Moving towards the democratisation of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Digitalisation is no longer an option. Since remote working has become the norm, companies need to find new solutions to optimise their business processes and gain efficiency. The pandemic and the acceleration of digitalisation have made Robotic Process Automation (RPA) a key element for organisations. According to a Gartner report, by 2022 90% of large companies will have implemented an RPA project into their operation.

With the democratisation of remote working, it becomes necessary to simplify the daily lives of employees. Today, too many tasks are still repetitive or unstimulating. Who hasn’t wanted to completely automate worthless ‘copy & paste’ from one form to another, when this task has sometimes to be performed more than 10 times a day? By putting together these different tasks and  “processes”, we can create an activity, which makes Robotic Process Automation a relevant solution.

Turnkey Smart Automation

By implementing Smart Automation solutions, companies can not only reduce their costs, but also allow their employees to focus on their core business: value generating tasks.

Heineken is an interesting use case with its “Automation First” strategy. In 2011, starting with the simple observation of the urgency to standardise IT systems of all service centres employing more than 73,000 people, the company focused on the selective automation of its processes at the end of 2015. Heineken decided to couple RPA with other technologies (image recognition, text mining, etc.) to find the right balance for human/machine interactions.

By 2019, Heineken had 150 software robots in production within different areas, implementing Machine Learning and AI algorithms. Without going into detail about the amount of man-hours saved by implementing this ‘Automation First’ strategy, Vincent Vloemans, from Heineken’s Global IT for Finance Business, confirmed a significant impact. “It is quite surprising, but the most significant RPA benefit is the elimination of human error. It increases the accuracy of process data, the accuracy of controls and the compliance of processes”. In concrete terms, a request that used to take 1-2 weeks to process can now be answered within 24 hours. Large CAC 40 companies are already familiar with this Smart Automation strategy. What about mid-sized organisations?

Making automation accessible to all

With a double digit annual growth rate, the Smart Automation market seems to be booming. However, structuring data, digitising documents and optimising business processes through OCR technologies or NLP algorithms can be time-consuming, difficult to implement or too costly for SMEs and SMIs. However, this type of companies has the same growing need to streamline internal processes and automate some tasks.

The role of all digital players is to help make innovations accessible to all organisations regardless of their size. The particular role of RPA players is to imagine new technological and economic models that can help to remove obstacles for implementing Automation in human-sized organisations.

An automation project can involve all departments of an organisation, from finance to human resources and purchasing. For example: within an HR department, the onboarding of new employees can be easily automated. The time needed for completing this task, which involves various cross-functional departments, can be reduced from 80 to 5 minutes.

Moreover, the “Agence de services et de paiement” (service and payment agency) was keen to provide support for industrial SMEs and SMIs wishing to implement RPA projects, by providing investment aid up to €320,000 for transforming towards the future industry.

What future for Smart Automation?

According to Gartner, the RPA (Robotic Process Automation) market is expected to grow by 19.5% in 2021, compared to 2020. And this number should remain in double digits until at least 2024.

In 5 years, we can imagine a large democratisation of access to automation: the most complex processes will be carried out in human-machine interaction. As a result, humans will have more time to focus on high value-added tasks related to creativity and innovation. Freeing activities from superfluous tasks will optimise and improve value creation, reflection, collaboration and exchanges.

Imagine if the machine could call on the user when needed, if it could learn from employees actions to reproduce behaviour rather than precise, preconceived tasks. AI-based approaches would then logically merge with automation and thus erase all the variations that can be found in the execution of the same task. This would usher in a new era, where interactions between information systems would be achieved via automation at scale and where, of course, the notion of the ‘citizen developer’ would become obsolete. In this new era, machines would be able to learn and reproduce uniformely processes carried out in slightly different ways by several business users.

The relationship to work would be completely changed, the traditional working day would be over. The era of “work time” would be over, giving way to that of “work value”. Value and collective intelligence would be free to support the evolving of uses. 

This access’ democratisation to automation will bring about some changes: We can imagine that in just a few days it will be possible to become “RPA Ready”. Everyone will be able to have transparent access to their digital/robotic workforce, from their mobile, in real time and from anywhere.

