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Balancing the scales - Part 2

15 May 2019 Jonathan Faurie

There is a way around the need for employees to have a work life balance. Remember James Camron’s 1988 classic Terminator? Robots replacing human workers is becoming increasingly common  

The reality of a future workplace with humans working side-by-side and hand-in-hand with 'digital workers' - be they bots or automatons or AI - is dawning upon us.  

As our organizations transform digitally, it has become increasingly important for business leaders to have well thought through strategies, that would effectively employ AI, automation and human talent for an efficient, productive and conducive workplace.  

Enterprise Innovation spoke to Adrian Jones, EVP, APAC at Automation Anywhere about digital workers in the workplace, why we need them, and how we could best work with them.  

Why is it increasingly important for business leaders to consider what jobs can be automated, and how to automate them? 
As companies accelerate their digital transformation efforts, the workplace is continuously evolving to reflect new levels of innovation and unparalleled momentum that these changes bring. Automation Anywhere believes that the future workplace will encapsulate the best of human creativity and the power of digital technology.  

Business leaders need to start taking steps toward directing this change, by ensuring that their workplace and employees are trained to be able to harness the power of digital technology effectively. This would be crucial to ensuring that they continue to deliver significant value to their target audiences, especially since the automation of jobs serves to take the mundane and repetitive tasks out of an employee’s daily work, freeing them up to fully prioritise higher level responsibilities that can make a substantial difference to their work.  

With talent as an increasingly finite resource, automation helps to ensure that business tasks are completed, and employees feel empowered to take on higher levels of responsibility and more meaningful tasks. The automation of job processes also empowers more seamless data integration that can help employees deliver on a much higher level than before with the actionable insights they gain from this data.  

What are digital workers and how real is their introduction into the workplace of the future? 
At Automation Anywhere, we have introduced Digital Workers – ready to deploy digital personas that combine task-oriented, cognitive and analytical abilities to automate repetitive activities, creating the world’s first marketplace for the workforce of the future. While software bots are typically task or process-centric, Digital Workers are human-centric, and built to augment human workers in specific business functions, across a range of verticals.  

Some examples that we have introduced include Digital Accounts Payable Clerk and Digital Talent Sourcer that automate entire processes and perform multiple tasks in a set of sequences, such as regularly submitting invoices through the system from beginning to end with little to no supervision.  

We are already beginning to see them at workplaces all over the world, including corporations like Google, LinkedIn and Cisco that we work with. Even as we move toward becoming Digitally First in the near future, digital workers have a role to play in enhancing the strengths of our existing workforce and ultimately making businesses more efficient.  

Additionally, as businesses start embracing frontier technologies like Artificial Intelligence, digital workers will prove useful, allowing businesses to implement AI into business processes 70% faster and at less than half the cost incurred by deploying automation from the ground up.[1]   

Underpinned by Robotic Process Automation (RPA), organisations are able to build world-class Intelligent Digital Workforces, with software bots working side by side with employees to do much of the repetitive work in many industries with near-zero error rates, while dramatically reducing operational costs.  

What does automation mean for workers who find some aspects of their jobs being automated? 
As with any technological shift, there is understandably uncertainty among workers around how automation will impact them, however Automation Anywhere believes automation will truly augment the human enterprise, helping workers to refocus their efforts from repetitive and cumbersome activities to value-added work that exercises ingenuity, creativity, empathy and collaboration.  

Additionally, as data is increasingly becoming a business’ most important digital currency, the automation of work processes will help employees to tap onto disparate data sources to gain more insight into how they can best meet customer needs and thrive in their job functions.  

At Automation Anywhere, our vision is to remove the mundane parts of employees’ daily jobs, and in the process, make work more human. When workers find some aspects of their jobs becoming automated, this allows them to focus on what humans do best: using their creativity and ingenuity to drive productivity and innovation.  

With employee satisfaction directly linked to performance, they can look forward to more meaningful careers.  

How would intelligent machines — ranging from AI to intelligent assistants to RPA bots — redefine the way human beings work with machines? 
At Automation Anywhere, we envision a future workforce where humans work alongside digital workers, bringing together the best of human creativity and decision making with the power and depth of digital workforce technology.  

As we move toward this changing reality, humans and machines can no longer be siloed - each on their own will not be enough to drive businesses in the coming decades and will need to come together to unlock new levels of growth and innovation.  

Given the human-centric nature of intelligent machines, it brings the focus back to how we can augment and enhance the crucial roles that employees play. These machines and systems mirror human user actions and, in a non-intrusive way, handle complementary and repetitive tasks – from accurately filling in forms and moving files, to extracting specific data from documents and logging into applications.  

This will create a shift towards greater interdependency between humans and machines.  

Work hard...rest hard 
Adding his weight to the argument, we need to appreciate what Humans can do and machines cannot  

The insurance industry works off the principle that hard work pays the bills and that teamwork makes the dreamwork. However, while the industry works hard, it also plays hard. 

Looking after employees should be the primary objective of a company; a product or a service may be the heart of the company, but its employees are its soul. Value can be found in digital workers, but this needs to be managed.   

A robot may be always on and can work 365 days a year. However, they are programmable and can only effectively respond to specific situations. When there is a case where an empathic decision needs to be made, a robot or digital worker cannot be trusted. This is because the majority of key business decisions that we make are based on context which robots and digital workers cannot calculate. 

 

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