How to Be Recession Ready with Smart Automation

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Businesses of all sizes are bracing for a recession. Still, while it may seem counterintuitive, this really is the right time to accelerate digital transformation.

Historically, an economic downturn is a boon for innovation. According to Morgan Stanley, about half of the Fortune 500 companies were founded in times of recession or economic crisis.

Investing in digital transformation will help companies weather a downturn and address talent shortages. Organizations can also stay ahead of their competitors by making cutbacks and slowing down digital transformation plans. A Harvard Business Review analyzing the results of three recessions found that those most likely to flourish after the downturn were those who successfully made efficiency improvements and invested in the future.

Myopic economics will cost you in the long run

Companies are dealing with a looming recession, a tight job market and ongoing supply chain disruptions. It may be counterintuitive, but cost-cutting measures in the face of such headwinds are not the answer.


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The pandemic has inadvertently shown us unprecedented innovation born out of necessity and spurred the adoption of digital technologies to meet consumer demands. This innovation has also allowed R&D timelines to outrun the development of a vaccine by less than a year – a process that would normally take around 10 years from concept to approval.

The looming economic downturn and growing skills gaps present another opportunity to drive innovation. Accelerating digital transformation will help companies weather the slowdown and address talent shortages.

Companies are expected to invest a total of $3.4 trillion to fund their digital transformation strategies through 2026. And those best positioned to meet rapidly changing consumer needs and embrace innovation are leveraging intelligent automation.

all in automation

Digital transformation allows companies to mitigate the fallout and promote agility and resilience, making future volatility easier to bear. The benefits of accelerating digital transformation are manifold – from productivity and efficiency gains to better supply chain management, customer experience and resource visibility.

Code-free automation platforms ease the burden of reskilling employees to use advanced automation technologies. Robotic process automation (RPA) can then be used to automate time-consuming, repetitive, painstaking and often error-prone tasks. Pairing this advanced technology with artificial intelligence (AI) enables scalability and decision-making capabilities in automating business processes. By automating these processes, employees have more time and access to valuable information for creative endeavors to enhance the customer experience and drive growth and revenue.

Even implementing a simple automation solution such as intelligent document processing is a powerful step towards digitization. It has the potential to save tens of thousands of hours, including those spent reworking mistakes, and create immense value.

US companies spend a staggering $5.3 billion annually on wages for manual document processing. By automating processes, resources can be redirected to improve other important business objectives, such as customer and employee experience.

Common mistakes to avoid

Digital transformation is amazing and exciting, but only if it’s done right. Companies are sold on all the wonders of digitalization and throw themselves into implementing solutions. This is an easily avoidable hurdle.

Businesses need a well-thought-out digital transformation plan. This is often most successfully achieved with the right Digital Transformation Partner who can help them mine processes for automation, select the right solutions, integrate automation into their existing infrastructure, and train/upgrade existing employees – or if you prefer , maintain your new digital infrastructure on their behalf.

Subject matter expertise is another key differentiator because a vendor offering in-depth knowledge of specific industries will understand the pain points where automation will add the most value. For example, suppose a hedge fund is looking to invest in more digitization. In that case, they will want to partner with a vendor that understands processing in their industry and can perform tasks such as net asset value calculations.

Stakeholder support is key

Another common pitfall companies fall into is not investing in the cultural transformation needed to make any digital transformation plan successful. To make the most of business process automation during a global talent shortage, you need to empower engaged workers with an aptitude for such training.

It would help if you also educate all workers on the purpose of a digitization plan. Why should they care? How will they benefit? These are key questions; if your employees don’t know the answers, you’re already setting your plan up for failure. Workers play a significant role in overseeing the implementation of digitization; if they feel antagonistic about it, their chances of success go down.

Estimates suggest that for every dollar companies spend licensing an automation solution, they spend five times as much trying to figure out how to implement and scale. This is an avoidable waste of resources, especially when many cannot afford it. All it takes is a well-developed strategy.

Doubling down on investment in intelligent automation will help companies weather tough times. The power of advanced automation technologies is that they improve efficiency and free up resources for innovation and investment in human capital — paving the way for long-term success.

Colin Redbond is Global SVP of Product and Strategy at SS&C Blue Prism


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