5 minute read 11 Aug 2020
How RPA can help on COVID-19 Contingency planning?

How RPA can help COVID-19 contingency planning

By EY Belgium

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

5 minute read 11 Aug 2020

Managements who implemented RPA solutions prior to this crisis are likely experiencing better times than others.

Executive summary

  • Automate work instead of hiring temp workers.
  • Become paperless.
  • Enable your staff to work with data effectively while self-isolating.

Are you an automation optimist or automation pessimist? What do automation and the future of work mean to you? One thing is undeniable: Changes are coming to your working life in the next 20 years. Automation will take over certain tasks from human workers, freeing up time for more emotionally and intellectually rewarding work.

What is RPA?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is software that mimics repetitive human tasks. It is capable of repeatedly performing those tasks with little to no human intervention. And it does so without changing an enterprise’s IT landscape, because a software bot does not replace existing software. Instead, it operates existing technology infrastructure, interacting with systems and applications like humans do.

COVID-19 and RPA

It is evident that most organizations have slowed down due to the economic recession induced by the coronavirus, but the overlooked heroes, namely robotic process automation, artificial intelligence and OCR technologies, are working out recession-proof operations. Examples of successful implementations across various sectors during the COVID-19 crisis have no doubt increased its future demand.

Companies who implemented automation before this crisis began are likely experiencing fewer problems with keeping a steady workflow, maintaining productivity, aiding customers and supporting staff. Also, automation or front office bots can scale to fluctuations in supply chain demand, which has proven an important stimulus in these turbulent times.

While we cannot ignore the human factor, which regulates the creative moral sense of the daily routine, RPA software does so many chores fast and flawlessly that there is really no need for a human to do them. RPA is simply the best and most flexible way to perform repetitive human-driven processes. It allows you to hand over critical and tough manual tasks and it frees up time for more meaningful work. The time has come to leave behind the uncertainty revolving around automation, because in the near future, RPA, AI and OCR is sure to drive businesses to be less reliant on individual operators.

Automate work rather than hiring temp labour

As organizations are getting back on track, now is the time to introduce a digital workforce to support your organization and to help deal with your backlog of work. It will also prove useful in overcoming future crises.

COVID-19 has led to a surge of workforce reduction, and after the crisis, workforce reintroduction will be challenging as well. But adapting to RPA could help employees, as it supports labor market dynamics, reduces losses associated with repetitive tasks and tasks that require considerable strength, adds flexibility and endurance to working lives, and overall enriches work and the company culture.

The impact of automation and AI on the workplace is happening now.

Paper versus paperless

During COVID-19, the transformation and adoption of electronic content management became a new necessity for organizations. They were confronted with pileups of identity documents, receipts, invoices, documents and bills for audit, reconciliation and other purposes. And reduction in manpower, lag in document review and manual working errors added much inconsistency.

With easy-to-use intelligent document processing solutions, RPA-OCR solutions, you can identify and extract data from structured and semi-structured business documents, such as invoices or purchase orders.

Benefits of using RPA with OCR:

  • Improved data access and accuracy and increased processing speed.
  • Human-in-the-loop verification, security and compliance for all industries

Vice versa, RPA can help you digitize and make your business paperless. Smart processes in RPA can create invoices, receipts, bills, … and they can send letters and email customers, consumers and stakeholders based on business needs.

Enable your staff to work with data effectively while self-isolating

The biggest challenge of IT departments during COVID-19 is the struggle to ensure that all staff have access to the tools and data they need to support critical business.

Software robots adopt and accelerate the setup of the existing remote-working tools of an organization and can serve as intermediary support. It can have privileged access to data sources and can help in getting data extracted from different sources and exchanged to employees who do not have access to the tools directly so that they can do their work without audit concerns.

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RPA is the best and most flexible way to perform repetitive human-driven processes. It allows you to hand over critical and tough manual tasks and processes and it frees up time for more meaningful work. It is time to leave behind the uncertainty.

About this article

By EY Belgium

Multidisciplinary professional services organization