The past three years have been tough for businesses in the oil and gas industry. In February 2016, oil prices crashed to historic lows, and companies across the value chain slashed their workforces to try and secure margin. Businesses that made it through this torrid time now face a market that remains sluggish. Meanwhile, continuing geopolitical upheaval makes price volatility an ongoing concern. Efficiency and value optimization therefore remain right at the top of the agenda for oil and gas businesses.
It’s for this reason that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is garnering such interest. Through the technology, oil and gas businesses can automate tedious, monotonous and repetitive tasks, thereby freeing human talent to work on more valuable projects. Moreover, as business starts to get better, oil and gas companies will be cautious about bringing on new talent to service merely transactional processes–particularly if these can be done better by a machine. RPA promises to help such businesses grow cost-effectively.
However, the benefits of RPA are not guaranteed. In this video, I explain exactly what RPA is, and how businesses can ensure the technology delivers for them.
An introduction to RPA
As oil and gas companies set about building their business cases for RPA, value is going to prove equally, if not more, important than efficiency. Already, forward-looking businesses in oil and gas are asking how RPA can improve the customer experience and generate more revenue for the company. As I explain here, a successful business case will go beyond efficiency benefits and spell out how RPA can enable business transformation.
Why is a business case key before implementing RPA
One of the things that I’m often asked about RPA is how bots can be used to make a specific business process more efficient. This way of thinking is wrong; it’s like putting the cart before the horse. Before looking at RPA, businesses should first look to optimize their entire business processes with automation in mind. So, instead of having lots of inefficient "point-solution" bots to lots of different business process, you can plan a unified RPA strategy where automation can harmonize business processes. You can find out more about what I mean here:
Why optimize a business process before implementing RPA
RPA is an incredible technology and many people want to jump on the bus because it’s fast to implement. However, RPA will only deliver for the business if it’s underpinned by a robust business plan that weighs value against the total cost of ownership. For those that can get RPA right, however, the benefits will be significant.