By Mehdi Nafe, CEO of Novelis and Benoit Cayla, Artificial Intelligence Analyst at Blue Prism.

Podcast #Diveintothefuture: 2026 the year of automation [AUDIO]

Welcome to the future of intelligent automation!

Due to the technological revolution, organizations have had to find alternatives to remain competitive and find new levers for growth. With this podcast #Dive Into the Future: 2026 the Year of Everything Automated, we take you on a journey into a world where intelligent process automation has become the norm. Thanks to advances in AI and smart automation, people and machines are now working together to increase efficiency and productivity.

Listen to 3 experts in AI and automation to discover how far we have come to get to this augmented future (in which we will soon be): Mehdi Nafe – CEO & Cofounder of the consulting and technology firm Novelis; Dominique Duquennoy – Customer Success Director and Benoit Cayla – AI & Automation Evangelist at Blue Prism, leader in Robotic Process Automation.

https://video.blueprism.com/watch/ysqqa8LH8WFfxGkrJW8VPg?

About the participants:

Benoît Cayla, Dominique Duquennoy and Mehdi Nafe

Benoît Cayla is a Pre-Sales Solution Consultant at Blue Prism. Passionate about AI (Machine Learning, NLP and Deep Learning), he combines his skills in this field with automation to help his customers to robotize more efficiently sometimes complex business processes.

With several experiences at LivePerson and Expert System, Dominique Duquennoy joins Blue Prism in 2019 as Customer Success Director where he helps accelerate the industrialization of large organizations and helps them improve their processes.

Mehdi Nafe is the CEO & Co-Founder of Novelis. Trained as an engineer and a project manager, he positions Novelis on innovative projects involving cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, intelligent automation, OCR or RPA (Robotic Process Automation) to address the business challenges of organizations.

Stratégie Clients: the reference exhibition for customer relations

On March 29, 30 & 31, come and hybridize your customer relationship and reimagine the field of possibilities of intelligent automation with Novelis.
This reference event on customer relationship will allow professionals to go further in their reflections and to discover in a concrete way the contribution that automation, AI and RPA can have on a large number of companies.

Novelis will be present to showcase its expertise in customer relationship management.

285 exhibitors – 16,000 visitors – 200 conferences and solution workshops offered by experts

The Stratégie Clients exhibition is 3 intense days to optimize your customer relationship. The crisis of the Covid-19 has severely impacted all sectors of activity and the customer relationship has not been spared, it has been totally transformed: more hybrid, digital and agile.

Customer service has evolved a lot in the last few years. At a distance, the relationship is often governed by algorithms and voicebots and the need for more human relationship is felt.

The customer now wants to benefit from the efficiency and high availability of machines and at the same time from the sensitivity and finer appreciation of their requests by humans. Clearly, today’s customer wants a hybrid relationship to make the most of both worlds.

The customer strategy of companies must evolve at the same pace as the expectations of their customers and we believe that Artificial Intelligence and the automation of processes by robots is the solution.

This exhibition is the ideal moment for all those who wish to discover these new ways to hybridize customer relations, improve their uses, enrich their strategy, exchange with their peers and find innovative solutions.

Novelis expert in customer relations

As a Pure Player in business process efficiency, we use automation as a lever to boost call center productivity and improve the customer experience. 

We support our customers in their intelligent business process automation projects with Smart Automation. We enable companies to transform the experience of their customers and employees. 

To learn more: discover our Business Case Automation at the service of the customer experience

RPA : From Process Robotization to Intelligent Automation

Posted on October 1, 2019 by :

Each year, the A CAPELLA Consulting teams meet for 2 days of seminars to share moments of conviviality, workshops, and acculturation sessions. This year, the consultants had the opportunity to accumulate and deepen their mastery of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) during a workshop conducted with their partner Novelis, represented by Walid Dahhane, the company’s CTO.

In this article, we invite you to take a look at the concepts backed by the acronym RPA and its use cases.What is RPA?

RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is a subject of innovation and interest but whose background has origins in the birth of IT. It is therefore important to understand that the very topic of automation is not new.

