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RODERICK CARMODY: I'm Roderick Carmody, and in this episode, our topic is why are we seeing a surge in demand for RPA?
I'm joined today by Niraj Chatwal, a Director in CrossCountry's Intelligent Automation practice where he focuses on helping clients adopt and scale robotic process automation, otherwise known as RPA.
Hey, Niraj. Thanks for joining me.
NIRAJ CHATWAL: Thank you, Roderick. Good to be here.
RODERICK CARMODY: Niraj, to be honest, I haven't seen you in a button down in weeks. You look good.
NIRAJ CHATWAL: I'm glad to see at least one of my dress shirts still fits.
RODERICK CARMODY: Sounds good. Niraj, excited to talk to you today about RPA, and maybe to get things started, from your perspective, maybe we could start out with an overview - a quick overview of RPA, and some examples of where RPA is being deployed.
NIRAJ CHATWAL: Sure. RPA is a low code automation technology that quickly configures a robot to mimic the actions of a human, that executes a series of business rules. Robots significantly increase efficiency, accuracy, and compliance, all while reducing cost. We're seeing RPA being used in just about every industry, and within just about every function, such as finance and accounting, HR, IT, internal audit, and so on.
RODERICK CARMODY: That's great. You know, given the current economic environment and obviously, cash flow is tight, are companies still thinking about RPA?
NIRAJ CHATWAL: Absolutely. As a matter of fact, we've seen an increase in demand for RPA. Beyond the ROI and benefits that RPA has been consistently delivering, companies are using RPA to ensure business continuity. In this new age of remote and virtual working, it has become increasingly difficult to ensure processes are completed on time: books still need to be closed, invoices still need to be processed, and controls still need to be checked; people are challenged with family obligations and Internet connectivity from working from home. I know in between my meetings, I've been trying to brush up on my third grade math, while also breaking up a few fights up. The nice thing is, the bots provide that continuity. Plus, they don't take bathroom breaks or lunch breaks, so they can continuously operate 24/7.
Also, we're seeing many companies look at this strategically to prepare for the next disruption or pandemic. When we see scientists talk about another wave later this year, there's even more of an urgency to not only adopt RPA, but to focus on business critical processes to minimize the disruption.
RODERICK CARMODY: Great. That's really helpful. Typically how long does it take a client to implement RPA? And how quickly can they start to see benefits?
NIRAJ CHATWAL: Good question. RPA can be implemented in a matter of weeks, not months. RPA is best delivered in iterative and agile methods, so clients can achieve benefits quickly. The licenses are not very expensive either, and we're there to help clients jump-start their program. Even some recent reports have shown that a small increase in productivity can result in a significant increase in profits.
RODERICK CARMODY: And I'm sure our CFO clients love seeing that. I've also heard, recently, about terms such as insourcing or reshoring. Could you explain that, and how does that play to RPA?
NIRAJ CHATWAL: Sure. Firms that have previously outsourced or offshored manual, repetitive back-office functions are now looking to leverage RPA to insource and reshore work, all without adding headcount. The pandemic has created an impact to the global workforce, and there's business disruptions happening everywhere. SLAs are getting missed.
Furthermore, the unfortunate impact has caused companies to furlough or layoff employees, but the work still needs to be processed. And this is where RPA becomes that digital worker, and can do it better, faster, and cheaper. If you really want to, you may be able to program it to process third grade math homework.
RODERICK CARMODY: So Niraj, it may seem counter intuitive to invest in a new technology project in the current environment. But, if you had to sum it up, why do you think companies are making the investment now?
NIRAJ CHATWAL: We were already on pace to see broad adoption and scaling of RPA prior to the pandemic, but it's just that we're now seeing an increased focus on cost transformation in business resiliency. This is where RPA can provide a low cost, quick solution to address both of those. More importantly, the current crisis has created a spotlight on accelerating digital transformation, where firms that adopt disruptive technologies now will be better positioned to emerge stronger.
RODERICK CARMODY: Excellent. Niraj, thank you so much for your time today. We really do appreciate it.
NIRAJ CHATWAL: Thank you, Roderick.