South African enterprises are increasingly looking to robotic process automation (RPA) to support business continuity as the Covid-19 pandemic threatens to disrupt operations.

Gavin Els, project manager at CFS Robotics, says interest is picking up fast among enterprises that had been slow to adopt RPA in the past. “There is growing interest and a lot of scope for growth, as businesses realise the pandemic impacts their human workforce and puts business continuity at risk,” he says.

CFS, part of the KID Group of companies, is an Automation Anywhere reseller and implementation partner. Els says Automation Anywhere’s unique AI-enabled IQ Bot, which intelligently processes documents in the cloud, is a particularly compelling offering for enterprises suddenly forced to field a remote workforce.

“We’re seeing banks, insurance companies, health and medical companies, and departments such as sales, admin and HR battling to process documents from home. They don’t all have scanners and printers at home, and they cannot work 24/7. So intelligent bots are being deployed to handle all of that without human intervention,” he says.

In sectors such as manufacturing, where staff numbers have been limited to avoid Covid-19 risk, bots are being deployed to PLC and SCADA systems to gather data, trigger alerts, support analytics and ensure smooth running of manufacturing lines.

“Part of the beauty of these AI enabled bots is that they don’t need hard coding,” says Els. “They simply record a process and mimic every step. Plus, over 650 prebuilt bots are available and ready to go, capable of taking over many of the most common enterprise processes, so coding may not be needed at all.”