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Employees Don’t Fear Automation and are Happy to Reskill for the Future

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Employees Don’t Fear Automation and are Happy to Reskill for the Future 1

Almost 5,000 knowledge workers and business decision makers share their insight on how RPA is changing business operations and employees’ working lives

A global automation report that surveyed nearly 5,000 business decision makers and knowledge workers reveals the majority of the latter (83 percent) are comfortable with reskilling in order to work alongside the digital workforce. A further 78 percent of knowledge workers say they’re ready to take on a new job role, according to a new report called, “Automate or Stagnate: The Impact of Intelligent Automation on the Future of Work” from Blue Prism (AIM: PRSM).

This sentiment is contrary to a popularly held belief of the market and business decision makers (70 percent), that employees are afraid of losing their jobs to automation. In fact, only 37 percent of knowledge workers harbor fears about job loss as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is having a positive impact on workplaces. One thing is certain, the impact of automation is being felt from the boardroom to the shop floor.

Most business decision makers also believe that RPA (88 percent) and Intelligent Automation (83 percent) are solutions to the global productivity problem and that both RPA (95 percent) and Intelligent Automation (93 percent) are crucially important in driving digital transformation. As evidence of the growing popularity of RPA, more than three-quarters of knowledge workers (78 percent) have experienced some of their daily tasks being automated in the last 12 months.

It’s a good thing too. Over a third of knowledge workers (34 percent) don’t believe their businesses can remain competitive in the next five years with a purely human workforce. This, alongside time-saving, cost-saving and improved accuracy benefits that automation offers, could be amongst the reasons why an incredible 92 percent of business decision makers plan to extend use cases of automation across their businesses.

“A new wave of economics, driven by automation and Artificial Intelligence, is emerging across the globe,” says Chris Bradshaw, Blue Prism’s Chief Marketing Officer. “This technology is disruptive, in the most positive sense. It is changing how organizations view themselves, how they operate and how the people that drive them, live and work. As we enter a new era of connected-RPA, this technology will open doors for the most digitally savvy employees to create and innovate. This is the first technological revolution to place the human at the heart of the creative value chain which is why it has such exponential potential. We will deliver a roadmap for how businesses can transform economic output, with AI and RPA at the heart of that change.”

Change Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

Despite the progress that has already been made, businesses need to address cultural considerations if they are to tap into the technology’s latent potential. In order to increasingly incorporate RPA, two-thirds of knowledge workers agree that their businesses culture needs to evolve. This is because more than half of respondents (53 percent) have colleagues with concerns over the introduction of the technology, and 44 percent aren’t confident about their own ability to adapt to work alongside the digital workforce.

To this end, business decision makers are conscious that they need to build trust among employees and the digital workforce (84 percent). Unfortunately, 68 percent of knowledge workers, believe their employers need to do more to build this trust. Improving internal communications is thought to be the best way to do this by 74 percent of business decision makers and echoed by 67 percent of knowledge workers. Communication is followed by the need for in-depth training (62 percent business decision makers, 59 percent knowledge workers).

The good news is, organizations feel relatively well prepared for changes and are invested in making the adoption of RPA a success. Over three-quarters of business decision makers (76 percent) feel that they are actively on the case of cultural change, incorporating the digital workforce into their daily working practices and encouraging human employees to engage with the technology.

Almost four-in-five knowledge workers (78 percent) do also believe that acquiring new skills is essential to remain employable, which may make the cultural change and adoption process of automation and RPA easier. This is proven by business decision makers (76 percent) who agree their new hires are more prepared to work alongside a digital workforce, and that adopting these technologies is an important factor in attracting and retaining the best talent.

Benefits Outweigh any Challenges

According to business decision makers (94 percent) and to a large extent knowledge workers (73 percent), the benefits of RPA/Intelligent Automation are well understood. However, despite this positive sentiment, there is still a significant gap in understanding between business leaders and their employees. More than three-quarters of business decision makers (76 percent) agree that their organization has been positively impacted by automation, a sentiment that mirrored by 65 percent of knowledge workers.

“Embracing RPA has been a part of the ‘bank-of-the-future’ objective and freeing up colleagues from mundane, repetitive tasks. We’ve taken the robot out of the human, in order to enable those colleagues to fulfil more purposeful roles, as we forge ahead with the next stage of our strategy,” says Gerald Pullen, Head of Continuous Improvement & RPA from Lloyds Banking Group.

“This report proves that there are some dramatic changes ahead in business as far as both technology and the workforce is concerned. But it’s a positive change,” Bradshaw continued. “It is up to the global business community to recognize this and provide the tools that their employees most desire that will release their creativity and innovation.”

To learn about how connected-RPA and Intelligent Automation are digitally transforming how businesses operate, compete and innovate attend Blue Prism World events. These events represent the largest RPA forum on the planet offering up unprecedented networking opportunities for attendees.

