Why the robotic enterprise is the future

Digital transformation will continue to be one of the most talked about topics in the world of business for some time to come. And with adoption rates varying from company to company, it is difficult to predict how much longer we will be in the “transformation” period.

A new survey of IT decision-makers by Redwood Software and Sapio Research predicts that three-fifths (59 per cent) of business processes could be automated by 2022. It also found that more than two-thirds (70 per cent) report that robotics has become more important in the last 12 months and the vast majority (83 per cent) believe they are an “essential or a key part” of their digital transformation strategy.

Worryingly for UK plc, though, is that the report identified a clear gap in the acceptance of robotics between the US and the UK with the former showing greater adoption and prioritisation of them. One third (32 per cent) of US respondents say robotics are a “top priority” for them compared with less than one fifth (19 per cent) in the UK. Almost four-fifths (78 per cent) of US IT decision-makers said they had become “more of a priority” in the last 12 months compared with three-fifths (62 per cent) in the UK.

Dennis Walsh, president of Americas and Asia-Pacific at Redwood Software, reckons that there is no question that the US is currently the world leader in robotics automation. “From heavy manufacturing to retail giants to tech innovators, the US has implemented automation solution and is seeking others,” he says. “While the UK has shown an openness to adopt the same automation mindset, it still lags [behind] the US. Post-Brexit, UK companies may need to up their game in automation in order to remain competitive with their US, European and global competitors.”

Redwood was founded in 1993 with the single mission of helping organisations achieve “The Robotic Enterprise” and deliver a 100 per cent robotised organisation which sees all processes such as order-to-cash, procure-to-pay, human capital, supply chain and others automated by robots. People will only be involved in the processes where “advanced judgment and analysis” is required.

According to Redwood, robotics has proven the best way to improve process efficiencies and quality while “freeing up budget and redirecting resources to be utilised where it delivers real impact to the business”.


While the visionary company may have been viewed as ahead of its time when it launched, the research suggests that even today some UK business leaders still don’t have automation as high up the corporate agenda as they should. Encouragingly, the research finds that 90 per cent feel senior management recognises the opportunity that robotics bring but what of the top tier?

Walsh says that as C-level executives look to transform their business into “truly digital operations”, they will increasingly look to the IT team to provide “insight, clarity and guidance” into company-wide automation. He is, of course, correct but they must also take a proactive approach and communicate the importance of automation to all levels of the workforce.

Thanks to developments such as software-as-a-service (SaaS), the cloud and BYOD, IT is no longer the silo it once was in organisations. But with automation touching almost every part of the business, all departments and the C-suite must invest time in truly understanding what it means for them in both the bigger picture as well as day-to-day operations. To remain competitive, UK leaders must make automation their priority. Leaders probably have the greatest opportunity in their working lives/careers to make efficiency improvements in all aspects of the business, so don’t squander it. 


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