Often the difficulty we have in defining RPA is to show how it differs from the automation processes we already know. The first difficulty resides in the very word “robot” which is not implied as an electronic robot operating alone but rather as software for automating a well-defined process. The second is due to the psychological brake placed behind the word “robot” which induces for some that they are doomed to replace humans in the execution of tasks.

For Walid Dahhane “RPA is the acronym for Robotic Process Automation” which translates into French as “Robotisation des processes automatisés”. It is nothing but a software called robot, which performs data processing and manipulation of work, exchange between different computer systems, and executing internal and external communication.

The idea behind RPA is therefore to “robotize” business processes that would require the intervention of a human. The robot thus performs a succession of predefined tasks based on precise and identified information. It captures data in several systems then digitizes and performs actions usually performed by men.What activities can be automated with RPA?

Once we better understand the concept of RPA itself, we wonder about the nature of the activities that we can automate.

The answer is : almost everything that happens on a computer and that a human can control via a mouse and keyboard (like for example : emulating clicks, entering data, copy / paste, navigate on several screens, connect to applications) and also perform purely computer processing (such as : calling web services, connecting to BDDs). We are in the context of RPA as long as technology can perform the action alone without the intervention of a human being and without a cognitive part in the process.

RPA therefore makes it possible to carry out transactions with any application in the same way as a human, and execute structured tasks.

If we take the example of Kiva robots from Amazon, we are in another field, that of electronic robotics, where the robots operate logistics tasks through learning. In the context of RPA, we always speak of process. The difference thus lies in the technology. In RPA, we are on a “computer” technology which does not present a cognitive function such as Artificial Intelligence in its execution process. For example, a chatbot can be part of an RPA process as a component, but will not be an executable process as such.

So we don’t find any intelligence behind RPA but we can have it in some of the components it will use (this is called cognitive RPA – answered later in this article is the different types of RPA). If we introduce intelligence into the RPA process, we kill the RPA and that reassures all the more to know that it will only reproduce what we ask it to do without taking initiatives and without autonomous decision making as we can have in Artificial Intelligence.

In most cases, RPA systems are not intended to live long without maintenance operations or adjustments because the processes they automate can constantly evolve. We thus naturally find a lot of RPA in transient phases of transformation of the IS.RPA : Where are we now?

According to  Forrester Research,  “25% of tasks will be automated by 2020”.

In recent years, RPA has become an increasingly preferred option by companies to quickly digitize certain simple operations and rapidly respond to regulatory changes. RPA is indeed competitive compared to other and more costly solutions to implement such as IT integration projects or even resource outsourcing.

Companies that opt ​​for RPA in the digitalization of their processes thus find many advantages :

  • Quality and Precision : RPA effectively eliminates the risk of human error inherent in business processes and enables reliable and controlled results
  • Consistency and Quality of Service : RPA enables better control of processes and optimizes them
  • Financial Efficiency : RPA makes it possible to reduce the costs and time of execution of tasks, usually with an increased ROI
  • Audit, Security, and Compliance : RPA makes it possible to configure the processes of compliance with the necessary standards and rules (security, audit, GDPR, etc.) and provides traceability that may be required larer on during the audits
  • Productivity and Experience : by automating repetitive tasks, RPA allows employees to devote themselves to tasks that bring higher value to their work
  • Easy Integration : RPA technology can easily and quickly interconnect with existing systems while integrating advanced algorithms and machine learning tools into its components
  • Reliability and Availability : finally, RPA is reliable and available at all times, and the process does not suffer from any pause like an action carried out by a human being

What are some RPA used cases?

The choice of an RPA technology is particularly indicated for :

  • Generation of periodic reports, data entry, and data analysis
  • Performing repetitive tasks scheduled 50 to 60 times a day
  • Mass e-mail generation, archiving, and retrieval
  • Connection to ERP and executing other back-office transactions

To find out which process we can automate and if RPA technology is eligible, take a look at the following decision scheme :

Other issues, however, must be taken into account, such as the number of robots to set up (we can quickly achieve a large number and render their maintenance a hassle), whether the existing system can manage them, and the impact on bandwidth and user interfaces.

