RPA: the technology that is changing the role of a CIO

RPA: the technology that is changing the role of a CIO

One of the most appreciated skills in a CIO (and in general, in the area responsible for technology), is to find among emerging technologies, those reliable, robust and cost-effective solutions that allow achieving the changing business objectives therefore reducing costs.

As Maddie Davis, co-founder of the technology and innovation specialist website Enlightened Digital, highlights, “Today’s CIO is the leading force behind the construction and implementation of new digital platforms and operating models that prepare companies for the landscape highly competitive today.

RPA helps to facilitate this as it improves a variety of business elements and department functions. The productivity of marketing, customer service, legal and financial departments and more, all benefit from the implementation of automation.

(…)Software robots do not need breaks, does not make mistakes, needs no time off and costs less than an employee. Because RPA allows businesses to automate important tasks at a fraction of the cost and time, it’s more attainable and creates less of a disruption to existing operations.”

For reasons such as this, Gartner has predicted that 73% of corporate controllers will implement some form of RPA in their finance departments by 2020.

Now, is RPA for all organizations and all processes? Davis recommends automating from a careful evaluation of internal processes, workflows and personnel requirements in a company. He provides four general guidelines to determine if RPA is a good option for a business:

  • The process must be rule-based
  • The process must have a pre-defined trigger
  • The process must have defined inputs and outputs
  • The task should have sufficient volume

Large companies such as Walmart, American Express Global Business Travel, AT&T and Walgreens are some examples of enterprises that currently use RPA technology.

David Thompson, CIO of American Express Global Business Travel, told Davis:  “RPA is currently being used to automate airline ticket canceling processes and issuing refunds.  Moving forward, RPA is also expected to automate rebook recommendations and certain expense management tasks.”

Western Union’s former CIO, David Thompson implemented automation solutions, training RPA to identically replicate how employees do specific tasks. He believes the number of things that can be automated is continuously growing.

Finally, Davis points out four ways in which RPA is changing the role of the CIO:

  1. Adding Value. As organizations continue to grow, there is an ongoing struggle between enterprise innovation and staffing. Task automation allows companies to cut back on extra staff that would traditionally be responsible for completing routine tasks. CIOs in this case can positively influence enterprise growth by making information management central to the business.
  1. Cost Savings. According to IRPA AI, CIOs can contribute to radical savings upwards of 40% by automating tasks originally done by employees
  1. Improved Teamwork. CIOs are becoming facilitators of greater collaboration between the IT staff and business units within organizations. As RPA implementation changes business operations, departments will have no choice but to discover new ways to work together and CIOs will lead this transformation.
  1. Positioning on the Board of Directors. RPA is changing the role of CIO and changing how others in the C-suite view the role. RPA technology is contributing to rapid advancement in technologies and tools that directly affect customers and in turn, business revenue. As a result, perceptive CEOs are looking to CIOs for guidance in strategic goals and corporate growth.

“Process automation through RPA, is designed to improve the production and life of the employees who use it”, concludes Davis. Therefore, it is critical to have the right business partners. Conciliac has the products, the experience and the experts that can support the CIO in the successful transformation to the business.

Author: Conciliac Team


Maddie Davis, “How Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is Changing the Role of CIO”, July 2019, CiGen.com.au