The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the working patterns of employees across the globe. It has not only forced enterprises to think of digital ways but also on digital automation, which is the need of the hour. UiPath India & SAARC President Manish Bharti shares with Sunil Pradhan the importance of automation in such situations.
Q: How COVID-19 pandemic changed views of businesses about considering automation seriously?
A: Today, with lockdowns across countries and employees working remotely, many corporates are assessing the power of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) in managing work with highly dispersed workforces. They are looking at all customer engagements with a fresh perspective. There is a large focus on how to properly position and prepare them for the future. This is pushing the CIOs (Chief Information Officers) to closely evaluate the benefits of RPA and the processes that can be automated to fine-tune their ensuing strategies.
Automation will also become the key for enterprises to ensure that business continuity is maintained.
Recently, one of the companies leveraged RPA not only to process the salaries of their employees on time but also to ensure timely invoicing and payments to their stakeholders for all critical projects. Another example is of a foam company, which implemented RPA to help manage functions like e-way bill, order management and customs documentation.
Q: How keen are businesses to share their automation needs considering the data security aspect of the business?
A: Last year, we did a study with The Economic Intelligence Unit, exploring the progress of automation around the world. It indicated that automation is a C-suite priority today and is considered a kick-starter for businesses’ digital transformation. India specifically is the most satisfied with benefits resulting from automating business processes and considers RPA an extremely high priority for meeting business objectives. Therefore, there has always been a high appetite for RPA among Indian enterprises. Last year we doubled our customer base in India.
Talking about security and compliance, UiPath addresses all aspects of it, including systems hardening, secure development life cycle, service and data availability, live site testing, security incidents response and production access controls to uphold the highest standards for data security, privacy, and availability.
Q: What should be the thought process of businesses to adopt automation?
A: Companies need to adopt the ‘Automation First’ mindset which requires one to move away from conventional thinking. 'Automation First' is founded on three core ideas that form UiPath’s strategy: Fostering open innovation in automation, delivering robots that learn new skills and creating workforce readiness through learning. Shifting to this mindset requires companies to couple their technology deployments with an empathetic, human-centered change-management program to show employees how this disruption will improve their working lives.
Q: Which domains are witnessing a spike in automation?
A: In the context of COVID-19, healthcare companies, banks and BPOs are benefiting from RPA solutions, considering the effort, availability of human talent and efficiency in the use of time. It is much better time spent and effort for the frontline healthcare staff to be focused on the patients rather than having to fill in forms and do the administrative work they have to do. So that’s where RPA, in particular, has seen a spike.
We have seen a large uptake from governments as well.