How to be recession ready with intelligent automation

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Businesses of all sizes are gearing up for a recession. Contradictory as it may sound, now is actually the right time to accelerate digital transformation.

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

Investing in digital transformation will help companies weather a slowdown and address skill shortages. Businesses can also stay ahead of their competitors by cutting corners and slowing down digital transformation plans. A Harvard Business Review, which analyzed results across three recessions, found that those who have successfully made efficiencies and invested in the future are most likely to thrive after the downturn.

Short-sighted savings will cost you in the long run

Businesses are grappling with a looming recession, a tight labor market and ongoing supply chain disruptions. It may be counterintuitive, but cost-cutting measures in the face of such headwinds aren’t the answer.


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The pandemic has inadvertently shown us unprecedented innovations born out of necessity and spurred the adoption of digital technologies to meet consumer demands. This innovation also made it possible to skip R&D timelines to skip development of a vaccine in less than a year – a process that would normally have taken about 10 years from concept to approval.

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The looming economic downturn and growing skills gaps provide another opportunity to drive innovation. Accelerating digital transformation will help companies overcome the slowdown and address skill shortages.

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

Everything about automation

Digital transformation enables organizations to mitigate impact and foster agility and resilience, making future volatility easier to manage. The benefits of preparing for digital transformation are many – from productivity and efficiency gains to better supply chain management, customer experience, and resource visibility.

No-code automation platforms make it easy to retrain employees to use advanced automation technologies. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can then be used to automate time-consuming, repetitive, tedious, and often error-prone tasks. The combination of this advanced technology with artificial intelligence (AI) enables scalability and decision-making capabilities within business process automation. By automating these processes, employees have more time and access to valuable insights for creative endeavors to improve the customer experience and drive growth and revenue.

Even the implementation of a simple automation solution such as intelligent document processing is a strong step towards digitization. It has the potential to save tens of thousands of hours, including those spent on post-processing errors, and create immense value.

US companies spend a staggering $5.3 billion annually on manual document processing wages. By automating processes, resources can be reallocated to improve other key business objectives, such as customer and employee experiences.

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Common mistakes to avoid

Digital transformation is amazing and exciting, but only if done right. Companies get excited by all the wonders of digitization and plunge into implementing solutions. This is an easily avoidable obstacle.

Businesses need a well-thought-out digital transformation plan. This is often most successfully achieved with the right digital transformation partner who can help them design processes for automation, select the right solutions, integrate automation into their existing infrastructure and train/up-skill existing staff – or, if preferred, to maintain their new digital infrastructure on their behalf.

Expertise is another key differentiator, as a vendor with in-depth knowledge of specific sectors will understand pain points where automation will add the most value. Suppose a hedge fund wants to invest in more digitization. In this case, they want to work with a provider who is knowledgeable about processing in their sector and can perform tasks such as calculating net asset value.

Stakeholder support is key

Another common trap companies fall into is not investing in the cultural transformation required to make a digital transformation plan successful. To get the most out of automating business processes during a global talent shortage, you need to develop engaged employees with an aptitude for such training.

It would be helpful if you also educated all employees 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 resist, their chances of success decrease.

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It’s estimated that for every dollar they spend licensing an automation solution, companies spend five times more figuring out how to implement and scale it. This is an avoidable waste of resources, especially when many cannot afford it. All it takes is a well-developed strategy.

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

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

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