Home Bots & Business UK SMEs should be benefiting from RPA as much as enterprises, says South Coast-based automation start-up

UK SMEs should be benefiting from RPA as much as enterprises, says South Coast-based automation start-up

by Gary Flood

A new Brighton-based RPA (Robotic Process Automation) start-up has just opened its virtual doors–and says it’s already winning business in its target market of micro companies and small traders.

Intriguingly, the business only started to take shape after UiPath suggested to one of the founders she use RPA to streamline her own freelance business consulting activity.

Robus Automation–which offers a managed RPA service based on the UiPath stack–is indeed led by two sisters, Becky Sharp and Emma Booysen, who have decided lockdown was the perfect time to launch a business to help smaller companies.

Help how? Robus says that there is no reason at all that RPA’s provision of virtual robots to save time, reduce costs and increase operational efficiency should be for larger organisations only. As Sharp told us, “RPA is quite a big buzzword at the moment and the software is used within a lot of the bigger sort of giant companies, but it’s not filtered down to the SME market yet. When you talk to RPA vendors, they’re all talking with big global businesses, but there are a lot more companies out there thinking about RPA than I had realised. So we built a suite of pre-built RPA bots to keep the cost down for this sort of customer, and I think it’s the perfect time to open up RPA to this community.”

After all, Sharp says, demand is there, and small business RPA use cases are already coming through. “Accountancy firms in particular like the idea of giving all new clients the same onboarding experience, which they can easily do with RPA. We also have a bot that logs into Xero, a cloud-based accounting software platform a lot of small and medium-sized UK businesses use, and does bank reconciliations–so we’re working with a one-person bookkeeper with 25 clients who spends a lot of time each month doing both variations. If we can take that process off her desk, that will save her and other freelancers like her so much time, and as we know it works for her, we can offer that potentially to every accountancy firm in the UK that uses Xero.”

‘To make robots accessible and affordable to the UK SME market’

Other early Robus RPA users, she says, are with law and recruitment businesses, though through her relentless networking she has a meeting with a global company’s HR division that might ask it help roll out RPA across its US business.

Next steps for the firm? “The next six months is going to be a great journey: educating people, getting out there, letting people know that we’re here and about how RPA can help the SME market.” The firm is also already in expansion mode, having just taken on two Brighton-based technical project managers and aims to continue to recruit in the local area.

Commenting on the announcement, Chris Duddridge, UK VP of Sales for UiPath, said, “It’s inspiring to see the founding of an RPA company with an all-female team, and its drive to make robots accessible and affordable to the UK SME market can only be seen as a positive step.”

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