How to be recession ready with intelligent automation

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Businesses of all sizes are preparing for a recession. Still, counterintuitive as it may sound, the time is actually right to accelerate digital transformation.

Historically, an economic downturn is a boon for innovation. According to Morgan Stanley, about half of the Fortune 500 companies were founded in times of recession or economic crisis.

Investing in digital transformation will help companies weather the slowdown and address talent shortages. Organizations can also get ahead of their competitors by cutting corners and slowing down digital transformation plans. A Harvard business review that looked at the results of three recessions found that those most likely to prosper after the recession were those who made efficiency improvements and invested in the future.

Myopic savings will cost you in the long run

Businesses are dealing with a looming recession, a tight job market, and continued supply chain disruptions. It may be counterintuitive, but cost-cutting measures in the face of such headwinds are not the answer.


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Without realizing it, the pandemic showed us unprecedented innovation born out of necessity and spurred the adoption of digital technologies to meet consumer demands. This innovation also allowed R&D timelines to advance the development of a vaccine by less than a year, a process that would normally have taken about 10 years from concept to approval.

The looming economic downturn and widening skills gaps present another opportunity to drive innovation. Accelerating digital transformation will help companies weather the slowdown and address talent shortages.

Companies are expected to invest a total of $3.4 trillion to fund their digital transformation strategies by 2026. And those best positioned to meet changing consumer needs and embrace innovation are taking advantage of intelligent automation.

Everything in automation

Digital transformation enables companies to mitigate the consequences and foster agility and resilience, making future volatility easier to bear. The benefits of preparing for digital transformation are manifold, from productivity and efficiency gains to better supply chain management, customer experience, and visibility into resources.

No-code automation platforms ease the burden of retraining employees to use advanced automation technologies. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can be used to automate tasks that are time-consuming, repetitive, painstaking, and often error-prone. Combining this advanced technology with artificial intelligence (AI) enables scalability and decision-making capabilities within business process automation. By automating these processes, workers have more time and access to invaluable information for creative efforts to improve the customer experience and promote growth and revenue.

Even implementing a simple automation solution like Intelligent Document Processing is a big step towards digitization. It has the potential to save tens of thousands of hours, including those spent fixing bugs, and create immense value.

Businesses in the US spend a staggering $5.3 billion a year in wages for manual document processing. By automating processes, resources can be redirected to improve other key business objectives, such as the customer and employee experience.

Common mistakes to avoid

Digital transformation is amazing and exciting, but only if it’s done right. Companies are convinced of all the wonders of digitization and rush to implement solutions. This is an easily avoidable obstacle.

Businesses need a well-considered digital transformation plan. This is often most successfully achieved with the right digital transformation partner who can help you extract processes for automation, select the right solutions, integrate automation into your existing infrastructure, and train/upskill existing workers or, if you prefer, keep your new digital infrastructure on your behalf

Subject matter expertise is another key differentiator because a vendor that offers in-depth knowledge of specific industries will understand the pain points where automation will add the most value. For example, suppose a hedge fund is looking to invest in more digitization. In that case, they’ll want to partner with a provider who understands processing in their industry and can perform tasks like NAV calculations.

Stakeholder support is key

Another common trap that companies fall into is not investing in the cultural transformation necessary for any digital transformation plan to be successful. To get the most out of business process automation during a global talent shortage, you need to upskill committed workers with skills for such training.

It would be helpful if you also educated all workers on the purpose of a digitization plan. Why should they care? How will they benefit? These are key questions; if your employees don’t know the answers, you’re already setting your plan up for failure. Workers play an important role in overseeing the implementation of digitization; if they feel antagonistic about it, their chances of success decrease.

Estimates suggest that for every dollar companies spend licensing an automation solution, they spend five times as much trying to figure out how to implement and scale. This is an avoidable waste of resources, especially when many cannot afford it. All it takes is a well-developed strategy.

Doubling down on investment in intelligent automation will help companies weather tough times. The power of advanced automation technologies is that they improve efficiency and free up resources for innovation and investment in human capital, paving the way for long-term success.

Colin Redbond is SVP Global Product and Strategy at SS&C Blue Prism

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