January 31, 2018 | Written by: Colin Redbond
Categorized: AI | Automation
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Over the past few years, we’ve heard from numerous pundits who have painted a very dystopian picture on the demise of white-collar jobs at the hands of automation.
It makes for attention grabbing headlines but when you examine the facts, automation is about liberation from the mundane and driving digital transformations in the enterprise. It’s true that some jobs will be eliminated by automation, however we don’t see the new digital worker as a replacement for humans, but as an enabler to become an intrinsic part of the fabric of a future workplace.
In the past couple of months, industry experts have stated that digital workforces will assume responsibility for mostly rote, repetitive, and productivity-busting tasks, not entire jobs. In fact, a recent Everest Group blog said, “the fear about the impact on jobs is way overblown.” It also stated that, “it is highly likely it will impact slices of jobs and/or departments that will allow for those employees to be transitioned to higher-value tasks.
This evolution should encourage enterprise executives to consider technologies like Robotic Processing Automation (RPA), fueled by bots to provide automation for repetitive and rules-based tasks that involve structured data. This, of course, makes sense. Who wouldn’t want more time to make a real difference for their company and their customers?
Collaboration Between Employees and Software Robots
A recently-published KPMG report, “Rise of the Humans 2,” indicates that the concept of humans and robots working together to deliver an outcome is becoming increasingly important. Indeed, when employees and smart, enterprise-grade RPA robots – meaning those that understand context, derive meaning, and anticipate change to deliver better and faster outcomes – work collaboratively, it can make for a very powerful partnership.
The removal of monotonous tasks not only makes for happier employees, but also allows them to take on higher-value roles. Shop Direct, one of U.K.’s largest pure-play digital retailers, for example has fraud advisors handling phone calls from distressed customers identifying and verifying fraudulent and genuine purchasing activity. Needless to say, it’s quite a lengthy process.
The company introduced a blended process with manual interventions, where the customer is still calling in and speaking to a person. The RPA-enabled process, robots take care of all the administrative verification box-ticking and new customer account establishment, significantly accelerating time to solution. And the time saved allows the now upskilled fraud analysts to have a more customer-centric conversation. Shop Direct has been able to return 328,000 hours annually (and rising) back to the business thanks to RPA. It is a win-win situation for both customers and employees.
Working together with IBM we are seeing firsthand the power of automation being made accessible to all. We’re helping joint customers like Walgreens deploy their strategic digital workforces. As a global Blue Prism partner, IBM offers clients deep expertise and a full range of automation solutions—from infrastructure to applications and business processes, in both on-premise and outsourced implementations—fully supported by IBM services and Watson’s AI capabilities.
The primary goal of truly smart software robots is to deliver a wide range of benefits to the business. These fall into three categories:
1. Driving Top Line Value:
- Reducing customer churn with faster execution of customer service requests
- Increasing insights with reporting of process anomalies
- Achieving faster time to market through automated launch processes.
2. Improving Bottom Line Profit:
- Reducing “cost to serve” by automating manual processes
- Lowering operational risk by collecting every nuance of ever process transaction
- Defending against fraud with real time anomaly reporting, while lowering the cost of compliance.
3. Reducing Risk:
- Saving and reporting every step that occurs in every process
- Ensuring adherence to stringent HIPPA requirements.
What we’ve noticed is that the forward thinking, contemporary enterprises are already imagining the digital worker as an augmentation to our human workforce. A new workforce that allows every person to be far more productive, collaborative and supportive to customers by giving them access to an infinite resources of execution 24 hours a day, offering new levels of service.