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Why businesses are embracing the automation era

Software robots are powering everyday tasks and processes and changing how people work

Why businesses are embracing the automation era

What immediate image comes to mind when you hear the word “robot”? It’s likely a physical machine, perhaps resembling a human, which can replicate certain human movements and functions automatically. Pop culture may have dramatized our perception of robots—like R2D2 and Wall-E—but, in reality, it is software robots that are hard at work behind the scenes getting your prescriptions refilled, sending your online order to your doorstep, and reminding you of an upcoming appointment.

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In business, enterprise automation is being adopted widely by organizations across all sectors as organizations increasingly seek ways to enhance productivity, employee satisfaction, and the customer experience. With enterprise automation, software robots take on repetitive, mundane tasks—like data collection and entry, processing transactions, reconciling records, or scheduling meetings—thereby freeing humans to focus on more strategic, creative work—work that people want to do.

Shifting models of how work gets done has fueled demand for enterprise automation. Organizations are increasingly digital and rely on automation and artificial intelligence technologies to do more with less. The U.S. government is no exception— President Biden’s Management Agenda emphasizes automation’s role in government modernization and the federal government’s goals of strengthening and adding flexibility to its workforce.

This three-part series will explore how enterprise automation impacts businesses, the people who work in them, and society at large.

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To be successful in today’s highly competitive, rapidly evolving marketplace, organizations are using software robots to navigate new disruptions and accelerate digitization. The automation benefits that have the greatest impact on businesses include:

  • Increasing employee productivity and satisfaction as automation takes on most tedious and time-consuming processes. Maintaining high employee satisfaction is essential for organizations to retain talent and attract new talent in tight labor markets.
  • Lowering error rates, improved security, and stricter compliance thanks to the standardization and auditing improvements that automation can deliver.
  • Reducing operating costs and increasing revenue driven by productivity gains, operational speed, and faster time to market.
  • Improving customer service by offering contact center agents and other staff intelligent software robots that act as virtual assistants. This can help predict customer needs and anticipate customer complaints for highly effective interactions.
  • Greater capacity for innovation and competitiveness in the market as employees, freed from many burdensome rote tasks, can focus on more valuable and strategic activities.

No industry is untouched by wasted time. Automation gives that time back. Software robots enable healthcare organizations to improve patient experience and lower burnout in healthcare staff by automating patient records. Banks and insurance companies reduce risk exposure and increase compliance with automation. Manufacturers use software robots to streamline operations and mitigate supply chain disruptions. To illustrate the impact automation has had on transforming business operations and outcomes, consider the following use cases:

  • Uber: Uber has achieved rapid expansion during the past few years. As the company grew, it needed a solution to automate repetitive administrative tasks. Through automation, Uber ensures geographic operations are in sync, provides management with a snapshot of overall operations, and ensures compliance with regulatory standards. Since adopting automation three years ago, Uber has saved more than $22 million.
  • Spotify: Global audio streaming and media service provider Spotify uses enterprise automation to drive upskilling, internal inclusivity, and work-life balance initiatives. In upskilling employees to learn how to use software robots, Spotify discovered a path toward employee retention and long-term product innovation. Spotify built an automation citizen development program that has saved more than 45,500 hours of work—time the company’s employees now use to innovate.
  • Adobe: Automation can help companies more effectively use tools they already have. For example, Adobe Document Services and Adobe Acrobat Sign integrated software robots enhance and provide new capabilities—like accelerating e-signature workflows—to drive productivity. By transforming manual processes into all-digital experiences, businesses that use these tools can reduce the time spent on routine business processes and achieve outcomes faster.

Software robots are powering businesses around the world. To unlock automation’s full potential, businesses must also invest in their people. In the next article, we’ll explore how automation benefits employees and how businesses can set employees up for success with leveraging the technology.

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Bettina Koblick is chief people officer at UiPath.

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