COVID-19 as a Catalyst for Digital Innovation

How times of crisis drive intelligent automation

The corona crisis has a major impact, resulting in major changes within governments, healthcare providers and businesses. Some changes will be permanent. Even in a post-pandemic business world, changes in supply chains, the competitive environment, and the way of working, will leave their mark. Another long-term effect is the adoption and implementation of intelligent automation. The crisis has accelerated the deployment of RPA, IA, and hyper automation. In this blog, we discuss the reasons behind this acceleration in technological adoption.

Logically, few organizations were prepared for the far-reaching negative consequences of a pandemic on their business operations. For some, it has become painfully clear that future-proof technology is the key to resiliency and agility. The effect of this is clearly visible, as businesses now are investing in their technology in order to catch up. According to a Forrester study, more digitization projects have taken place in the past few months than in the previous five years. 

The Business Side 

The use of Intelligent Automation experienced a big boost in the first months of 2020, when the biggest impact of the crisis became apparent. Many companies that were already experimenting with the possibilities of IA technologies in previous years, started to fully deploy their pilots quickly within their organization. Companies that were previously skeptical about the possibilities of IA also had to look at the possibilities to quickly ensure their business continuity. For many organizations, this would yield instant time savings and quick return on investment. These positive experiences may have increased the confidence of many organizations in IA.  

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and the so called ‘Digital Workforce’ have a major influence on the adaptive capacity of companies, which is now experienced first-hand by many. Digital workers can continue to operate around the clockThey provide security for business owners by executing mission-critical tasksLastly, the digital workforce does not only replace repetitive work usually done by human workers, but it can also act as a gateway between old and new technologies which essentially provides an element of futureproof-ness to the IT infrastructure. Collaboratively, these insights may result in the digital workforce growing into an important part of the corporate structure.  

The Consumer Side 

Not only companies and governments are starting to shift faster and faster towards new, innovative technologies. A major change is also taking place in the consumer world. Increased use of new technologies by consumers, and a more positive consumer attitude towards IT solutions, may result in a more favorable and receptive environment for Intelligent Automation solutions. 

Before the corona crisis, the human element in interactions was still highly valued by consumers when making a purchase. However, in times of digital teleworking, e-commerce purchases, and social distancing strategies, those face-to-face interactions are seen in a different light. For example, more people now prefer to use self-service checkouts and contactless payments as it may protect their wellbeing. As a large part of a population starts to more intensively use both new and existing technologies, those technologies will quickly become more common and normal to use. 

A favorable environment for Intelligent Automation 

Concluding, the global pandemic has created an increasingly favorable environment for the more widespread adoption of IA technologies, in both small and large organizations. To sum up, the reasons for that are as follows: 

  • Businesses have increased confidence in IA; 
  • IA technologies have become increasingly familiar; 
  • Consumers have started to prefer automation over human interaction. 

However, this does not mean that all barriers to the adoption of IA have been removed by this time of crisis. For many companiesuncertainties remain. In many cases, practical problems are the culprits to successful IA implementation. For example, the digital skills of both employees and end-users may be lacking, big data may not always be available and reliableand cultural resistance to change may exist. 

Intelligent Automation with Be Informed 

We provided various reasons for the increased adoption rate of intelligent automation after this time of crisis. Be Informed is also currently helping various companies to continue to develop sustainably in these new times. We would be happy to talk to you and explore the possibilities automation offers for your company or business unit, without any obligation.

Source: Coombes, C. 2020. Will COVID-19 be the tipping point for the Intelligent Automation of work?

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