Whenever there’s talk of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), it’s usually in terms of productivity gains, quality improvement and cost reduction. Or the dialogue is focused on how it impacts jobs.
But it’s also important to note that RPA also supports and empowers people, within our own organization as well as those of our clients. At its core, RPA is a journey to more human ingenuity, creativity and innovative thinking.
Can’t See the Forest for the Trees
Often our clients’ F&A teams are stuck in the process of pushing out work, and checking off the boxes of their job description. Yet, what every company wants (and needs) is for its people to get out of the tactical and become more strategic. The ability to automate low-value, transactional work gives the client’s employees more time, shifting the paradigm from “doing” to “thinking.” It allows their people to dig a little deeper and find opportunities for growth and increased performance.
Let’s face it, no one has ever said “I find retrieving information so fulfilling.” Working in a digital environment with robotics running in the background can be a boon to employee engagement. People work better when they can apply their skills, their hearts and their minds to the task at hand.
Lost productivity due to disengaged employees costs companies millions of dollars. While there are other factors at play –workplace environment, compensation, etc. –when human capital can get away from the tedious work and the mounds of paper, and dig into something meatier, it increases employee satisfaction and staff morale.
From Our Perspective
While the BPO industry was traditionally a lower cost, labor-based way to execute manual processes that could not be automated, it’s evolving. The same benefits outlined above apply to our own talent.
It’s an exciting time; because when we can remove the work that people really shouldn’t be doing anyway (the dull, unfulfilling work of cutting and pasting between systems, etc.), we can focus on developing higher skills sets and rethinking processes. To remain nimble and agile in our own BPO space – and do our best work for our clients – Sutherland must be a learning organization, investing in the skills of our people and encouraging them to contribute and seek out new ways of upping the value we deliver to our F&A engagements.
As well, to achieve the “Future State Nirvana” all companies are looking for, processes must be viewed as a synergistic whole. When we implement an RPA strategy, we look at upstream and downstream processes. People still view RPA as a technology solution, when it’s really a solution designed around end-to-end process change.
People hear the word “robot” and think “automation” as if it’s not very different from OCR or other automation solutions. It’s far more than that: it’s about re-engineering processes altogether and getting the right people into the right roles.
More Than 24/7
Many times the conversation around RPA centers on the fact that the robotic unit is capable of working around the clock, doesn’t leave for vacation, or require benefits. However, while true to a point, it’s missing the bigger picture. RPA doesn’t only accelerate the speed and quality of processes, it also accelerates our human capabilities as well as our capacity to think, learn and question. And, that’s pretty awesome.