John Maynard Keynes predicted- that by 2030, a human may work 3-4 hour shifts or a 15 hour week, devoting most of the other time for ourselves than is usual with the rich today, only too glad to have small duties and routine tasks. We will inquire more curiously into the true character of this “purposiveness” with which in varying degrees Nature has endowed almost all of us. Devoting more time to our creative tasks and just 3 hours of work will be quite enough to satisfy the old Adam in us!
How will this happen of course, unless we are willing to entrust to science and automation, to the software robot ! So fear not, the Digital Worker, it only takes you a step closer to inner freedom.
Is the Digital Worker a Threat to Human Workforce?
In a marketplace where competition is fierce and consumer is king, technology can truly help measure consumer behavior. This can make or break a business. It means that the CMO, more than ever needs to have a strong hold on consumer analytics and have a team of analytical minds that can help grow business. Step in the Digital Worker, who needs to shed some weight off the team’s shoulders. Automation can take away jobs that are robotic, rule-based and time consuming. This means truly freeing up the employee to perform his job and take its output to another high.
The answer to the question, Is the Digital Worker a threat- No but if you’re willing to up your skills, think growth for an organization and ‘use’ technology intelligently.
What kind of job roles are you likely to see automated by the Digital Worker in the near future?
The Digital Worker may not be a full-time equivalent to a certain position however, it can perform big pieces of certain jobs. Example, for an admin professional, reading and responding to tickets, resetting passwords, standard email communication could be labored digitally. However, communication and collaboration, tasks that need interaction would still be labored by a human.
Standard activity around human roles can be automated. Recruiting, Accounts payable and receivable could be other good processes.
Deployments where the Digital worker is used to automate tasks and not to replace human labor are where organizations are seeing maximum gains.
How long does the Digital Worker take to settle in with its job?
It depends on the task and the company. In case you’re looking at a task that is standardized and documented and followed that way, it’s usually straight-forward. Once we have the intelligence configured in the software robot, you let the software robot run in a test environment and then think of taking it into production. Example could be some standard tasks in the IT department.
If it is a more complex process, example invoicing, it may need to look at a PO (Purchase Order), an invoice and a receipt. There tend to be a lot of exceptions in this case. Example: There could be an error in delivery and a slightly modified product was delivered to the consumer company. But let’s say the receiver was fine with it and went ahead and had it installed. How does the automated process vary from what was documented in the PO- it’s an exception! Cases like these could cause the robot to stop and involve a human – since this is a subjective decision. Once the human acts on it, the digital worker can be fired up to complete the process.
Does the Digital Worker spell an end to outsourcing?
While there is a debate and many don’t see offshore outsourcing vanishing entirely, the economics that Intelligent Automation brings to the table are certainly opening up conversations between the vendors and customers.
Labor cost-reduction is usually the driver behind outsourcing and BPO deals, but come RPA, the paradigm of the outsourcing equation is truly changing.
What RPA Tools should we choose?
Broadly there are functional and object-oriented structured tools. A functional structure is easy to get started with and quick to program. By default, these tools produce single cripples for the entire process including every rule and integration. They usually offer a reorder function which can help speed up the RPA integration. However, failure to manage the reorder function efficiently could lead to complicating the configuration, making it harder for the tool to work effectively. Object-oriented tools do not offer the reorder functionality and will need an in-depth level of design before initiation. However, these tools are more resilient and reusable paying off in the long run. With Object-oriented tools, organizations can deploy multiple people to work on a process simultaneously freeing up the process architect to focus on building rules and logic.
While making an investment into the latest technological advancements, no business wants to experience hardship. It’s important for a business to measure usability before selecting the right tool. The design has to be user-friendly. If the learning curve is too steep, the returns will take longer. An RPA tool has to have the framework that matches the business needs and be simple to maintain for continual success.
What is a Center of Excellence and why is it needed?
Post successful implementation, there needs to be an ideal RPA architecture, that ensures that there is a control center equipped to handle errors, exceptions and allocate resources. It acts as a control tower, where from all commands are issued. There are administrators who can maintain and upgrade their digital workforce. This provides a very holistic view on how RPA is performing within the organization.
On a successful process automation, what is roughly the ROI?
Any successful implementation can yield and ROI of an average of 70-100%. This is a rough average- however it depends on the tasks and the adoption. It could be as high as 300% as well since the automated process is faster and more efficient than a human performing the same tasks.
As a leader, where do I start with the Digital Workforce?
Initiate by putting statistics and metrics around consumer analytics that can drive growth for your business. Increased revenues and reduced costs as the two primary benefits of improving an organization’s growth.
Find people who tie into this goal and people who have a hunger for new technologies. Give them some new tools and work out the governance process with them in terms of how to use these tools and support that with a center of excellence. Get on the implementation layer by layer and department by department.