Kathy Gibson reports from the Roboteur launch in Johannesburg – Companies across the globe are under pressure to create new working models and are increasingly looking to robotic process automation (RPA) to help them gain business value quickly and cost-effectively.

Australia-based Avec Global was looking for a compelling, uncomplicated and affordable RPA solution – and found it with SpacePencil’s Roboteur.

The company and solution align with Avec’s own philosophy, says MD Dennis Grant.

“Avec was established in 2007 largely out of frustration with the costly big global consulting house and concerns about the lack of scale of the small local providers. We believed there was a way to deliver IT projects in a better and more responsive way.

“Today this holds true more than ever as we have seen, with the large consultancies become bigger and the independent local consulting landscape becoming increasingly marginalised.

“One can draw so many comparisons here with the RPA market, with the one that stands out being a need to keep the business honest.”

The RPA market is currently dominated by a handful of vendors, Grant adds. “We found these solutions to be costly, complicated, very technology-centric and often out of reach for a number of organisations.”

Avec investigated the market thoroughly and found that Roboteur ticked all the boxes for an affordable solution appropriate for companies where RPA was previously out of reach.

“With Roboteur, RPA doesn’t require a developer to run. It becomes about business improvement rather than an IT integration initiative, and it is able to deliver a very competitive return on investment.”

Australia is a key market for RPA, Grant adds. “With some of the lowest unemployment rates in the world and the highest minimum wages, anything that involves people in Australia is costly.”

RPA can be used to replace low-value processes performed by humans. “Any consistent labour-intensive function is an ideal target for RPA. This includes the typical HR, finance and accounting functions but also some of the more labour-intensive components of roles like project and risk management.”

There is no doubt that RPA is on a growth trajectory, Grant adds. The global market is worth about $1,2-billion, with growth rate in excess of 60%, and set to reach $16-billion by 2024.

In Australia, the technology was first introduced in 2016 and has doubled in value every year since then, reaching $52,3-million in 2019.

Grant is optimistic that Roboteur can take its place in this growing mar

Already, Avec is using the solution to automate some of its own labour-intensive back office processes. It is also seeing interest among SMEs where RPA was previously too costly or complex to be an option.

“In addition, a number of local councils which drive very labour-intensive processes have shown significant interest, especially as it relates to their responses to the pandemic and work-from-home initiatives,” says Grant.

“We are also looking to help out health and aged care facilities that have traditionally relied on people- and paper-based processes, and now need to adopt automation to cope during the pandemic.”

Avec is part of the Talent International  group, employing 3 200 contractors in Australia and New Zealand. Its client base is mostly IT-related, with government making up about 50%.