CiGen featured in the Australian Financial Review

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CiGen is in the news, having been featured in the Australian Financial Review article “Welcome to the New World”.

With Forrester Research predicting the worldwide RPA market to be worth $US2.9 billion by 2021 (up from just $US250 million currently), Robotic Process Automation is certainly here to stay.

As a pure-play RPA specialist, CiGen is proud to introduce its “Robots for Hire” service to complement the existing on-site, full-service model. “Robots for Hire” will allow companies of all sizes to lease CiGen’s own fleet of robots for the short, medium or long term. In particular, smaller companies can leverage Robots for Hire as a means to remain cost competitive in their market sphere.”

The full article can be read below.

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Second wave! Incoming! No, it’s not a computer game, but battalions of smart robots that are poised to revolutionise the world of work.

The first wave – physical robots – is now well established in industries such as manufacturing and mining.

The next wave – software robots – will embed Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in office computer systems around the world.

You can’t see these robots, nor invite them to morning tea. You also don’t have to pay them over time, sick leave, holiday pay or super.

You can implement them on site or hire them when needed, under “Robots for Hire” deals offered by Australian company CiGen, a pure-play RPA specialist, which wants the benefits of robotics to be available to small and medium businesses as well as large enterprises.

Leigh Pullen, executive director at CiGen, says: “Complementing our full-service model, we have a fleet of robots that a ccompany can lease for the short, medium or long term. In particular, smaller companies are using our Robots for Hire service as a mean store main cost competitive in their market sphere.”

Forrester Research forecast in February that the RPA market worldwide would be worth $US2.9 billion in 2021, up from just $US250 million in 2016.

Europe and the UK have led adoption to date, but the US is set to overtake them by the end of this year. Australia, NewZealand and Asia are poised to show strong growth over the next 12 months.

Software robots can work 24/7, making rules- based decisions and performing repetitive tasks with precision, consistency and speed.

“Back office” robots work unattended, while “front office” robots work hand in hand with customer-centred staff. Augmenting such software with artificial intelligence and machine learning will vastly expand the scope of RPA, placing it within the much larger field of Intelligent Automation.

CiGen partners with Ui Path, which was named Technology Leader and Star Performer among RPA vendors by Everest Group in 2017.

“We partnered with UiPath in early 2016 after reviewing a number of RPA vendors,” Pullen says. “We find UiPath’s technology is top-of-class, enabling fast and accurate automation, and it’s backed by a competitive pricing structure, for both entry level and long-term installations. We were also inspired by UiPath’s vision to strategically evolve beyond purely rules-based automation and towards cognitive and machine learning automation, with the ability to plug in and take advantage of leading AI technologies such as IBM Watson, Google and optical character recognition ABBYY.”

CiGen has observed the shift in perception and acceptance of robotics as a key tool in an increasingly digitized office. “About 18 months ago, when the hype around RPA started to build, the big question was: Can it do the job?” Pullen says.

“Now we are going beyond that hype cycle. RPA has moved to proven technology and is providing tangible benefits to the companies that deploy it.”

UiPath’s COO, Guy Kirkwood, says: “My general prediction is that RPA will become the standard way that organisations run their operations.”

CiGen’s full-service model comprises end-to-end implementation, detailed training, client support services, RPA management and UiPath product sales. On the advisory side, they offer an extensive range of services including suitability assessments for specific processes, RPA efficiency audits and best practice guidelines to help organisations plan for and overcome challenges that can hinder their automation journey.

For businesses looking to cut costs, the arithmetic is compelling. An unattended robot can do the back office work of three to five people, but costs approximately one- third of a job outsourced to alow-wage country such as Malaysia or the Philippines.

“With metrics like this, the opportunity to repatriate or retain services locally is stronger than at any times in ce off shoring began 20 years ago”, Pullen says.

The first sectors to embrace the RPA transformation have been banking, finance and insurance, with superannuation, government, IT and telecommunications also well into the adoption phase. Core functions and processes that organisations seek to automate are typically common across many sectors – accounts payable, payroll, procurement, data entry/ validation and regulatory reporting, to name a few.

“For this reason, as RPA use cases start to circulate, we’re seeing increased engagement from sectors such as utilities, media, ports and mining who are now actively pursuing RPA benefits,” Pullen says.

“Further, companies are realizing that even bespoke processes that may be company or sector specific are also ripe for automation – think mortgage processing, insurance claims and utility field services, for example.”

Fears have been expressed for the impact of robotics on white-collar jobs across industry, but Leigh Pullen says that Europe, the UK and CiGen’s own experience in Australia and New Zealand has not shown anything like the reduction in employment predicted.

“Instead, companies have used the opportunity and head count flexibility that RPA offers to strengthen customer service, mobilise resources to more customer-centric front office positions, or expand into new business lines and services.”