Business

Tesla shares set to skid into the red for the year

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Tesla shares set to skid into the red for the year 2

LONDON (Reuters) – Shares in Tesla were set to plunge into the red for the year on Tuesday, hit by a broad selloff of high-flying technology stocks and the fall of bitcoin, in which the electric carmaker recently invested $1.5 billion.

By 1029 GMT, Tesla was down over 8% in U.S. premarket deals after a similar drop during the previous session. The firm led by Elon Musk has had a stellar ride since 2020, which it began at about $85 per share, before reaching the $900 mark on January 25.

Currently trading at about $657 in pre market transactions, the stock has lost 27% from its peak, which is above the 20% level which technically defines a bear market.

Bitcoin has also swung into a bear market, falling from a peak of $58,354 on February 21 to a low of $45,000 earlier on Tuesday.

A Germany-based trader said he was “taking chips off the table” on Tesla as its 1.5 billion investment in the cryptocurrency could “backfire now”.

Analysts at Barclays noted that there has been a drop of conversations about the electric car makers in the Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum, which could explain some of the loss of appetite for the stock.

“With only 2-3 total submissions on each of the past several days, we remain below the trend in attention that has come along with big returns jumps in the past”, the analysts said in note.

Other analysts have also cautioned against investing in the stock which remains one of the most expensive on the S&P 500 index at 163 times its 12 month forward earnings.

Graphic: Tesla shares selloff after multi-fold gains

Tesla shares set to skid into the red for the year 3

(Reporting by Julien Ponthus and Thyagaraju Adinarayan)

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H&M, IKEA and Stora Enso backed TreeToTextile builds sustainable fibre demo plant

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H&M, IKEA and Stora Enso backed TreeToTextile builds sustainable fibre demo plant 4

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – A venture part-owned by Finnish forestry group Stora Enso, Sweden’s H&M and IKEA said on Tuesday it was set to build a demonstration plant in Sweden for a new, more sustainable wood-based textile fibre after years of research.

To markedly reduce their climate footprint and pollution, large apparel and furniture brands are in dire need of affordable greener alternatives to cotton, traditional viscose and polyester. Several Nordic pulp makers are part of projects developing new clean ways https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nordics-forestry-idCAKCN0WF076 to turn trees into textile fibre.

TreeToTextile said in a statement its plant would have a production capacity of 1,500 tonnes and its owners would fund the bulk of the 35 million euro ($42.6 million) investment.

“The novel process is deliberately designed to have low energy demand and low chemical need. It is engineered to suit large scale production and includes a recovery systemfor reusing chemicals,” it said.

“By investing in a demonstration plant, we are finally on the go. With it we are turning years of R&D into reality to increase the biobased share on the textile market to support climate action.”

TreeToTextile, whose fourth part-owner is innovator Lars Stigsson, said the plant would be located at Stora Enso’s Nymolla mill in Sweden, and its construction would start in the near future.

Viscose is the main existing textile fibre from wood pulp – followed by the newer lyocell which has a cleaner manufacturing method. Production is dominated by Austria’s Lenzing, India’s Aditya Birla and China’s Sateri.

($1 = 0.82 euros)

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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IHG books $153 million loss, Holiday Inn softens coronavirus blow

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IHG books $153 million loss, Holiday Inn softens coronavirus blow 5

By Tanishaa Nadkar

(Reuters) – InterContinental Hotels booked an annual loss of $153 million on Tuesday, pummelled by repeated COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns, but said a faster recovery in its Holiday Inn Express brand had helped it outperform in key markets.

The company, which previously scrapped its final dividend, said 2020 was the most challenging year in its history as revenue per available room slumped 52.5%, with global travel and entertainment spending remaining under pressure.

Pinning its hopes on the global roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines and a wider economic rebound, IHG said the industry was unlikely to see a recovery until later in the year but hinted that global travel was starting to recover.

“People want to travel again…It is the thing that people have missed most and so there is enormous pent up demand to travel,” Chief Financial Officer Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson said, adding that “travel will come back very rapidly.”

Shares of the company were up 3.8% at 5,516 pence by 0845 GMT, amid a near 3% rise on the FTSE 350 travel and leisure index as Britain saw a surge in flight and hotel bookings after the government said would-be holidaymakers will be given clarity on making plans for the summer by April 12.

Demand remained stronger in IHG’s Holiday Inn Express business, which represents about 70% of its rooms in the U.S. market and has historically been impacted less and recovered faster than other segments in economic downturns, the company said.

“IHG is at the start of a prolonged period of commercial recovery,” Peel Hunt analysts said in a note.

Still, IHG reported a group operating loss of $153 million for the year ended Dec. 31, compared with a profit of $630 million last year.

(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Alexander Smith)

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