The correct definition of the use case is essential to maximize ROI, the objective not being to replace teams but rather to improve their efficiency.

Example of used case presented by Novelis : A multinational food company with a presence on 4 continents wanted to reduce repetitive tasks that interfered with the main activities of the administrative and logistics department. The stakes were high since the error rate in the logistics department implied a total cost of USD 1.2 million in 2016. It has chosen RPA technology and today has 5 Robots that execute operations to both the financial department and the logistics department, without resorting to human intervention (unassisted processes) with more than 25,000 transactions carried out daily. The implementation of RPA thus resulted an annual saving of around USD 300k, but the most interesting achievement is the elimination of human errors quantified annually around USD 1.2 million. It also saved the equivalent of 75 FTEs in 6 months, allowing its employees to deal with other tasks with higher added value.What are the different types of RPA?

We can distinguish 2 main types of RPA : Traditional RPA and Cognitive RPA.

Traditional RPA is itself divided into two subcategories :

  • Assisted RPA, which partially automates complex processes to obtain more operational efficiency but where we still need the intervention of a human being. This is the case, for example, of automated processes in a call center where RPA facilitates and speeds up the process by offering choices to the call center agent based on certain criteria. This type of RPA is often used for front-office processes
  • Unassisted RPA, on the other hand, fully automates business processes, thereby maximizing the expected ROI and without requiring human intervention. This is the example of a system that is fed through the  reception of  e-mails. This type of RPA is often used for simple back-office processes

Cognitive RPA will integrate intelligent components within the automated process in order to frame elements that involve human reasoning or decision-making, based on certain well-defined criteria. For example, RPA can be combined with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) * or Machine Learning technology. It must be understood that we are talking about adding cognitive / AI components but the skeleton that defines the business process cannot change and become intelligent. A robot cannot therefore decide on its own to add a new dimension to the process that has not been precisely defined before.What automation tools are available in the market?

There are many RPA automation software out there, and the market is growing. In  Gartner’s 2019 Magic Quadrant  for Robotic Process Automation (RPA), we find at the top (see figure below) : 

  • Uipath, the leader, whose promise is to become accessible to all techniques without having knowledge. Their ambition for the future is that the software be present on all computers in the same way as Windows. But it is clear that even with packaged and very visual components, the solution is not yet appreciated by everyone. An open source version is offered strictly for personal use
  • NICE, conversely, requires at least 2 years of experience in object programming to be manipulated. It is a solution used for large automation projects
  • Blue prism
  • Automation Anywhere
Magic-Quadrant-Robotic-Process-Automation-Gartner-Margo-954x1024

Walid Dahhane’s presentation ended with a workshop where A CAPELLA Consulting teams were able to work on the development of use cases specific to the insurance and social protection sector.

In conclusion, Robotics Process Automation is particularly suitable for eliminating repetitive and tedious tasks, speeding up an operational process, and reducing costs. RPA will always be used to automate a rule-based business processes but not all of them are necessarily eligible for RPA, and right questions have to be asked in terms of issues and ROI before embarking on a project. Even if a POC can be achieved in a few weeks/months, the craze of CIOs for this type of solutions has led to the creation of several off-the-shelf robots that can now be purchased online to respond to a generic use case without replacing existing systems.

* The word OCR means optical character recognition or text recognition, a technology that converts different types of files such as scanned paper documents, PDF files or digital photos into editable and searchable files. (Source  Abbyy, one of the leading RPA solutions on the market for its OCR / Machine Learning alliance)

AI accelerated RPA: Interview with Olivier Chosson, Novelis COO

Today we present you a transcript of an interview conducted by NICE welcoming Olivier Chosson, COO & founder of the company Novelis (www.novelis.io) –  consultants in technological integration (Automation, OCR, NLP, IA, micro-services, development of business applications) – who discussed a question relevant to key decision-makers: how to accelerate my digital transformation projects with RPA technologies?

NICE: Hello Olivier, so how did this confinement period go for Novelis and how is the recovery going?

