In the age of digital optimisation, it’s no surprise that businesses are always on the lookout for ways to tighten up their operations, streamline processes and improve efficiency, both in terms of time and money. Robotic process automation (RPA) is one of the key technologies that has risen to meet this demand and as the bedrock of all digitised operations in your company, it’s logical that the IT department should be one of the first to embrace this new innovation.
Unfortunately, the reality doesn’t always live up to the ideal. Many executives looking to implement RPA into their everyday processes have found push-back from IT directors; in fact, according to a 2017 report from Deloitte UK, only 31% of 400 surveyed companies reported favourable support for RPA from IT. Why the resistance? In theory, the two should go hand-in-hand, but as with all things human, in practice things can be a little trickier. Here are three reasons why your IT department opposes RPA.
1. Fear of Job Loss
There is genuine concern among some IT workers that a robot workforce may supplant them. By automating monotonous but integral processes, a company will certainly simplify operations – but IT professionals can fear it may make them redundant. In reality, the processes which are apt for automation are themselves the redundant ones, and by integrating RPA to take care of them, the specialists can be freed up to tackle more challenging and subjective tasks. There’s also scope for IT experts to move into the field of robotics, as well.
2. Distraction from Workload
IT staff are often stretched thin at the best of times. It shouldn’t come as a shock that micro-managing all digital aspects of the company – from paying the utilities on time and keeping your systems bug-free to sending off invoices and tweaking business processes for development and progression – is a time-consuming affair. Many IT departments see RPA as an unnecessary distraction that simply keeps them from more important tasks at hand.
3. Substantial Upheaval
Of course, the truth of the matter is that RPA will assist with these tasks, not distract from them, but there is undoubtedly a bedding-in period during which the IT department will be forced to re-evaluate existing processes, making minor adjustments to some and starting others completely afresh. This sort of upheaval is a daunting prospect to many, offering the promise not of a reduced workload in the long term, but a vastly increased one in the short.
Unlike computers and robots, we humans are simple creatures and at heart, many of us have an innate aversion to change. This is true of almost all walks of life and the workplace is no different, so convincing IT staff that RPA represents change for the good rather than the laborious or the long-winded should be a key priority. Because regardless of whether your team resists the winds of change or rolls with them, they’ll keep blowing all the same.
A Force to be Reckoned With
The benefits of harnessing the power of RPA could be incredible. According to the aforementioned study from Deloitte UK, around 20% of full-time employment duties could be furnished by robots, which could have huge time- and money-saving repercussions for a company that is not afraid to take the leap. The IT department can facilitate this transition more than any other, so bringing them onside is key to its success.
Two of the objections mentioned above – fear of job loss and fear of change – are really just fears of the unknown. With the proper employee education and training, RPA can be integrated into all facets of your business, including IT, with the minimum of disruption. Notwithstanding some initial teething problems that the IT department may have, RPA is the way forward for the forward-thinking business. Harness its power today to reap the benefits tomorrow.