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Why Automation Will Be Critical For Business Continuity Post-Pandemic

This article was originally posted on Linkedin

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As the COVID-19 curve flattens and the lockdown restrictions begin to relax around the world, businesses of all sizes and industries are preparing to emerge in a post-pandemic era, one where many of the standard operating models will no longer apply.

Enter the concept of Existential Flexibility, one of the principles in Simon Sinek's book "The Infinite Game", which emphasizes the ability of successful business leaders such as, Buffet, Jobs, or Bezos to shift their existing vision in response to a rapidly changing market in order to remain competitive. One thing is clear, staying comfortable with the status quo is not an option.

We have heard the phrase 'unprecedented times' applied too often to the disruptions we're seeing today, but this is hardly the first time businesses have been disrupted by an extreme economic, technological or cultural shift. Think of the time the internet became ubiquitous, many companies at the time were faced with two choices, adapt, and grow or be outpaced by the competition.

It is well-known that technology has enabled society to be more connected and closer than ever, and businesses have been able to create more capacity and operational efficiency during the 4th industrial revolution. So, the question is, should businesses freeze investments and weather the current financial crisis, or should they reallocate existing capital toward digital automation. The former might save resources in the short-term, however, in the long term, they risk being outpaced by those that have embraced automation of low-value, time-consuming tasks, which liberates employees to pursue more strategic roles.

Historically, we've seen how businesses that chose the 2nd route stand to be some of the most successful businesses today. Leaders must recognize the opportunities brought forward by a crisis and innovate to generate additional revenue strings while eliminating legacy practices that led to inefficiencies and financial losses.

Why Choose Automation Now?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has played a key role in delivering on digital transformation promises pre-Covid19, driving up productivity, creating more work capacity, and augmenting overall worker satisfaction.

During the Covid-19 crisis, RPA has enabled organizations to take urgent action across different operations to reduce the negative impacts of the pandemic and be able to quickly turn resources around to ensure business continuity. There are several proven use cases across the board. For instance, healthcare institutions use RPA to automate critical tasks such as patient eligibility clearance, electronic health records management, and clear back-office backlogs such as revenue cycle operations. As a result, RPA has given essential workers the time they need to do what they enjoy most, care for patients. Similarly, government agencies have leveraged RPA to automate a diverse set of responsibilities including, food stamp application processing, data centralization from areas impacted by Covid-19, and streamlining the procurement processes of medical supply orders. Lastly, banks have automated SBA loan processing to ensure the rapid delivery of funds to small businesses in need.

Taken together, these examples highlight how RPA has already proven to be essential during the Covid-19 crisis. IDC estimates that 40% of companies globally are increasing their use of automation as a response to the pandemic. Moving forward, we must consider how RPA will facilitate the business continuity and future growth of organizations emerging from a damaged market, and help create new higher tiered-jobs through AI-enabled automation.

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Turning Crisis into Opportunities

Business leaders that choose to make an existential flex and recalibrate their business models to optimize operational efficiency and build stronger relationships with employees and customers while moving away from the shareholder-driven business model need to navigate many nuances. This includes the adoption of new business-critical processes, elimination of existing bottlenecks, enhancement of operational efficiencies, expansion of remote-work capabilities, enforcement of new safety measures, and application of company-wide health monitoring for employees.

Hyperautomation will be a driving force behind the adoption of these new operational standards. RPA enables enterprises to remove tedious and mundane tasks from their employees' workloads and allow them to pursue more strategic and creative initiatives. In short, taking the robot out of the human. This creates more impact on business outcomes by continuously growing the bottom-line. On the other end, RPA has allowed companies to enhance their front office efficiency and provide better experiences throughout the customer journey, generating additional revenue strings and boosting top-line growth.

During times of crisis, leaders with an infinite mindset are able to build resilience through adversity and leverage the opportunity to make a dramatic shift to create a stronger, more innovative enterprise, one that will thrive in an ever-changing world.

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If this article got you thinking about the opportunities that automation will bring to your organization, contact us to discuss how you can get started on your journey towards building a recession-resilient enterprise with an automation-first approach.

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