Like most people, coffee is one of the most important rituals in my morning routine. There’s something about the aroma and taste that kick-starts my ability to have a great day. So, imagine my surprise when I found out that a favorite coffee shop was closed before I had to jump on an early-morning flight home. The employees were in the shop, but the gate locked out coffee aficionados, like me, who really needed that jolt of caffeine.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
With the increased use of technology around the globe, the world is more connected than ever before. The capabilities of technology are improving quickly, so more and more employees are working with increasingly advanced technologies.
The UK has a productivity problem. We’re lagging well behind our European neighbours and have been for decades. One of the reasons? Advocates of the tired theory of taking the ‘path of least resistance,’ discourage businesses from trying anything new when a tried way of doing something is available.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools are being widely adopted across a wide range of enterprises and industries. By executing narrowly defined, repeatable tasks, RPA bots can drive dramatic productivity increases and significant cost reductions. For as little as $10,000 to $15,000 a year to deploy and maintain, a single bot can perform the routine, administrative tasks of five to ten people.
Towards the end of 2017 and early 2018 we attended the ‘UiPath Forward: The User Summit on RPA at Full Speed,’ in New York, London and Bangalore. The conference offered valuable insights surrounding automation and digital service delivery—here are our key takeaways.
The ‘Automation Odyssey’ is About to Begin
Two years ago, the World Economic Forum (WEF) published its Future of Jobs report – exploring employment, skills and workforces in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This sparked debate – and growing concern – around a changing global employment landscape as the result of disruptive technologies, studded with widening skill gaps, new jobs and job displacement.
With the rapid advancement of automation technology, some are worried that new solutions might supersede the process automation that RPA offers. However, it is not a case of new technology superseding, but rather, complementing and working together with existing RPA capabilities.
In 2017, organisations started to get serious about automation. Research from the wider automation industry has revealed a lot about how businesses are developing and controlling their automation programmes. I was recently at the RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) in BFSI (Banking, Financial Services and Insurance) show in London; here’s a snapshot of the top automation concerns amongst the event attendees I spoke to:
The entire source-to-pay spectrum in procurement stares at the eventuality named automation. With automation having the potential to lower procurement costs, generate greater savings and render greater value, its aggressive foray into the source-to-pay spectrum remains only a matter of time.
Yesterday’s sci-fi flicks and fantasy films like Star Wars depicted the future with robots, virtual realities and self-driven cars.
Today’s outsourcers and shared services operations are expected to deliver not just cost savings, but also innovation, agility, quality and growth. At the same time the bar has been raised when it comes to expectations with customers having lower tolerance for mistakes, delays or poor service. In fact, Gartner rates customer experience at the top of CEOs’ priorities for 2017. It is the ability for organisations to respond and adapt quickly to both customer requests and changing market circumstances that can provide that key point of differentiation.
For organisations that are looking to strengthen their position in established industry sectors, adopting new technologies may provide the opportunity to:
1. Demonstrate innovative thinking to customers
Proving to customers that your organisation is committed to continually improving the manner in which it conducts its business by adopting new technologies should lead to better customer awareness of your business and a stronger reputation for customer service.
In a maturing market, buyers are becoming increasingly aware that the umbrella term “intelligent automation” comprises a broad spectrum of functionality, ranging from teachable bots that execute repeatable and scripted tasks, to more advanced cognitive tools that apply pattern recognition and language processing capabilities to analyse data, make decisions and learn from experience.
Rick Sturge is EVP Business Development at Firstsource Solutions, with over two decades' experience in outsourcing and business transformation. We turned to Rick for the latest in our Life Lessons series - and received lessons aplenty...
What has been the single most significant development to impact your profession or area of business during your career, and why?
Less than two per cent of the global outsourcing market is affected by robotic process automation (RPA). And yet, some estimates show that the growth of RPA use may approach 90 per cent year-over-year, according to an interview with Everest Group VP Sarah Burnett at a recent seminar organised by Accenture.