By now, everyone knows that COVID-19 all but shut down the airline industry. Airline share prices fell off a cliff. Major carriers like American Airlines (AAL) and Delta (DAL) lost half their value in just a few weeks.
But most people don’t know about the chaos that unfolded behind the scenes. According to consulting firm Forrester, one major airline received more than 120,000 cancellation requests during the first few weeks of the pandemic.
As you can imagine, this is a nightmare to deal with. Each request takes three to four minutes to process. So, we’re talking at least 6,000 manhours of work. Naturally, customers want their refunds fast, so time was of the essence.
To deal with this flood of cancellations, the airline turned to cutting-edge technology: robotic process automation (RPA). In short, the airline built an RPA “bot” in just six days. This bot was able to address 80% of the airline’s cancellation requests, or about 4,000 per day!
This shows the power of RPA, According to leading research firm Gartner, the RPA market grew over 63% in 2018. That made it the fastest-growing enterprise software category! Gartner expects the RPA market to triple in size between 2018 and 2024. But even that number likely understates the growth potential of RPA.
Forrester Consulting found that 31% of organizations have increased their spending on RPA in the past three months. And 48% of organizations said they plan to increase their spending on RPA in the next year. By the end of 2022, 85% of large organizations will have deployed some form of RPA.