October 10, 2020

BCP 2.0 or How robots can make your company pandemic-proof

Great addition to already good benefits

It’s been a while since we realized all the other benefits of RPA besides FTE saving. Quite common are:

  • Elimination of human errors
  • Ability to work 24/7
  • Times faster than human execution speed
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Employee satisfaction (focus on more meaningful tasks)

Still for quite some time RPA was challenged by traditional system integrators in terms of sensitivity to application changes. In other words there were concerns of robot’s long-term stability. Here and there you may hear: “Yeah, but what if application interface changes?”, “What is there is system or application update?” etc. 

And while RPA service providers were trying to answer that questions and explain to customers that RPA is not just something about UI or sending hotkeys but much more complex ecosystem including API requests, ready to use app integrations, database connectors, ML etc., companies which implemented RPA before COVID-19 pandemic realized another huge benefit of running robot departments internally.

At the time when IT departments were actively serving employees with VPN connections, laptops and other security and software features for remote work, CoE managements were just realizing another chapter in their business case. 

BCP 2.0 - When robots have your back covered

One of Ective’s customers is world leading industry-gas producer. They have already over 100 technical process running in their center of excellence and here are 2 main learning we realized during the pandemic period.

Learning 1: Robots don’t care at all about pandemics, nature cataclysms, city lock-downs, revolutions etc. They just work.

Guess what happened to those 100+ processes when pandemic started? The answer is “Nothing”. Processes were running just as usual, everything they need is few servers, virtual machines, internet connection and few licenses. We have advanced reporting implemented in Kibana and out of curiosity after few months of pandemic we went there to check how our robots are doing. We realized that there was no affect on performance. In some areas workload dramatically increased but this would be highlighted in the second learning. Overall processes were running as usual despite the fact that on the company level there were many organizational changes ongoing related to COVID-19.

Number of transactions processed monthly for all processes
Learning 2: You can onboard as many robots as you want as fast as you want with very little effort.

One of the gases that mentioned company produces is oxygen, which as you may guess was in quite high demand during these times. So in some areas workload was dramatically growing and several processes doubled or even tripled the regular demand. And solution was super easy, even at the times when you (and other people too) are not allowed to go out of your house, in a matter of few clicks you can increase capacity of your process as much as you need by just plugging more robots in.

So the next time I hear how fragile robots are towards minor apps changes, I would ask the person “How reliable humans are?”, “How well are you prepared to scale your process in case of unexpected demand?”, “How fast you can enable resources to increase capacity?”. And on the background of those questions sensitivity to UI changes (which can be minimized when following right development standards) is not anymore the big topic. It is unlikely to happen and very easy to handle.

To summarize, with all the other well-known benefits RPA brings another significant contribution factor to the business, which is Bulletproof Business Continuity Plan where your processes will run regardless what type of disaster is happening outside.

If you would like to know more about any of 100+ processes, scalable center of excellence or whatever related don’t hesitate to get in touch (eduard.shlepetskyy@ective.eu).

* Legend:

BCP – Business Continuity Plan
RPA – Robotic Process Automation
FTE – Full Time Equivalent
UI – User Interface
CoE – Center of excellence

Sample of automated process: Reading data from Excel (in background) and popoulation to SAP on 4 screens in parallel.
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