Robotic process automation: lessons learned from the early adopters

Robotic process automation: lessons learned from the early adopters

With annual growth of 57%, the market for robotic process automation software is set to reach $680 million in 2018, according to Gartner, and hit $2.4 billion in 2022. So, as new projects gather pace, what can they learn from early adopters, asks Lindsay Clark.

Robotic process automation is a tough sell. Although software robots promise to help with repetitive administrative tasks, the people already doing the work feel threatened, according to Cristian Paun, head of business transformation and procurement at Lombard International Assurance. Meanwhile, managers at the top of the business have other concerns.

"They want to know about return on investment and how fast they will see their money. We had a lot of discussion around that," he told a recent London conference hosted by RPA software provider UiPath.

He was able to help business leaders understand the strategic benefits of RPA by discussing the stark economic reality many organisations face.

"I don't know of any companies that project negative growth. And for next year, most businesses have regulatory and other strategic projects. But they don't want to hire all the people they might need. If you don't want to hire people or give up projects, then you need something more strategic. You need something else, and for us that something was RPA. It was a bit of journey for us to realise it was not a nice-to-have, but more like something we required to survive," Paun said.

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Lindsay Clark

Lindsay Clark is a freelance journalist specialising in business IT, supply chain management, procurement and business transformation. He has worked as news editor at Computer Weekly and several other leading trade magazines. He has also written for The Guardian, The Financial Times and supplements to The Times. 

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