25 May 2017
Robotic Process Automation and its fit in productivity in SMEs
Question (Q): Could you share with us how CFB Bots came to be?
Answer (A): CFB Bots was launched to help organisations, including SMEs, leverage the power of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology to improve productivity and to empower their employees to pursue more meaningful, differentiated work. This is in line with the recommendations made by the Committee on the Future Economy on helping SMEs adopt digital technologies and build strong digital capabilities.
Q: What drove the decision to start CFB Bots?
A: There were several factors behind our decision to start CFB Bots. Firstly, the Future of Work is rapidly evolving. The workplace of the future will be a digital office with division of labour between humans and bots. Coupled with the blossoming of Artificial Intelligence techniques such as deep learning, bots will play an increasingly prominent role in our daily work. CFB Bots strives to be at the fore-front of this development.
Secondly, we are fast approaching the inflexion point for digital transformation. Organisations whose business models are not yet digital-ready and future-proof are likely to fade into irrelevance. Already, we have seen the destructive effects across many industries such as media. We believe RPA is an important tool in any organisation’s arsenal to tackle digital transformation.
Thirdly, we are cognizant of the fact that manpower challenges remain the biggest bugbear of businesses. These include rising labour costs, tightening manpower rules and regulations, as well as difficulty in attracting and retaining workers, especially millennials. Technologies like RPA can help organisations overcome these challenges, and to thrive and prosper in the VUCA economy.
Lastly, there is a dearth of service providers with the necessary expertise and experience in RPA to meet this market demand. CFB Bots was hence launched to address this market gap.
Q: Can you tell us about the products and services that your company offers?
A: CFB Bots is a one-stop solution provider for our customers’ Robotic Process Automation (RPA) needs. This includes both the RPA software as well as implementation services. We have established a RPA Centre of Excellence to guide our customers through their entire RPA journey from Process Selection and Business Case Generation, to Best Practices and Governance.
Q: Automation and productivity are buzz words these days. How does Robotic Process Automation fit in?
A: At its core, RPA helps organisations to automate administrative or clerical tasks such as data entry. Our software bots can perform these mundane, repetitive tasks in a cheaper, faster, better manner. By leveraging this technology, organisations can improve their productivity by up to 24 times while reducing their manpower cost by up to 67%.
Q: Why the specific interest in SMEs?
A: SMEs form a critical part of our economy. To give some perspective, there are approximately 188,000 SMEs in Singapore employing around two-thirds of our workforce. Yet, we feel that much more can be done to help our SMEs to, among others, raise productivity, move up the value creation curve and transform their business digitally. Hence our company’s mandate is to enable automation for all.
Q: Please tell us more about your new product, idealworkr™
A: idealworkr™ is our digital workforce solution that has been designed to help organisations reduce operating costs and improve productivity. It encompasses a suite of software bots that help to automate the common tasks across various business functions including HR, Supply Chain, Finance, Accounting and IT.
For example, we have a HR bot that helps with the recruitment process. After a one-time job creation template has been completed, the bot will automatically create the job postings on the various online job portals. As a result, HR executives are now freed of time-consuming data entry tasks, and can concentrate instead on the more critical aspect of human capital development and talent management. [PS: J&J has been rebranded as idealworkr™]
Q: What gave you the idea for your new product?
A: We have been very lucky in the sense that our clients are very generous in sharing their business challenges, as well as being receptive to exploring new ideas. As a result, we were able to validate our business ideas with them prior to the launch of idealworkr™.
Q: Were there any challenges when developing the product? How did you overcome them?
A: The biggest challenge we faced was to develop a product that meets our customers’ requirements. This meant that there were many iterative cycles where we built the features and solicited feedback.
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