Meet the ‘bots
If you’re not already sharing work with bots and artificial intelligence, you soon will be, according to a recent article in Forbes:
“Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is today one of the fastest growing sectors of business technology, yet one which is often misunderstood…RPA is indeed something entirely new, and as part of a broader strategy for workflow technology, can enable levels of efficiency and digitalization previously out of reach. RPA is one of the four essential pillars of Intelligent Automation.”
We define those four essential pillars as Strategy, Technology & Data, People & Processes, and Governance.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial intelligence (AI) are quickly changing just about every aspect of how we live our lives, and our working lives certainly aren’t exempt from this. While we expect technology companies to innovate and embrace new technology, today, even those organizations whose main business is far from the realm of technology (service industries, government offices, personnel departments, accountants and others) are adopting these seemingly “futuristic” technologies.
What’s the Strategy?
Let’s be clear…organizations don’t adopt new technology simply because it’s cool (although let’s be clear--what you can accomplish in the office with AI and RPA certainly is!). Organizations adopt new technology because it’s a significant improvement over the old way of doing things – it’s easier, faster, more accurate, more cost effective, ensures ongoing ability to compete and so on).
About the Technology and Data
Robotic process automation (RPA) is computer software that helps businesses do simple jobs that would otherwise be done by a human. RPA does these jobs faster and more accurately than a human can. It does this by harnessing software bots that replicate human interaction across multiple platforms. These so-called ‘swivel chair interfaces’ enable a bot to be looking up a document, browsing the internet and accessing a database almost simultaneously.
There are two main types of RPA, ‘attended’ and ‘unattended’ bots. The former acts like an employee’s assistant, relying on human intervention to trigger it when it is needed to perform an activity. The latter processes volumes of work autonomously without human interaction, base on a pre-configured set of rules – great for repetitive office tasks that humans generally find boring. Bots don’t get bored or lose focus! Check out our eBook: Robotic Process Automation Made Simple
Artificial Intelligence (AI) differs from RPA in it’s cognitive capability. While RPA is good at performing repeatable, programmable tasks, AI adds elements of human-like “thinking” and “learning” to its ability to perform repeated tasks that are more complicated and diverse – for instance tasks that have exceptions to the normal rules. AI can figure out why invoices or bills haven’t been paid and work through to a solution; it can correct bad records with out-of-date information and streamline processes. An AI system can learn to understand documents, listen to voicemails, interact with customers using conversational interfaces, and use predictive decision making in intelligent ways.
People and Processes
RPA and AI are good for business and also for employees and customers. Bots and AI run 24/7, seven days a week, freeing up your employees. Rather than getting bogged down in routine, easily repeatable processes that are considered mundane to human workers, the staff can spend more time on more creative work and decision-making, and as a result their jobs become less stressful and also more enjoyable. What’s more, robots don’t make mistakes. They do what they are programmed to do without distraction, boredom or misreading data.
The intelligent, automated processes that RPA and AI bring to businesses enable better, faster, more efficient internal workflow processes and external customer service, often in web-based self-serve options that enable customers to take care of issues 24/7 without waiting in a “call center” queue.
Every business, professional and governmental organization must follow specific processes, procedures and legal requirements. Governance -- the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented) – can be improved by reliance on RPA and AI to ensure that all data related to governance is compiled and delivered where it needs to go, when it needs to be there.
Getting Comfortable with the ‘bots
When everyone in the organization is working towards is a system that uses a combination of People, Robotic Processes and Artificial Intelligence, the change in technology goes smoothly. The staff, who may initially be worried about their jobs find out that rather than job loss, they are empowered by new technology. Management realizes that the advantages in efficiency, scalability and available data for decision making far outweigh the cost of acquiring and setting up RPA and AI. And, the customers, upon which all businesses rely, are swiftly and efficiently served. RPA an AI – a win for all!