The impact of robotic process automation is being felt from the boardroom to the shop floor according to a global automation report released by UK-based enterprise robotic process automation firm Blue Prism.
Automate or Stagnate: The Impact of Intelligent Automation on the Future of Work found that 88 percent of Australian knowledge workers have had daily tasks automated (compared to 78 percent globally). Some 64 percent of Australian decision makers feel their organisations are well prepared for the changes that robotic process automation (RPA) will bring.
The report, which is based on research conducted with nearly 5,000 respondents globally, also found that 81 percent of Australian knowledge workers are comfortable with reskilling in order to work alongside the digital workforce, while a further 82 percent of knowledge workers say they’re ready to take on a new job role.
This sentiment is contrary to a popularly held belief of the market and business decision makers that employees are afraid of losing their jobs to automation. In fact, only 40 percent of knowledge workers harbor fears about job loss.
RPA and Intelligent Automation were identified by Australian business decision makers as solutions to the productivity problem (87 percent and 75 percent respectively), while both RPA (95 percent) and Intelligent Automation (94 percent) are crucially important in driving digital transformation.
Almost one third of Australian knowledge workers (32 percent) don’t believe their businesses can remain competitive in the next five years with a purely human workforce. This, alongside time-saving, cost-saving and improved accuracy benefits that automation offers, could be amongst the reasons why 93 percent of Australian business decision makers surveyed plan to extend use cases of automation across their businesses.
“A new wave of economics, driven by automation and Artificial Intelligence, is emerging across the globe,” says Chris Bradshaw, Blue Prism’s Chief Marketing Officer. “This technology is disruptive, in the most positive sense. It is changing how organisations view themselves, how they operate and how the people that drive them, live and work. As we enter a new era of connected-RPA, this technology will open doors for the most digitally savvy employees to create and innovate. This is the first technological revolution to place the human at the heart of the creative value chain which is why it has such exponential potential. Blue Prism will deliver a roadmap for how businesses can transform economic output, with AI and RPA at the heart of that change.”
Change Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
Despite the progress that has already been made, the report found that businesses need to address cultural considerations if they are to tap into the technology’s latent potential. In order to increasingly incorporate RPA, 63 percent of Australian knowledge workers agree that their businesses culture needs to evolve.
This is because more than half of respondents (55 percent) have colleagues with concerns over the introduction of the technology, and 47 percent aren’t confident about their own ability to adapt to work alongside the digital workforce.
To this end, Australian business decision makers are conscious that they need to build trust among employees and the digital workforce (83 percent). Unfortunately, 68 percent of knowledge workers, believe their employers need to do more to build this trust. Improving internal communications is thought to be the best way to do this by 72 percent of business decision makers and echoed by 72 percent of knowledge workers. Communication is followed by the need for in-depth training (72 percent business decision makers, 72 percent knowledge workers).
The report also found Australian organisations feel relatively well prepared for changes and are invested in making the adoption of RPA a success with 64 percent of business decision makers reporting they feel that they are actively on the case of cultural change, incorporating the digital workforce into their daily working practices and encouraging human employees to engage with the technology. By contrast, 76 percent of global business decision makers feel as well prepared.
76 percent of Australian knowledge workers believe that acquiring new skills is essential to remain employable, which may make the cultural change and adoption process of automation and RPA easier. Interestingly 66 percent of Australian business decision makers (versus 76 globally) agree their new hires are more prepared to work alongside a digital workforce, and that adopting these technologies is an important factor in attracting and retaining the best talent.
Benefits Outweigh any Challenges
For 95 percent of Australian business decision makers surveyed and 76 percent of knowledge workers the benefits of RPA/Intelligent Automation are well understood.
“Embracing RPA has been a part of the ‘bank-of-the-future’ objective and freeing up colleagues from mundane, repetitive tasks. We’ve taken the robot out of the human, in order to enable those colleagues to fulfil more purposeful roles, as we forge ahead with the next stage of our strategy,” says Gerald Pullen, Head of Continuous Improvement & RPA from Lloyds Banking Group.
Blue Prism’s Chris Bradshaw continues: “This report proves that there are some dramatic changes ahead in business as far as both technology and the workforce is concerned. But it’s a positive change. It is up to the global business community to recognize this and provide the tools that their employees most desire that will release their creativity and innovation.”
|Key Data Point Comparisons||Global||AU|
|Knowledge workers comfortable reskilling in order to work alongside the digital workforce||83%||81%|
|Knowledge workers ready to take on a new job role||78%||82%|
|Knowledge workers with fears about job loss related to RPA?||37%||40%|
|Business Decision Makers who think RPA is a solution to the global productivity problem?||88%||87%|
|Business Decision Makers who think Intelligent Automation a solution to the global productivity problem||83%||75%|
|Knowledge workers who have experienced daily tasks being automated in the last 12 months.||78%||88%|
|Business Decision Makers who think their businesses can remain competitive in the next five years with a purely human workforce.||34%||32%|
|Business decision makers who feel that they are actively on the case of cultural change||76%||64%|
|Knowledge workers who believe that acquiring new skills is essential to remain employable||78%||76%|
|Business decision makers who agree their new hires are more prepared to work alongside a digital workforce, and that adopting these technologies is an important factor in attracting and retaining the best talent.||76%||66%|
|Business decision makers who believe that their organization has been positively impacted by automation||76%||68%|