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Pro Progressio Business Talks – Paul Jasniach from PwC explains what RPA really is?


Wiktor Doktór: RPA, another magical three letters in business world. We are so far used to BPO, SSC, ITO, SLA, KPI and many others. What stands behind RPA?


Paul Jasniach: Haha, it is amazing. Well I will put it this way, you know something has made it when it's known by its acronym. But it is actually an important question, in understanding what RPA, meaning robotic process automation is.  And what I mean by that is, process automation is not new. Automation exists today, but it usually has meant getting in behind systems, to automate. Whereas RPA sits on top of core systems, emulating human behaviour, performing processes just like you and I would, so it is robotic in nature. Hence why Robotic Process Automation. 


WD: Thank you for this introduction. With robotics we usually connect some androids or other machines, but in this case it is rather artificial intelligence and software solutions – isn’t it?


PJ: Yes, you’re right, the robotics and automation is not new in many industries, in this case we are talking about software. Software that you train and programme to perform tasks and activities.  Within automation there are many different elements from task robots, iq robots, natural language processing, AI. But I think a good place to start is at robotic process automation used to undertake process tasks. Let’s save AI for another interview.


WD: If you were to draw a global map of RPA, how would it look like? Where RPA is implemented the most and where it is not discovered yet? Is it possible to say for example that in United States 50% of operation centres use some of the RPA and in India much less or much more?


PJ: Without a doubt the US is leading. However, there is strong activity in Europe and Australia also. An interesting way to look globally is where the technology has come from, so you have a mix of Silicon Valley, a UK bank and an east coast university all who have created very successful RPA platforms, and industries where it has been implemented with financial services and logistics companies certainly ahead of the curve.  


WD: Whenever we talk about robotics or automation people are afraid of losing jobs. Is it really a risk?


PJ:  It's important to look at robotics not just purely as a cost play. Jobs out. No, jobs will change there is no doubt about that. Managers will now manage staff and bots. Staff will build processes with automation built in. Anytime there is change, people get nervous. So that is certainly something that needs to be taken into consideration, engaging your people and making sure the organisation and people understand the changes and the opportunities. However, beyond cost, robotics creates opportunities for organisations to do more. Being able to serve multiple markets and customers better, being able to work around the clock, and being able to undertake reporting and analytics, where it just would have been too time consuming and expensive to do so. So I think the key message is - jobs will change.


WD: Let’s make a short exercise. What are the 5 critical steps company should make to implement RPA?


PJ:  sure...

Number 1 - Speak to me ... I will provide my phone number … haha. But seriously firstly, learn and understand what it is and what it is not. And of course we have a role in that.

Number 2 - Once you understand, have a think where you could implement RPA - manual, repetitive, multiple systems, new markets, tasks we haven't been able to do, high error rates, missing controls etc.

Number 3 - Get the IT department on board. RPA is a business led technology, you can implement it on a desktop if you want, but to really get the most out of it, get your IT department bought in.

Number 4 -  Try it. We quickly found that many organisations just thought this just sounds too good to be true. Undertake a proof of concept, on one or two processes to prove the benefits. from there you can build.

Finally, Number 5 - Start to think about RPA strategically. Think about it in everything you do. Think RPA as the beach head into more intelligent automation, AI etc.  


WD: Last question, but not the least. In your opinion – how fast, do you think, the RPA will grow in next 5 years?


PJ: I think extremely fast. The growth and interest in the last 12 months has been enormous. Not a day goes by now where I am not being asked about, demonstrating or seeing opportunities for RPA. And as I speak to RPA providers, I know that they are continuing to develop automation and intelligent automation, so as uptake is growing, the capability of the technology is continuing to advance.


Pro Progressio Business Talks is the cycle of interviews with global key managers. Interviews are run by Wiktor Doktór, the CEO of Pro Progressio Foundation. In Pro Progressio Business Talks there are covered current business trends, analysis of business cases, hits and tips as well as discussions concerning process development of European and Global companies.

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