Raising the business case for RPA implementation

Ahead of Corinum’s AUTOMATE : 2018 event in Melbourne (27-28 February, 2018)  we caught up with David Gerrelli, Global Director, APAC Product Manager for 3D Visualisation Technologies, CBRE Ltd, to talk about best practice and his thoughts about RPA implementations and raising the business case, as well as the state of the market and the future outlook around intelligent automation.


There is a lot of buzz at the moment around AI, RPA, machine learning etc. What does the future hold really with all these technologies going through such a big growth at the moment?

  • Right now AI is very much in its infancy. There’s a long way to go before we can have sentient natural language conversations with computers. The future is far more exciting than the present, for AI we’ll see automated transportation, virtual personal assistants and natural language conversations with our data. The tangible outcomes of RPA for the future will orbit around automating tasks to free up the workforce to spend more time engaging in high-value tasks. Particularly in industries with a lot of administration tasks, such as banking and insurance. We’re already seeing this today with RPA, but it’s largely limited to simple copy and paste activities between applications.

What would be your best tips for organisations who are looking to get started with intelligent automation? What is the business case?

  • Learn more about what intelligent automation is, what are its achievable capabilities and what are its limitations. Don’t try to deploy AI or RPA for the sake of the technology, make sure you have a tangible business objective that has measurable ROI. The same principles apply to AI/RPA business cases as they would for any other, if you can demonstrate that this capability will solve a problem, increase revenue or add capability, then it should be no different to writing any other business case that includes technology.

Do you see RPA as a gateway technology to true AI?

  • It’s a good question, because in reality there is very little ‘true AI’ out in the marketplace. Today AI and machine learning is predominately used to assist decision making, by reducing the amount of time a person would spend crunching data. RPA is macro based, in that you specify a set of rules that are executed like a macro in Excel, for example. It’s far cheaper and easier to implement than trying to integrate different data sources from disparate platforms via traditional software development practices. I think AI will improve RPA, but I don’t see RPA making any fundamental difference to the development of AI.

How do you see the industry changing over the next few years?

  • Right now true AI is in the experimental stages. In reality, most AI in businesses today are just regular computer programs with complex decision matrixes. The promise of AI is grander than the reality, at least for now. Integrating AI into hardware, such as vehicles, medical equipment and consumer devices is likely to be a growth area in the next 10 years. For the next few years we’ll continue to see vendors such as Microsoft and Amazon building support for developers to create AI applications, which in itself will lead to more effective use of this technology.

Will intelligent automation be a threat to the existing workforce?

  • Probably not for the next ten years, and even after that the threat will be a nominal percentage increase affecting specific types of roles. Some economies may be slightly at risk where they are somewhat dependent on overseas investment in back office functions, such as call centres and data input centres in locations such as India, Malaysia and Eastern Europe. Right now intelligent automation is an opportunity to become more efficient at routine tasks, freeing up your teams to focus on higher value work. A report from consultancy company AlphaBeta suggests machines will take over two hours a week of the most repetitive manual tasks by 2030, this doesn’t suggest a major threat to our workforces.



David Gerrelli, Global Director, APAC Product Manager for 3D Visualisation Technologies, CBRE Ltd.

Register Now to join David at the upcoming Automate Melbourne event, taking place on the 27-28 of February 2018.

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