Robotic Process Automation to revolutionise knowledge work
Robotic Process Automation enhances the productivity and competitiveness of organisations. Well-trained employees can more easily focus on their core competencies when repetitive and mechanical tasks are eliminated from their work.
The automation of knowledge work is now a hot topic in working life. Robotic Process Automation is a future megatrend that will have a radical impact on the content of knowledge work. With a proactive and responsible personnel policy, the threats related to automation can be turned into opportunities.
According to estimates by the McKinsey Global Institute, up to 47 per cent of the workforce in the United States can be replaced by robots in the next 10 to 20 years. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will transform one industry after another, as mechanical and repetitive work routines can be automated using robots.
Erik Floman, Managing Partner at Eera Oy, a company specialised in strategic and management consulting, sees a wealth of potential in this megatrend that will redefine working life.
“Robotic Process Automation enhances the productivity and competitiveness of organisations. Well-trained employees can more easily focus on their core competencies when repetitive and mechanical tasks are eliminated from their work,” Floman says.
Companies that utilise Robotic Process Automation are more efficient and productive than others. They also turn a better profit.
“RPA also creates new business opportunities based on technologies and services. It provides a solution to the labour shortage resulting from the ageing population,” Floman points out.
Eera and HRM Partners start cooperation
According to Floman, Finnish companies are more and more aware of the new opportunities presented by RPA. As a pioneering company, Eera Oy has actively promoted Robotic Process Automation among its customers and has now teamed up with HRM Partners to establish a cooperation model that aims to help organisations’ top management to anticipate and orchestrate RPA to form part of their operations in an efficient and responsible manner.
Eera Oy and HRM Partners have clear complementing roles in their cooperation. Eera specialises in strategic and management consulting, whereas HRM Partners focuses on the people side of business and practical strategy implementation in organisations.
“Our cooperation creates clear synergy benefits. We are able to offer Finnish companies and public organisations a strong comprehensive service,” says Staffan Kurtén, Senior Partner and Chairman of the Board at HRM Partners.
Floman, who has been on the Board of HRM Partners since 2011, is excited about the cooperation.
“This is a win-win situation. We need each other, instead of competing against each other. Our cooperation model will shape up as our projects advance,” he says.
Responsible personnel policy helps prepare for automation
The automation of knowledge work will redefine the content of work and is bound to take away jobs, but it will also create new jobs. According to Kurtén, companies should pay more attention to estimating the effects of automation and develop their personnel policy proactively to meet the rapidly changing challenges of working life.
“The productivity of business operations is based on the productivity of the personnel, and variables related to the latter include competence, work capacity and motivation. Surveys by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health have demonstrated how these things influence a company’s EBITDA. The productivity of personnel correlates with the company’s business result,” Kurtén says.
Floman even believes Robotic Process Automation has the potential to change the basic paradigm of globalisation. For instance, jobs that have shifted from Finland to lower-cost countries may actually come back.
“The cheap labour market can be taken under Finnish control. This will return the added value produced by work to Finland. Even robots need to be controlled, adjusted, started and maintained,” Floman points out.
According to him, Robotic Process Automation provides almost infinite opportunities.
“Current tasks can be rationalised. For example, processing the admission of a patient to a British hospital required using six to seven different systems, which took 20 minutes and up to 40 people. Now this process takes only a couple of minutes, and employees can focus on taking care of patients more efficiently,” Floman says.
According to Floman, Finnish organisations in health care and social services are currently very interested in the opportunities provided by RPA.
“Several health care districts, cities, government agencies and unincorporated state enterprises have actively set out to automate their processes,” he says.
Kurtén wants to point out that the human perspective must not be forgotten when discussing the opportunities provided by RPA and the effects of automation on workforce adaptation in situations of change.
“If the human perspective is forgotten in the process, the risk level rises. Responsible personnel policy is part of organisational risk management. We offer a great deal of expertise and experience in managing people and change,” Kurtén concludes.
Original text in Finnish: Olli Manninen