Olivier Chosson : Hello everyone. I think Novelis lived through this period much like most companies in the sector. Project stoppages in March and April, and now an intense recovery, especially around automation issues.

We also took advantage of this rather quiet period to reflect on our support strategy for the coming quarters, review priorities, and initiate new projects. I also want to say that during this period, working from home allowed us to increase empathy with our contacts, whether in the private or public sector. The relevance of Novelis has further increased.

NICE: At Novelis, how do you see the topic of RPA for the coming quarters?

To answer the question, the topics on automation will continue to progress in the coming months. The challenge is to go beyond the few robots in the accounting and finance back-office and to manage systematically other departments. For example, a large American pharmaceutical group has taken it to the next level by automating more than 450 processes. At NICE, they support large international groups in deploying thousands of robots. It is, therefore, possible and it works from the moment when we follow a relevant methodology, whether we know how to identify the eligible processes no matter how complex they might be. It is important to go beyond the short-term dimension and be able to offer business models at the organizational level. Otherwise, this technology would only be a functional “add-on” in the IT architecture of the organization.

NICE: How do you address this problem of identifying eligible processes to propose a roadmap that is both ambitious and realistic?

We have two approaches. The first is our Process Assessment offer. It is the ability to mobilize our best experts in business analysis to identify, alongside our customers, the processes that can be automated. To do this, we apply a methodology combining interviews with business executives, shoulder surfing the employees accomplishing the tasks, and analyzing intrinsic data linked to each process: duration, applications involved, nature of the technologies used, structured, or unstructured data. Following this qualification audit, a decision-making summary is presented to our client, in which we prioritize processes to be automated by their complexity and associated ROIs. By integrating this general vision, decision-makers have the means to make the right choices.

At Novelis we are also primarily technical architects. These recommendations are made in compliance with urbanization rules and with the concern of building maintainable and scalable solutions and architectures. With this in mind, IT Departments who lack the technical expertise must not be omitted from these projects.

The second approach is technological and based on artificial intelligence. By installing a solution such as NICE’s Automation Finder, we can get extremely precise insights of processes, but even more so, of tasks that can be automated.

This technology is very helpful for accelerating an automation roadmap within a company!

Besides, its implementation is really simple because it only requires installing an application on the team’s workstation. This approach respects all security constraints for personal life through observed applications’ white- and blacklists and the fact that the compiled data is not integrated within the apps’ unitary origins.

After a period of 15 to 20 days, the data is consolidated and analyzed by the solution using artificial intelligence. It is then possible to identify the tasks that can be automated. The solution summarizes the following:

  • Number of identified tasks
  • Nature of the identified tasks (copy/paste, navigation, documents used, …)
  • Repetitiveness of the identified processes
  • Time spent on each of these tasks
  • Relevance of the potential ROI

To our point of view, starting with the first phase of process evaluation and then launching an automatic detection initiative seems to be the best approach.

NICE: Can you tell us about an Automation Finder project and what it helped you bring to your client?

Often when trying to automate tasks, the stages of a process in which human insights are involved can be complex because it usually requires human validation, which is a big responsibility. However, some steps in this process can be optimized and automated.

This is why we carried out this project with our client and the results were very relevant. We have identified the following processes:

  • Sending a structured email pre-completed with a Desktop Automation solution, based on information collected in real-time, that accumulated 1,100 actions per month!
  • Collecting and consolidating customer information KYC (know your customer) to relieve their employees from browsing and data re-entry: we recorded 70,000 occurrences over 4 weeks.
  • Another KYC related opportunity with more than 4,000 identified occurrences, saving tens of hours of processing time, mostly concerning the recovery of contact details.

Beyond these benefits linked to saving time, securing data, and the ability to deliver an optimal customer experience, the quality of the employees’ work has also improved: unnecessary and uninteresting tasks are entrusted to the Desktop Automation part.

NICE: In terms of time and budget, where do you stand?

This is also what’s interesting with RPA technology. Implementation budgets are manageable. Projects are set up quickly and ROIs are as measurable as heavy ERP migrations, and yet faster to achieve. This is not a quick fix. But as the London School of Economics recalled at an English fair about automation: RPA is the technology that offers the highest ROI compared to all other observed technologies.

