SINGAPORE – August 13, 2020 – Delivering fresh insights into the future of work, Blue Prism (AIM: PRSM), a global leader in intelligent automation, today released Singapore findings from its annual survey report titled “The Impact of a Digital Workforce on Business Agility and Survival”. The report reveals that while business leaders in Singapore understand the importance and benefits of adopting robotic process automation (RPA) to thrive in the current tumultuous environment, more can be done to communicate RPA strategies to employees and help them understand how this will improve their work lives. It also found that most business leaders struggle when looking to scale RPA-enabled digital workforce programmes throughout the organisation to achieve greater ROI.
Currently, while 78 percent of local business leaders believe that their employees would trust working alongside a digital workforce, 44 percent of local knowledge workers indicated that they worry about related job losses in the next three years, despite becoming more comfortable with RPA. Seventy-three percent of local business leaders also believe that their employees appreciate the opportunities that RPA and / or automation will provide. However, this is an overestimation as a relatively smaller percentage of local knowledge workers (65 percent) are equally excited about these opportunities.
“RPA is not about cutting people out of the loop. It is about improving time-consuming processes and tasks, thereby freeing humans to pursue higher-value work within the organisation,” said Bill Taylor-Mountford, Vice President, ASEAN and Korea, Blue Prism. ”These survey results highlight a growing acknowledgement – from employees and business leaders alike, regarding RPA’s ability to enhance how we work and compete. At the same time, there is a need for a strategic roadmap that defines the type of work humans should do versus their complementary digital counterparts, and a clear communication plan to engage employees, rather than leave uncertainty and imagination to fill in the blanks about the fate of their jobs.”
The Singapore findings are based on research conducted with 355 local knowledge workers and senior IT business leaders. These findings are part of a global research study that surveyed more than 6,700 knowledge workers and senior IT business leaders across 13 countries. In addition, the findings highlight major trends that are driving the need for more extensive digital workforce programmes.
Productivity Issues that Precede the COVID-19 Pandemic
Global productivity growth has stagnated at one-tenth of what it was 40 years ago for some economies. In Singapore, despite productivity growing by 2.4 percent annually for each worker over the last 10 years, local knowledge workers are finding that they have more work than they can handle.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, 54 percent of local knowledge workers indicated that they were struggling with workload demands. This sentiment was shared by majority (53 percent) of local business leaders, who felt they were struggling to meet customer demands. Seventy percent of local business leaders also felt that too much time was being spent on administrative tasks.
Futureproofing and Accelerating Post-COVID-19 Recovery
With the pandemic introducing further challenges like unavailable employees due to quarantines or sick leave, reduced customer demand and disrupted business operations, organisations are looking to RPA for more than just productivity gains, as they prioritise business continuity and recovery.
Seventy-nine percent of local business leaders believe that RPA and / or automation offers more to the business than just time and cost savings, and that it is essential for their organisation to remain competitive. They also believe that RPA is a catalyst for digital transformation (92 percent) and plan to extend its use across their organisations (92 percent).
Effectively Scaling Digital Workforce Programmes
Those surveyed in Singapore generally agree that RPA has a positive impact on work, business agility and resilience. However, local business leaders find it difficult to advance from automating a few processes in a single department to scaling a digital workforce that benefits the entire organisation. Almost three quarters of local business leaders believe that despite them understanding the benefits of RPA and rolling it out to a degree, they are struggling to apply it further (73 percent) and feel more thought needs to be put into its application (71 percent).
“To address this, it is imperative that a fully functional Centre of Excellence (CoE) is created to coordinate the right skills in the company and ensure that its technology team is well equipped. Firms that succeed in this respect often partner with external experts that collaborate with internal teams to plan, re-organise, implement, scale, and measure the success of organisation-wide digital workforce programmes,” said Taylor-Mountford.
The positive impact of a digital workforce programme also cannot be realised without comprehensive internal support. Businesses must ensure that their employees are properly prepared to face a change in the way they work. Otherwise, they risk missing out on making real progress. To address this, 83 percent of local organisations surveyed are providing learning opportunities for new skills / qualifications when they introduce technologies that will result in the redesign of their knowledge workers’ jobs.
These results highlight RPA’s potential to be used as a platform – and not merely a productivity tool, to give local organisations access to end-to-end intelligent automation solutions that cover all IT environments – on-premises, cloud, hybrid, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
“As Singapore looks to restructure, digitise, and transform its economy to accelerate post-pandemic recovery, intelligent automation is more important than ever in helping organisations create and enhance jobs, save time and costs, improve work quality, and make them more innovative, resilient and competitive. At Blue Prism, we are dedicated to supporting local firms, by delivering interoperable, enterprise-grade technology that frees people to create and train a digital workforce to mimic a human, scale as demand increases, and swarm to tasks according to business priority, making the vision of a digital workforce for every enterprise a reality,” said Taylor-Mountford.
Blue Prism’s leading Robotic Operating Model (ROM®) implementation methodology is proven to help users quickly identify, build, develop, and automate enterprise-grade processes at scale. Positioned as a Leader in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for RPA, the company continues to push flexibility and choice for organisations through innovations like Blue Prism Digital Exchange 2.0, Decipher IDP v6.8 and Blue Prism Cloud.
To access the full report findings and insights for Singapore, please click here.
About the Report:
The research was commissioned by Blue Prism and conducted by independent research firm Sapio. Respondents include 1,725 global business leaders (those with a final say over budget spend of technology implementations) in the UK (202), US (402), Japan (106), India (101) Australia (106), Germany (101), Singapore (100), France (100), Sweden (103), United Arab Emirates (103), Russia (100), China (100) and South Africa (101). A further 5,063 knowledge workers (workers whose main capital is knowledge, whose job is to “think for a living” and who have access to technology as part of their day-to-day jobs) were surveyed in the UK (510), US (1023), Japan (250), India (503) Australia (250), Germany (253), Singapore (255), France (251), Sweden (250), United Arab Emirates (250), Russia (507), China (599) and South Africa (250).All respondents worked in organisations with more than 250 employees. In addition, the respondents worked in companies in which automation had already been adopted. All interviews were conducted online during March 2020
 A digital workforce is a scalable team of intelligent software robots that works alongside human employees (or knowledge workers) to accomplish repeated processes, so that humans can focus on more value-adding tasks.
 A knowledge worker is an employee whose job involves handling or using information. This includes white collar workers.
 Strategies for an Inclusive Society. Straight Talk with PAP. 7 July 2020.
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