Companies are increasingly using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and other intelligent automation technologies to address new business and market pressures stemming from the pandemic, but still believe a people-centric approach is critical to success in the future of work. This has been revealed by a study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of UiPath: The Future of Work: A Pandemic Spotlight.
Throughout May 2020 (at the height of the crisis), Forrester conducted an online survey of 160 process automation decision-makers from operations groups, shared services, finance, and other lines of business in organizations spanning France, Germany, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. The results of the survey showed that the pandemic has:
- Expedited digital transformations and created a surge in automation investment. The world has seen more digital transformation in the past few months than in the preceding five years. Intelligent automation technologies, including RPA, are supporting and accelerating this surge.
With 48% of survey respondents planning to increase RPA spend over the next year, companies are using RPA to:
- Increase agility, diversity, and resilience in their supply chain operations (83%);
- Address extraordinary cost pressures by automating back-office and operational tasks (80%); and,
- Support remote workforces (75%).
- Elevated the need for a people-centric workforce.
Automation is required to tackle post-pandemic economic challenges but requires an employee-sensitive approach. Fifty-seven percent of respondents say their employees are moderately or very anxious regarding their ability to succeed in their jobs due to automation and pandemic-related stress.
As a result, it is crucial for businesses to provide automation reskilling and upskilling opportunities so employees have the skills needed to thrive in the future of work and maximize the potential of automation investments. Sixty percent of decision makers agreed that providing workplace certifications for transferable digital and machine skills helps their employees cope with the potential effects of automation and prepares them for the future of work. Organizations must develop a post-pandemic employee experience by offering education opportunities and monitoring employee health.