Adopt lower cost and higher efficiency tech

Sunil Rajguru
New Update

Increased automation will allow complex systems to function with minimal human intervention at times of crisis like COVID-19. Innovative tools like bots and the man-machine combination will help them serve customers effectively with lesser worker time, explains Manish Bharti, President, UiPath India and SAARC.

How are you coping with the current COVID-19 crisis? What are your tips for enterprises?


We continue to wrestle with the challenges of COVID-19 and navigate through these fast-changing times with the safety and well-being of our employees remaining our priority. Keeping this in mind, we at UiPath have mandated work from home for all our employees till mid-June. All our events, across the globe, also stand cancelled, and we have strongly urged our employees to practice social distancing. In addition to this, we have set up a task force that is constantly monitoring the situation and taking all the required steps to protect the health and safety of our employees across all regions. As a part of this program, we have an internal slack channel on COVID-19 announcements, which also includes the latest updates around business, health and travel advisories.

In the wake of this crisis, we have also been exploring how we can also support the world. We recognize we have a unique opportunity to offer technology that can assist organizations and governments. In line with this, we have developed bots to help organizations monitor employee health, Governments track potential COVID-19 cases and healthcare providers reduce the wait times for testing and results of COVID-19. We have several use cases across verticals to support companies in managing the economic impact of this crisis. We ourselves have started using these bots to keep a close track of our employees’ health.

Going forward, I would encourage businesses to adopt lower cost and higher efficiency technologies. This would equip them to not only survive but also keep their workforce secure. Increased automation will allow complex systems to function with minimal human intervention at times of crisis like Covid-19. Innovative tools like bots, increased connectivity and the man-machine combination will also help them serve customers effectively with lesser worker time and reduced operational expenses.


What changes do you see taking place in technology in a post-COVID-19 world?

With lockdowns declared across countries, employees are working remotely by staying online. These remote working protocols will continue to be a dominant trend. Social distancing norms would ensure that remote working measures around the world will provide the impetus for enterprises to lean heavily towards automation.

With COVID-19, digital has gotten a real push. And, while digitization was already an ongoing trend, it is now a priority for every organization—even the brick and mortar companies. Investments in enabling technologies such as cloud computing, data and cybersecurity along with emerging technologies such as RPA, AI will definitely see a rise.


Intelligent automation will rise and be accelerated by a combination of factors such as talent availability, process-first approach, and setting up of dedicated automation COEs. Automation will also become the key for enterprises to ensure that business continuity is maintained.

Specifically, how will RPA evolve beyond 2020?

As I mentioned, remote working protocols will continue to be a dominant trend and social distancing norms push companies towards automation. Additionally, existing technology trends will be accelerated from sheer economic necessity even as new trends emerge. These rapid changes will include the acceleration of enterprise digital transformation and the automation of work.

Many will assess the power of cognitive RPA in managing work with highly dispersed workforces and all customer engagements with a fresh perspective. There will be a large focus on how to properly position and prepare themselves for the future. This will push the CIOs to closely evaluate the benefits of intelligent automation and the processes that can be automated to fine tune their ensuing strategies.


In fact, in partnership with Zinnov, we recently did a joint study on how hyper intelligent automation will be adopted by large enterprises in India. According to the report, two-third of the large enterprises in India have already invested in HIA and more than 30% are already setting up HIA specific COEs. Additionally, Indian enterprises, specifically healthcare, BFSI, and the public sector will continue to leverage automation in their fight against COVID-19 to maintain business continuity.

While, automation is now being explored across verticals such as manufacturing, retail, telecom and media, etc. governments too are turning their focus to it to manage the crisis. Organizations that have already commenced automation journeys are now choosing to scale while those that were not yet on this bandwagon are keen to adopt automation and other technological trends.

With talks of no-touch/remote/people-less technologies, how can RPA help in workflows during such lockdowns and after?


Businesses are looking to optimize their IT strategies to ensure seamless workflows. Organizations are resorting to automation to alleviate hurdles from their business continuity plans. For example, in Insurance, there is an increase in the number of queries for claims, benefits withdrawals, retirals or policy cancellation. In banking, there has been a surge in queries due to reduction in branch footfall and government announcements like deferrals, loan payment holidays and tax filing extensions. All this results in an increased workload for the contact centres. With RPA, tasks such as data extraction, making system entries, creating requests and preparing a report extract can be easily taken care of in an automated people-less manner, giving the contact centre agent more time to deal with work that requires human interference.

And as we move forward, there are new automation use cases being identified every day such as remote account opening by banks, order management of PPE, employee onboarding bot, WFH IT support through incident management and attendance and meeting scheduler bots.

Do you have any examples of how your customers used RPA differently after the current crisis happened?

With the COVID-19 crisis, healthcare providers, Governments, and companies have been facing serious challenges to manage employee health, patient health, new cases and business continuity. Given the steep incline of cases and the lockdown, managing the sheer load of work and processing the same, are areas that organizations need help with. By using RPA, companies and the Government are solving these challenges by bringing agility to their operations and give some relief to their overburdened teams.


In fact, we have already worked with three state governments and are working with 3-4 more states to help collate the statewide data of people quarantined. The State Health Department has to maintain information regarding the inbound travelers in the last two-three months or the first level contacts of the COVID positive people. This needs to be updated regularly on a dedicated portal. The comprehensive data updation is time consuming and demands lots of manual effort, considering the number of people being quarantined in each state. The states have deployed RPA bots to pick up data from the statewide response sheets and update the comprehensive records of quarantined people.

This helps the state to relieve the teams engaged to carry out this activity and healthcare bodies to get visibility of quarantined people data in the fastest time possible; thereby, enabling them to plan their actions in a more agile way.

In addition to this, the state control center also sends important regular updates and communication to state leadership on a user-friendly channel such as WhatsApp or email using bots.

Multiple organizations are also effectively using RPA in the background of the COVID crisis. Recently, Sterlite Technologies leveraged RPA to process the salaries of their employees in due time and timely invoicing and payments to their stakeholders for all critical projects. Another example is Shree Malani Foams, a manufacturing company for polyurethane foam, implemented RPA to help manage functions like eway bill, order management and customs documentation. This helped the company to work in a command centre set up with a central team managing important work and resulted in a seamless work from home experience for its employees.

We are not only witnessing an increase in the adoption of automation in real time, but also seeing new use-cases developed daily, and more organizations and sectors turn towards automation with seriousness and intent.

automation covid-19 rpa