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Process automation in 2024

February 2024 News

Q&A; with Hennie Colyn, direct sales executive, Process Automation at Schneider Electric.


Q: What were some the key process automation trends in 2023?

A: Enterprises experienced increased demand in the management of big data facilitated by artificial intelligence (AI). This, in turn, paved the way for more flexible IT operations, with tools pre-empting glitches and offering real-time solutions. Overall, this resulted in improved resource allocation, reduced communication gaps, and fewer outages.

Q: What are your expectations for organisations in 2024?

A: In 2024, successful organisations will continue to create value for their stakeholders. The evolving landscape necessitates a strong sense of corporate purpose, aligned with social responsibility. Furthermore, driving a sense of purpose throughout an organisation will continue to be a key differentiator, both attracting and retaining talent.

Developing a compelling, purposeful narrative will be particularly important to those companies that are going through an energy transition process. For example, leadership teams that are building a new, low-carbon business will have to balance it with the revenue generated by more traditional means of business.

Q: What are the specific ways in which process automation can help businesses in Africa improve efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness?

A: By implementing process automation, organisations in Africa stand to benefit from enhanced efficiency and productivity. Process automation streamlines operations, reducing manual intervention while enabling real-time decision making. This, in turn, boosts competitiveness by allowing businesses to adapt quickly to market changes, and deliver quality products and services.

Q: How can process automation help businesses in Africa reduce costs and increase profitability?

A: Implementing process automation leads to cost reduction through operational efficiency, reduced errors and optimised resource allocation. Increased profitability follows, as streamlined processes and enhanced productivity contribute to a more competitive and profitable business model.

Q: What are the key skills and competencies that businesses in Africa need to develop for successful process automation implementation and management?

A: Businesses in Africa must focus on developing skills in software development, business management, information technology and engineering. These competencies are crucial for effectively implementing and managing process automation, aligning businesses with their global goals.

Q: What role has Schneider Electric played in the advancement of process automation in Africa?

A: While current process automation tools handle structured data effectively, we found that enterprises still grappled with unstructured data such as handwritten notes, bills and images.

Schneider Electric has contributed significantly to addressing unstructured data challenges. Our focus has been on leveraging ML and AI to introduce automation solutions capable of recognising and integrating unstructured data using robotics, further enhancing operational efficiency.

Q: What are your top messages for integrating process automation in 2024?

A: Organisations must focus on the continued integration of advanced technologies like AI, cloud, big data and ML. Advanced electronics is transforming process automation, delivering optimised and faster results.

Organisations must also evaluate competitively priced, customisable solutions for process automation to enhance visibility and performance tracking in challenging markets.


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