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ABeam Consulting sees potential for RPA for businesses


While the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) becomes a rising trend of digital labor, the technology has a huge potential for businesses in Thailand with only 13% have already implemented RPA in their business, the highest RPA adoption industries are banking and insurance and more business sectors are interested in using RPA, according to internal survey by ABeam Consulting (Thailand), Japanese based leading consulting firm.

Mr. Ichiro Hara, Managing Director of ABeam Consulting (Thailand) Ltd., a subsidiary of ABeam Consulting Ltd., a global consulting company headquartered in Japan that specializes in digital transformation, disclosed that RPA has been used in rule-based automation which is not fully digital labor though, it is a global rising trend. The technology keeps on evolving through a combination of Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence, making it smarter and will be available in the market soon.

ABeam conducts an internal research on the current situation of RPA in Thailand by reaching out to large corporations (SET100, multinational corporations) to discuss their interests for RPA. We found that 66% of companies (Group 1) we talked to does not know RPA or heard the name but does not know what it can do, while 21% (Group 2) said they are considering RPA but not clear about its real benefits. Only 13% (Group 3) already implemented and have been utilizing RPA within an organization.

We also found that companies that are interested in using RPA have different challenges. For group 1, they could not find the right owner to take an initiative. Group 2 does not know the suitable approach to start the project, has difficulty to calculate the return on investment (ROI), and faces with user’s resistance. The last group is struggling to scale up, aligning with business changes, and achieving target ROI.

“RPA’s benefits can be maximized if the businesses have standard process, the consistency and governance to help controlling and simplify scaling up” Mr. Hara, who added that the RPA can be bundled with business process reengineering (BPR) and business process improvement (BPI) for the excellent operation.

Mr. Hara said the highest RPA adoption sectors are banking and insurance, with 70% and 60% respectively. Manufacturing, services, energy, food beverage sectors are interested to use the RPA. Currently, reporting, system interface, and data input are the top activities of RPA using in Thailand with top functions are finance and accounting.

RPA an automation software for manual tasks serving the businesses with fast development and deployment with low cost of investment and quick ROI — is suitable for typical jobs that consume working time of employees, rules driven tasks, repetitive or high work loaded tasks as well as the jobs that are prone to human mistakes.

Robotic opportunities that can serve the business functions include internal IT system such as data entry, email and data search with specific logic by simulating data and reporting, data checking or matching. Digital labor can serve data transfer between IT system to external system such as web banking application or integrating among group of companies, web data extraction such as competitor research, stock pricing check.

Mr. Hara said to achieve the efficient RPA deployment, the businesses need to do the assessment ROI and other benefits beforehand. The businesses should not aim to replace human tasks with 100% automation process as it will lead to high implementation costs and timeline, and human can perform some tasks more efficiently.

To help the RPA adoption in business, ABeam provides a fast proof of concept (PoC) through development of a few robots in real business operation to measure RPA effectiveness within 8 weeks. The PoC allows the business to measure actual benefits and create opportunities as well as detect technical issues with minimum cost.

ABeam has implemented more than 5,000 RPA robots in more than 200 companies globally, primary in Asia, North America and Europe. In Thailand, the company houses 20 proficient experts, conducting RPA projects with over 15 clients.

For instance, ABeam helped a client in a cosmetics business, housing over 100 brands countrywide, managing its best seller items within one night comparing to few weeks by human through the use of robots for stock analysis and sales forecast, as well as invoice processing, international logistic firms. The client also adopts the RPA to run custom clearance documentation automatically.