Published on: April 11, 2020
Automation in a time of Covid19
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Every business, charity and government body is currently being affected by the COVID19 pandemic. The crisis is putting enormous pressure on organizations to work differently.

How quickly time flies! The beginning of the year already seems like a bygone era. Not that long ago, organizations were planning for growth and adopting strategies to expand their businesses. However, the Coronavirus has changed all that. As a result, many organizations find themselves in uncharted territory. They have been forced to rip up existing portfolios and playbooks and find themselves operating in crisis mode. Many businesses are only looking at the most immediate and urgent challenges. If you are familiar with Eisenhower’s time management matrix, then you will have seen projects and issues lurch wildly from being a high priority to low. In contrast, organizations are taking items re-evaluating plans that have suddenly become massively urgent!

Eisenhower matrix showing the repriotization of tasks

It looks like we’ll have to cancel the Symposium in Vegas this year!

UiPath Automation: mitigating the threat of Coronovirus to organizations

Many organizations have had Robotic Process Automation in the ‘Someday/maybe’ pile for some time now. Some will have seen it as something too technologically advanced. Others have found that other projects have taken priority. Robotic Process Automation takes the processes that are high volume and require a degree of accuracy and hands them over to bots to complete. Implementing RPA frees up people to focus on more valuable activities instead.

A recent report from The Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 502 executives from different industries to understand the state of automation within companies. The report shows that 73% of companies are ‘very’ or ‘entirely’ satisfied with the returns from automation to date. Such high levels of satisfaction are rare in the world of software delivery. Those of you who work with a focus on the ROI of software projects will understand why that figure is so impressive!

Organizations are facing multiple threats

Coronavirus has seen organizations facing multiple threats simultaneously. For instance, supply chains are threatened, whilst demand in many areas is collapsing. Conversely, organizations such as supermarkets and online retailers are experiencing unprecedented demand! What do these two examples have in common? What they have in common is that work profiles are varying wildly from traditional norms. Backlogs are building up in some teams, while other areas go idle.

People have always been the most precious resource organizations have. Therefore it is important to look for ways to help them during these difficult times. RPA can be used to bring relief to employees as attended, and unattended bots pick up some of the strain of keeping business processes and operations running.

RPA is helping organizations respond rapidly to the crisis

At HotPMO, we have seen organizations that already have RPA capability scaling up their automation capability to face some of the current challenges. Companies using UiPath, Pega, Blue Prism, and Automation Anywhere are rapidly automating more of their processes to respond quickly to the crisis. Here are just some of the ways that organizations are using RPA in these difficult times:

  • Bots are processing refunds, rescheduling live events, and issuing travel vouchers;
  • Bots are handling administrative tasks relating to furlough and sickness reporting;
  • Bots are helping small suppliers improve cashflow by accelerating payment processes and chasing late payments;
  • Bots are rapidly acknowledging customer complaints;
  • Bots are processing claims in the insurance sector;
  • Bots are ordering kits to enable employees to work from home.

How RPA is helping hospitals tackle Coronavirus

RPA is being used to help healthcare providers tackle the Coronavirus. In one example, a healthcare provider was using a mobile survey to complete the initial diagnosis for patients. The survey data had to be entered into two core platforms by a team of data entry specialists. Entering the data meant that Diagnoses predictions were produced rapidly based on the data. But the process was slow and took doctors and nurses away from working directly with patients. In an ideal world, there would be APIs allowing the platforms to talk to each other. However, these are not typical times. Healthcare providers are finding themselves making systems work at volumes outside of norms. In this example, the healthcare provider is working on automating the process to reduce the time it takes to predict a diagnosis while freeing up data entry specialists.

Another example of RPA being used to tackle Coronavirus is the use of UiPath at The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin. The hospital found that nurses were spending hours reporting results to the IPC (Infection Prevention and Control). Designed over 15 years ago, the process required nurses to log into one system, extract codes, open a VPN link to other systems, and manually enter data. At average volumes, the workload is manageable. But with the high amounts of COVID-19 cases, they have seen nurses spending more time than usual on data processing when they could otherwise be treating patients. Attended bots are being rolled out to nurses to accurately login, extract information, open a VPN connection, and enter the data for the IPC. Using Attended Bots in this way is proven to increase accuracy and massively accelerate processing times.

You can read further examples of how robots are being used against COVID19 here: https://www.uipath.com/blog/health-tracking-robots-battle-covid19.

Now is the time to automate

RPA can be rolled out rapidly, with hack and swarm approaches seeing RPA used to clear backlogs and process work in a matter of days. We can use rapid deployments to bring relief to employees and operational teams while starting to put frameworks in place for building strategic RPA capabilities in the future. This video from UiPath gives examples of how UiPath RPA is supporting people on the front lines fighting the Coronavirus – and shows how it can help your organization too.

HotPMO are Automation Specialists

HotPMO are automation specialists. We have deployed RPA rapidly to meet urgent business demands. Through their partner program, we are recognized by UiPath as experts in supporting and delivering RPA solutions that drive real transformational outcomes for customers.

If you want to explore the capabilities of UiPath and understand how your delivery organization could deploy RPA, contact a member of our team to arrange a personalized demo of the UiPath platform.

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