EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES | BDO LLP
09 EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES | BDO LLP
lockdown. ‘RPA is designed to reduce the burden of repetitive tasks on employees. But rather than eliminating jobs, it’s actually more likely to enhance the work of employees,’ says Foxall. ‘There’s a massive potential for this, and I think it’s going to grow even more in a post- COVID-19, digital-first economy, when there are going to be so many people working remotely. You can use RPA for the remote onboarding of employees and/or customers. You can use it for customer maintenance, payroll, price monitoring, order process, shipment scheduling. With lots of areas that would be rather mundane for employees, with a very high risk of errors, it’s much better if you can actually deploy RPA to enable the employees to have a more interesting role, which inturn improves their productivity and boosts their job satisfaction.’ While RPA does the heavy lifting, people are still required to do the analysis and
some 53% of organisations have begun their RPA journey, with near-universal adoption expected within five years. This move up the corporate agenda seems to have been confirmed by IBM’s prompt acquisition of WDG Automation, a Brazilian RPA specialist. IBM says it will embed RPA throughout its portfolio, using it to support client’s digital transformation activities, analytics, and AI workloads. RPA is sometimes seen as a danger to people’s jobs, but this is to misunderstand its true value, says Frank Foxall, entrepreneurial investor and director at Camwood, which has incubated and spun out a number of successful tech start-ups such as AppDNA, Rimo3 and Infinity. Foxall is also an investor and non- excutive board director at HeadBox, an event technology scale-up. Camwood’s latest spin-off, an RPA business called NexBotix, was launched earlier on this year and secured backing from a US investor while the UK was in
fine decision-making when it comes to edge cases and escalations. He cites the example of an investment bank which uses a number of bots to undertake specific tasks. ‘Because of what they do, each of those bots has an email address. But there is a great deal of human monitoring, as you can imagine, for compliance purposes too.’ Where RPA has traditionally found favour with larger enterprise customers, Foxall is now seeing wider adoption, for example with insurance providers and local councils, and more generally with mid-market organisations with <5000 users. ‘A lot of those companies are trying to understand now what they need to do to be on the survival track as they exit COVID-19. They’re undertaking really rigorous reviews of their processes, trying to understand what their new marketplace will look like. So I think RPA has got a part to play for those organisations, especially
if it is more scalable, cost-effective and more straightforward to implement than perhaps it has been before.’ Technologies like RPA play well into the current mood of pragmatism among buyers and investors alike, says James Duez, CEO of Rainbird. ‘As an investor right now, I’d be backing the technologies that enable organisations to restructure and adapt – which means RPA, as well as IA and AI,’ he says. ‘Most buyers currently lack the visibility and resources to engage in the speculative building of bespoke solutions and instead are looking for a faster ROI. Where before they could think globally, now they are thinking more locally.’
RPA IS SOMETIMES SEEN AS A DANGER TO PEOPLE’S JOBS, BUT THIS IS TO MISUNDERSTAND ITS TRUE VALUE.
AS AN INVESTOR RIGHT NOW, I’D BE BACKING THE TECHNOLOGIES THAT ENABLE ORGANISATIONS TO RESTRUCTURE AND ADAPT – WHICH MEANS RPA...
FRANK FOXALL ENTREPRENEURIAL INVESTOR & DIRECTOR, CAMWOOD
JAMES DUEZ CEO OF RAINBIRD
Made with FlippingBook HTML5