Stuck In A Sisyphus-Like Repetitive Job? RPA Revolts!

Wake up. Work. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. The series of lockdowns in the last two years has made us function in a routine. Much like Sisyphus, who was doomed to push a huge rock up a hill repeatedly for eternity, only to see it roll down again. Thank God! We live in an age of automation. Imagine surviving the lockdowns without the Robo-mops and dishwashers of the world, repeatedly cleaning for dirt, only to see it settle down again.

It begets the question, what if Sisyphus had RPA or automation at his disposal. He could have probably employed his devious mind that tricked Hades twice out of death, elsewhere, in a more creative pursuit that would please the gods to pardon him perhaps. The possibilities of that, like the possibilities of RPA, are boundless. RPA is a modern-day panacea to the absurdness of life, including the workplace.

Strategic solutions that will help cut down chances of errors in processes, or reduce the effort of redoing something, while boosting process efficiencies, employee engagement, accuracy, and performance enhancement, is the overriding principle of automation, or RPA, in the modern workplace. From data entry and invoice processing to typical content management, the applications of business process automation are unbound and is expected to expand even more with rapidly increasing demand.

For one…

Automation can significantly reduce dependence on that one go-to guy who can fix all your invoice issues that crop up from vendors daily. Such repeatable processes are high volume and must be a matter of scripted protocol, not experiential knowledge of one single person. RPA can help set up an automated database of those scripted protocols with recorded use cases to inform future decisions, allowing great minds to move out of the mundane and contribute to brand building.

There are huge sections of every industry where RPA has become a necessity. Customer support is required in every section that has a great deal of their business with the customer. The customer-centric companies are looking for a way out of the high investments they have been making in these sections. ChatBots have come to the rescue, such that calling customer care is quickly becoming passe.

In the BPM industry, the use of RPA makes perfect sense. It is all about improving user experience, smoothening the functioning of processes, ironing out frictions. RPA can effectively automate a chunk of these specific workflows, such as the gathering of data, maintaining records or putting together periodic reports, processing of orders, employee onboarding, and so on that typically consume a majority of the bandwidth of employees and managers. Deploying RPA and automation solutions, these tasks can be accurate and quick, without the dire need for human minds to intervene. The productivity hours are instead deployed in strategising the improvement of processes as a whole.

As it is, the global RPA market size has reached a market size of $2.65 Bn in 2021, according to a report by Precedence Research. And as per Gartner, the market is expected to grow at double-digit rates through 2024, despite the economic pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Two…

Deploying RPA to cover for repetitive tasks that best run in the background, invisible, is something that is important from the point of view of talent acquisition as well. Unlike Albert Camus, the millennial workforce does not consider this “struggle” of repetitive tasks as “enough to fill a man’s heart.” This younger, digital-first generation of workforce has a low tolerance for all things repetitive or manual. Job search statistics show that over 87% of millennials rate professional career growth and developmental opportunities as important to them in a job. Employers can no more lure skilled talent by just offering tempting benefits. Employers are also judged by candidates on parameters of collaborative cultures, levels of innovation, and the spectrum of opportunities that a company can offer. The demand to go digital is pressing from the prospective employees as much as from the clients. This demand is pushing companies to think out of the box, or simply to give up traditional ways of doing things, in favour of technology interventions that are shaping the future of the workforce.

That the implementation of RPA helps boost employee productivity by allowing them to focus on more strategic work has already been established. This assumes greater importance when we talk about attracting and retaining millennial employees, given the collective disdain of this future workforce for anything mundane or run-of-the-mill. Deploying RPA and automation is one of the ways that companies can use to get the mundane out of the way and instead allow the brightest minds to do what they are best at.

The significance of human judgment can never be overemphasised, and robotics only reinforces the modern business philosophy of reducing process complexity and staying lean, while deploying every single key resource to achieve more strategic outcomes. The realisation of the absurd, after all, doesn’t require acceptance, like that of Sisyphus. “No. It requires revolt,” in the words of Albert Camus.

This article was first published on Business World.

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