“Disruption is the new normal.” Is this an overstatement? Probably not. The fourth industrial revolution is witnessing an astronomical rise of emerging technologies,( AI, Blockchain, Machine Learning, IoT) which has forced businesses to rethink their business models to stay ahead of the curve. As enterprises embark on the digital transformation journey, they feel the need to embrace a culture of creating change that will enable their workforce to be productive and amplify their potential.
Automation, as an enabler, is empowering the digital workforce to unlock their potential and creative thinking. Today, Robotic process automation(RPA) has become the world’s most widely deployed intelligent digital workforce platform for a variety of businesses across domains. “RPA applications can save time and money,” says Gerald Stevens, Vice President, Gartner. “Additionally, they can free up procurement to partner with the business, collaborate and innovate with suppliers, surface emerging risks, or provide other value-added activities.”
Business leaders have begun to realize the positives of applying robotic solutions to automate their procurement processes. The adoption of RPA, however, stands at a paltry 8 %. Gartner’s January 2019 research report found that 65% of shared services centers, 49% of accounting departments and 34% of tax departments are in the early stages of RPA implementation.
“As companies seek to exploit the benefits of greater levels of digitalization, new and innovative technologies, such as blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning, can potentially and significantly disrupt existing supply chain operating models,” says Christian Titze, VP Analyst, Gartner. Gartner has highlighted eight top strategic supply chain technologies with a potential of industry-wide impact. RPA and Blockchain feature in the coveted list of eight technologies that are breaching the threshold of maturity and capability.
Can blockchain help in RPA’s adoption? The answer lies in which aspect of the distributed ledger technology you would like to adopt for improving the procurement or supply chain process. Immutability and provenance are two key aspects of blockchain which can be used to sanitize unstructured data across the supply chain. Cognitive automation can work efficiently only when the data which is being fed to it is accurate.
Blockchain and RPA together can be used to improve secured automation, audit and compliance management. Businesses can no longer hope to derive benefits by using technologies in silos. Sustainable business models can be created when you embrace emerging technologies holistically.