When robotic process automation first hit the market, some thought it was too far-fetched to ever become a reality. But as more and more organizations began recognizing the many benefits – from increased productivity and efficiency to lower costs and fewer errors – people started worrying, wondering whether this technology would spell the end of the human workforce as we knew it. Would robots really start taking over jobs? To answer that question, those asking it must look inward.
In reality, the impact RPA has on the workforce will depend largely on how humans themselves respond. When faced with the rising adoption of automation, workers will likely take one of two paths. The first group will continue to focus on the type of work they’ve always done, but do so more efficiently thanks to the assistance of digital labor. The second will take this as a golden opportunity to pursue their ambitions, increase education and broaden their skill sets, put their creativity and innovation to work and move on to more value-added tasks. In either case, the organization will benefit, as will most of the employees.
In particular, roles that have a primary focus on people, such as customer support and call center agents, have the potential to benefit greatly from robotic process automation. Instead of being bogged down by repetitive, menial tasks that can easily (and more quickly) be handled by software, agents will be freed up to tackle more complex issues requiring a human touch. Furthermore, the improved allocation of resources afforded by RPA will allow agents to prevent issues from occurring in the first place. This can dramatically improve both customer and employee satisfaction rating.
This concept can also be applied to the IT help desk. Rather than waiting until system problems arise and scrambling to fix them in a timely and effective manner, help desk agents can use the extra time robotic process automation provides them with to monitor and proactively address technical issues before they occur. Imagine how impressed the VP of Sales will be when he gets a call from IT letting him know his hard drive was about to fail, but it’s been taken care of.
In both of these scenarios, the human worker is enhancing their interactions with their colleagues and/or customers. And since robotic process automation is there to take on the routine, manual tasks, the human agents themselves are also able to improve.
The reality is, very few organizations are focusing on using robotic process automation to eliminate jobs. Instead, they are focused on automating tasks, which in turn will improve productivity, streamline how work is completed, eliminate errors and cut costs. In other words, companies implementing RPA are not doing so to replace human workers, but augment and make their lives easier. As a result, everyone benefits – from employees and management to clientele to the organization’s bottom line. It really is a win-win.