stay and is set to have a broader impact than just improving operational efficiencies.

Around the globe, the huge productivity and cost savings delivered by automation has seen the RPA market explode and is expected to hit $1.7 billion this year. In ANZ, the introduction of software bots to the human workforce has been slow but steady, with Automation Anywhere’s latest research revealing that businesses both large and small are beginning to adopt RPA.

According to Tim Ebbeck, senior vice president and managing director at Automation Anywhere ANZ, “Automation is not new. But in today’s world where businesses are managing many different technologies, there remains a huge gap between systems that are being automated and those that still require human involvement. Much of this work such as data processing is repetitive and mundane. RPA can increase productivity by liberating human workers to focus on more innovative work unlocking new levels of human creativity and ingenuity.”

Although the study found that businesses are starting at a small scale, early adopters of RPA in ANZ have already reaped significant rewards. Survey respondents reported improved efficiency for employees (36 per cent), greater capacity to manage higher volume transactions (35 per cent) and reduced manual errors (33 per cent).

In fact, 72 per cent of respondents claim RPA has saved more than 50 hours per employee per month – returning 25 per cent more time to employees. In 25 per cent of the cases, businesses in ANZ were able to save employees more than 60 per cent of work time. And according to the survey findings, these efficiencies are having a direct and marked impact on the happiness and engagement of human workforces in ANZ.

ANZ businesses will continue to face the challenge of an ageing workforce, as one in three people will be over the age of 60 by the year 2050. In this environment, the rise of software bots to take the mundane, process-intensive work away has provided employees the freedom to focus on the core tasks they were trained to do. The study revealed close to three in four (72 per cent) ANZ enterprise decision makers and influencers report more engaged employees after adopting RPA. Two in three (68 per cent) believe automation improves efficiencies in decision-making. Further, more than 70 per cent of survey respondents believe their organisations have a positive perception toward RPA, with employees accepting the presence of their bot colleagues.

Across all industries surveyed, the use of RPA in IT operations to drive efficiency for IT helpdesks and standard IT tasks remained consistent, according to the research. Beyond common IT uses, each of the energy and utilities, telecommunications, banking and financial services, and government sectors also implement unique use cases for RPA.

Ebbeck noted, “To expand the use of RPA across business functions, ANZ businesses have to ensure that a clear communications plan is set to help educate and ease any uncertainty that may come with any technological and cultural change. When it comes to RPA, it’s important to remember that cost savings aren’t the only metric, organisations need to look at improved productivity too.”

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