Why Robotic Process Automation is Right for Small and Medium Businesses

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The global Robotic Process Automation market is expected to reach over USD 2.8 billion by 2023, according to a report published by Energias Market Research, translating to a compound annual growth rate of 33.3% (from 2017 to 2023).

With inexpensive implementation costs and typically high returns on investment, a key factor driving this impressive growth rate will be the increased adoption of RPA across businesses of all sizes - small, medium and large alike.

In Australia, small and medium businesses account for a staggering 93% of the domestic company landscape, according to this Government report. The figures are similar in New Zealand, Singapore and elsewhere around the globe.

To date, RPA adoption in the Asia Pacific region has been led predominantly by larger enterprises. CiGen Executive Director Leigh Pullen comments that in the past 6 months, small and medium businesses are increasingly becoming aware of the power of RPA and are seeking to adopt.

Let us see now what this positive forecast means for the specific case of small and medium sized businesses.

Why do small and medium businesses need robotic process automation?

Small and medium businesses are anticipated to adopt and reap the benefits of robotic process automation in the following years. But why would businesses of this size need RPA in the first place? In order to answer, we can start by looking at the challenges that these companies face.

According to UiPath, smaller enterprises must manage a myriad of issues, including:

  • Uncertainty

  • Reducing operational costs

  • Increasing revenue growth and profitability

  • Attracting and retaining new customers

  • Improving workforce productivity

  • Improving quality of products and processes

However, many business leaders continue to believe that their operations are either not suitable or of sufficient scale for an RPA investment. After all, automation is a tool best suited for larger scale and global enterprises, isn’t it?

But as Leigh Pullen argues in an interview for the Australian Financial Review, there should be no such delineation between company size and the ability to adopt RPA, considering the favourable cost-benefit outcome of an robotic process automation implementation.

Through its RPA Robots for Hire service, which is specifically tailored for small and medium businesses, CiGen has often observed a proportionally greater cost-benefit improvement, relative to some larger enterprises.

For example, in a small business of 10 employees, relieving one or more employees of half a day of their manual, repetitive work has enormous benefits to overall productivity, allowing the small business to do more with their existing headcount.
— Leigh Pullen, Co-founder and Executive Director, CiGen

Irrespective of business size or industry type, automation is a viable candidate to support more productive, flexible and streamlined business processes, upgraded customer services and improved scalability.

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Interested in this topic? We can put you in touch with an expert.

Numerous benefits from investing in robotic process automation

There are numerous benefits to justify the shift towards RPA, and the list only gets longer when considering industry specific processes and circumstances. Here we present a more generic list of benefits to get you thinking - we’ll dive deeper into several items from this list in future articles.

  • Improvements to data accuracy and process speed

  • Service cost reduction

  • Detection and correction of revenue leakage

  • Maintain and improve competitiveness

  • Headcount flexibility

  • Employees recover time to concentrate on higher value activities

  • Regulatory and compliance reporting improvements

  • Facilitates business expansion

  • Improvement in overall employee job satisfaction by shedding menial tasks

  • Renewed operational focus on the front office, as the back office becomes automated

  • Renewed customer focus, as the front office becomes automated

  • Business processes are fully documented

  • Built-in operational efficiencies when RPA implemented at start-up

Conclusion

The overarching reason to adopt robotic process automation for small and medium businesses is that it allows them to effectively compete with their larger scale rivals in a given landscape. Robotic process automation frees up employees to become more productive, so it should certainly not be disregarded by those companies for which human resources are a precious commodity.

This makes Guy Kirkwood’s, Chief Evangelist at UiPath, prediction from an interview for the Australian Financial Review not merely optimistic but rather realistic, small and medium businesses included: “RPA will become the standard way that organisations run their operations”.

As our very own Leigh Pullen puts it, RPA enacts the possibility to “strengthen customer service, mobilise resources to more customer-centric front office positions and expand into new avenues of products and services.” To this end, CiGen is excited for the future of its RPA Robots for Hire facility, a unique service that can be used by small and medium business to leverage robotic process automation in their operations - stay tuned for more news!