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Getting Out of The Starting Gates With Robots-as-a-Service

Posted by Brendan Canny on 29 April 2019 in: Robots-as-a-Service, RaaS, Automation, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, IPA, Intelligent Process Automation

Despite uncertainty over the impact of rapidly emerging technologies and technology-enabled innovation, an increasing proportion of the CRE industry is testing emerging technologies and embracing an active role in innovating. This is according to a recent report from the Altus Group, entitled The Innovation Opportunity in Commercial Real Estate: A Shift in PropTech Adoption and Investment.

48% of CRE leaders are using or testing AI and ML technology

This is good news, and according to the report, 48% of the CRE leaders they interviewed are using or testing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology, with 45% doing the same with business process automation. When things get really interesting, however, is when you look at IPA, or Intelligent Process Automation. This is where RPA robots, who are very, very good at orchestrating structured processes, are assisted by the thinking and cognitive abilities of AI and ML, to form an even stronger value chain. Find out more about this here.

The most important take away from this article is how these companies are getting out of the analysis paralysis rut, and borrowing a term from Jon Theuerkauf, BNY Mellon’s former managing director and head of performance excellence, acting “stractically”. Theuerkauf says that the way to navigate yourself out of analysis paralysis is to be “stractical”. This involves a group understanding of the high-level strategy and associated long term goals, yet being able to take practical and tactical steps towards that goal, with the understanding that decisions made today, may very well be binned in the future. If this is your thing, you can read more here.

The way to navigate yourself out of analysis paralysis is to be “stractical"

One of our clients who has done this very effectively is Granite Properties, a commercial real estate investment, development and management company. In 2017, they automated their first process with the Open Box Real Estate Automation Engine. This gave them a two-year head start over their peers, who are only looking at automation today. Granite automated their daily manual tenant work order billing integration, handing a time-intensive, sometimes error-prone, yet essential task to Rob Sparke, as Open Box’s intelligent process automation (IPA) software robot is known.

"The RPA engine has provided Granite with an opportunity to create efficiency and consistency with our work order billing process. It has also allowed employees to refocus their time on value-add activities rather than data entry from one software to another. Once our employees experienced the benefits of the RPA process, they are excited about additional opportunities it can provide"  said Chris Spaulding, Director of Information Technology at Granite Properties.

Now, the company saves time and resources, their data is always up to date, errors are minimized and employees are freed up to do more strategically important, and more interesting, work. Dive into the details of this project here.

Granite is acting stractically by allowing itself to experiment with RPA

To be sure, the process above is only one out of many in the CRE world, but Granite is acting stractically by allowing itself to experiment with RPA, on a robots-as-a-service (RaaS) basis, process by process. This keeps both time and upfront investment down, and gives the company incremental experience with these types of projects and the value that can be achieved. For instance, Granite are 100% confident of the integrity of the data in this process, which helps them plot their longer-term strategy.

"To get started with the design of the automation, we provided Open Box with our end user training manual. With some small tweaks and changes, they were able to recreate the process using RPA in minimal time" said Spaulding, 

It’s worth mentioning that the foundation of IPA, RPA, itself is a fairly well-established technology in other sectors, specifically financial services, utilities and telecommunications companies, who are using it to knit together various disparate enterprise systems. Indeed, Gartner forecasts that global RPA spending would reach $680 million in 2018, a 57% year on year increase, and is on track to reach $2.4 billion in 2022.

At Open Box, we work with you to proceed despite uncertainty, in a low-risk stractical way. Get in touch to find out how we can help you select the best business unit and process for automation, deliver RPA on an as-a-service basis, and give you real business value quickly.

Are you stuck in analysis paralysis and know it’s time to get stractical? Sometimes all it takes is a quick spark of an idea from someone else. Click here for a list of what other CRE companies are doing with IPA.

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