Study finds nearly 50% of businesses around the world will increase robotic process automation adoption due to COVID-19

More digital transformation occurred in the first five months of 2020 than in the preceding five years says industry survey

Companies are increasingly using robotic process automation (RPA) and other intelligent automation technologies to address new business and market pressures stemming from the pandemic, but a people-centric approach is still critical to success in the future of work. This is the conclusion found by a new report conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of RPA company UiPath.

Throughout May 2020 (at the height of the COVID-19 crisis), Forrester conducted an online survey of 160 process automation decision-makers from operations groups, shared services, finance, and other lines of business in organizations spanning France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US.

The results of the survey showed that the pandemic has expedited digital transformations and created a surge in automation investment. 

The world has seen more digital transformation in the past few months than in the preceding five years says the report. Intelligent automation technologies, including RPA, are supporting and accelerating this surge.
With 48% of survey respondents planning to increase RPA spend over the next year, companies are using RPA to:

  • Increase agility, diversity, and resilience in their supply chain operations (83%)
  • Address extraordinary cost pressures by automating back-office and operational tasks (80%)
  • Support remote workforces (75%).

The survey also suggested Elevated the need for a people-centric workforce. Automation is required to tackle post-pandemic economic challenges but requires an employee-sensitive approach. Fifty seven percent of respondents say their employees are moderately or very anxious regarding their ability to succeed in their jobs due to automation and pandemic-related stress.

As a result, it is crucial for businesses to provide automation reskilling and upskilling opportunities so employees have the skills needed to thrive in the future of work and maximize the potential of automation investments. Sixty percent of decision makers agreed that providing workplace certifications for transferable digital and machine skills helps their employees cope with the potential effects of automation and prepares them for the future of work. Organizations must develop a post-pandemic employee experience by offering education opportunities and monitoring employee health.

“The pandemic has turned the world upside down, and the shock has greatly accelerated businesses’ march toward the future of work. Automation has emerged as an invaluable asset for organizations to embrace this changing way of work. The time to automate is now,” said Tom Clancy, SVP UiPath Learning. “Now more than ever, digital skillsets are necessary. To enhance retention and produce productivity, it’s employers’ responsibilities to offer digital training –specifically automation training – as part of career development initiatives.”

For more information, the study can be downloaded here.

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