At Novelis, our consultants and engineers are pragmatic. Indeed, organizations need new strategies, a roadmap, and principles of governance, but above all, they need to maintain common sense and to be operational with the delivered quality and the provided value. Automation Finder has been designed to trace facts and quantified data. Such a solution is clearly the second stage of the RPA rocket.

Thank you to the NICE team for this interview!

Breakfast with Document Store – Everything you need to know about RPA

Hybrid event: Meet us at the Document Store showroom located at 29, rue de Lisbonne 75008 Paris or remotely in front of your screen (the link will be sent to you by email).

On Tuesday, March 8, 2022 at 8:30 am, Document Store invites you to a thematic breakfast on RPA / Smart Automation. Robotic process automation has become a key lever for companies looking to increase the operational efficiency of their processes.

Can you imagine being able to entrust your time-consuming and repetitive tasks to a robot while making your mechanical processes more reliable? That’s the promise of RPA.

As a partner of Document Store, we will be on site to share our expertise on the subject.

Amine Bentahir, Novelis Sales Director, and Alexandre Pope, Document Store Sales Director, will guide you through the discovery of RPA technology. Similar to a real “digital worker”, it is offered for the first time in SaaS mode, based on the number of hours of use.  

A word about our partner Document Store

Document store is a technology integrator and solution generator, specializing in everything related to the equipment and functionality of the document chain in companies.

On the program of this hybrid “Tech Breakfast

  • 8:30 am: Welcome of the participants
  • 8:45 am: Introduction to the RPA topic and useful uses cases
  • 9:30 am: Question and answer session

To register, we invite you to click directly on this link and to fill in the form at the bottom of the page.

RPA : Smart Automation for Operational Efficiency

Operational efficiency is a major issue that conditions the competitiveness of companies. Smart Automation is a relevant lever for optimizing business processes. RPA is the first step.

OCR and NLP are technological tools that allow us to push the field even further in terms of automation.

Technologies are evolving quickly, and so is the potential for automation. The expected benefits are many, and do not stop at a simple economy of means.

The automation of back-office processes is the easiest to understand. However, the potential of ‘Virtual Assistant Robots’ RAVs and Intelligent Automation considerably widens the scope of processes eligible for optimization and automation.

Intelligent Automation opens up unexplored perspectives. Yet, the positive impact of automation is not new : avoiding tedious manual tasks and improving the accuracy of the data being handled. On the other hand, we were faced with a glass ceiling : 80% of company data is unstructured. This is why the OCR and NLP are inevitable levers to overcome this constraint.

[Webinar] Boost the ROI of your RPA project

Online conference organized on Thursday, January 27 at 11am

Robotic process automation (Smart Automation / RPA*) has become a key lever for companies wishing to increase the operational efficiency of their processes. Indeed, the robotization of tasks is an essential step in the digital transformation of companies. It allows employees to refocus on business-generating tasks and on the customer experience.

Finally, by coupling RPA and AI technologies, companies are entering the era of hyperautomation, of Smart Automation.

However, the investment in RPA is often difficult to justify, especially when the organization has few processes to automate.

Novelis is addressing this issue by introducing SmartRoby, its turnkey Smart Automation as a Service platform.

During this webinar, discover how SmartRoby makes automation accessible to all organizations:

SmartRoby mechanically improves the ROI of your RPA projects by reducing your initial investment
SmartRoby accelerates adoption by giving the business the autonomy to supervise its automated processes

A few words on RPA and Smart Automation


RPA, a form of business process automation, aims at replicating the actions of the human user by a software robot. The robot will interact with the application interface (the company’s existing solutions) while respecting the same business rules and the same security rules in order to process data entry, extraction, manipulation and transformation operations, with the possibility for the robot to communicate with other IS applications.

Smart Automation combines RPA technology with AI technologies, allowing the robot to execute more complex processes based on Machine Learning and NLP.

Practical information :

  • Date and time: Thursday, January 27, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Online conference: Microsoft Teams

Watch the replay to discover the power of our platform!

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