When people hear the term robots, they usually envision humanoid creatures that are programmed to look, act and work like us. In reality, at least in terms of robotic process automation, while the “working like us” part might be on target, this technology doesn’t even closely resemble its human counterparts. In fact, it’s really just a series of intelligent programs, workflows and applications that run behind the scenes to help businesses maximize productivity and efficiency. Essentially, RPA is something that is designed to help businesses and people work smarter.
Robotic process automation is most often leveraged as a tool to replace the need for humans to perform routine, repetitive manual tasks. Beyond this, however, RPA can be optimized to use analytics and best practices to continuously optimize work and improve business outcomes. Imagine what your organization could do if all the simple but necessary daily tasks were shifted from humans workers to robots. Now imagine how you could scale up or down instantly based on workflow demands, without the expense or hassle of adjusting personnel numbers.
Regardless of where you stand on the concept of RPA, it is widely acknowledged by experts across every industry to be a central component of the future of work. Business leaders and decision makers view robotic process automation as highly beneficial due to its ability to maximize output while also minimizing costs. On the other side of the coin, however, many front-line workers are resistant to RPA as they view artificial intelligence as a threat to their future and livelihood.
The biggest question that plagues businesses still remains whether or not RPA will eliminate the need for human workers altogether. There is no easy or straightforward answer to this question. In reality, some jobs will inevitably be eliminated. In fact, there are certain industries, such as banking, in which AI has already had a significant impact on staffing levels. The fact is, job elimination is not the goal of RPA. Rather than replace humans, this technology should be viewed as a tool for augmenting them.
The goal of robotic process automation is to create a better user experience at every level. From an employment standpoint, it’s about leaving the grunt work for the computer to handle and leveraging artificial intelligence to analyze and use data for improving operations. Increased internal efficiency leads to cost savings and ultimately a higher level of employee satisfaction. Externally, tools like self-service automation, proactive problem solving and faster resolution will dramatically improve customer engagement and happiness.
For now and well into the foreseeable future, at least, RPA should not be seen as a threat, but rather something that will free up intelligent and experienced workers to be able to apply their creativity and problem-solving skilled to more important issues that cannot be handled by technology alone. Beyond this, the increased adoption of automation will also open up new roles that did not exist 10 or even 5 years ago. So while some jobs will become obsolete, other opportunities will replace them.
In today’s highly-competitive world, organizations of every shape, size and industry are battling to stay ahead of the curve and remain profitable. Robotic process automation provides the solution, allowing businesses and their employees to work smarter, thereby improving their chances of achieving continued success well into the future.