AI & Automation are playing a major role in transforming businesses

Criticization and appreciation is a part of the game. And, something similar is happening with disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and advanced automation. Many see it as a force of change which will lead to growth, whereas few others criticize disruptive technologies for being the reason of job loss.

Putting aside all such debates, it is high time to admit that disruptive technologies have led to new forms of competition and it has become imperative for businesses to duke it out. However, if we turn history pages, we will be convinced that automation has always led to the creation of a new set of jobs. It is only that transformations in technologies demand patience, as it takes some time for the transition waves to settle down.

Similarly, advanced automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are in its stage of evolvement but at the same time, it has also encompassed people, businesses, and economies. It opens the world of enormous opportunities – where businesses can evolve at an incredible speed and the workforce can learn new skills to perform modern-day business operations.

According to a report published by Accenture, “companies that will grow and dominate their industries will be those that systematically embrace automation across their organizations using it to drive the changes to their products, services, and even business models as they continue to transform themselves and their industry.”

Advanced Automation Set to Change Business Landscape

Processes are becoming efficient, dependency on the human workforce has significantly reduced, tasks are being completed with more accuracy and precision, customers get an engaging and interactive platform – Artificial Intelligence (Ai) and advanced automation are changing the business landscape at an unprecedented speed.

It won’t be wrong to say that these disruptive technologies introduce a paradigm shift in the way companies function and the human workforce carry out diverse business activities. Enhancing efficiency is not the only aim, but with advanced automation, businesses can go beyond traditional boundaries of maximising productivity and profitability. Disruptive technologies rather support in long term growth of business organizations, where main focus lies on building a personalized relationship with customers, becoming a brand, delivering true value and enhancing customer loyalty and retention. In short, disruptive technologies such as intelligent automation enables business in remaining fit for even future performances.

Time for Humans to Team-Up with Their Digital Co-Workers

Gone are days when humans guided machines to perform various business operations. With cognitive abilities turning into a reality, it is the automated business system that guides the human workforce. Programmed machines are now performing tasks exactly as a trained employee. And, in some cases better than them.

With cognitive abilities, advanced automation solutions enable the business system to analyze and respond in an urgent situation. This gives businesses a responsive platform, which supports businesses in eliminating performance bottlenecks both inside and outside the organization. As a result, streamlined process supports in seamless business workflow, which significantly helps in achieving organizational goals efficiently.

It is high time the human workforce must team-up with their new digital co-workers. And, it can bring innumerable benefits for them. Programmed machines share much of the workload; employees get an opportunity to learn new skills required for modern business processes; advanced automation saves much of their time, which enables them to be more creative while performing diverse business tasks.

Benefits that Businesses Can Gain

Technologies have always supported business organizations in performing operational and productional activities. But with evolving technologies such as advanced automation, it is time for businesses to reap innumerable benefits.

Advanced automation solutions are designed with advanced business models such as SaaS, Six-Sigma, and Lean production. There various proven business models together play a key role in cutting operational costs. By enabling in updating the business system with the latest development in technology, ability to control entire business activity even from a remote location, supporting in optimum resource utilization and many more – advanced automation solutions in cutting costs by a great margin.

Disruptive technologies are being widely recognized for making business processes robust and efficient. With approaches such as Six-Sigma businesses can ensure that tasks are completed within allocated budget and time; variations in finished product and other services are kept to a minimum level, and most importantly it supports in reducing the error-rate. Lean production, on other hand, supports in eliminating wastes from processes which further aids in achieving organizational goals successfully.

Besides, advanced automation also enables in creating an interactive and engaging platform for customers. With automated processes such as Sales and Marketing, businesses can ensure that customers are informed of sales, discounts and other promotional offers right on time. Customers can put their queries and businesses can deploy advanced measures for an instant solution. This encourages customers to be loyal and also largely impacts their buying decision.

Therefore, it won’t be wrong to say that disruptive technologies enable business in performing robustly at all fronts. With competition getting steep, technologies such as advanced automation is key to success as it can play a larger role in delivering complete satisfaction to customers.

AI and Automation Is the Greater Force

With advanced automation technologies transforming businesses at a breakneck speed, leaders are set to gain a wider market share. As the report published by Accenture further informs “Intelligent automation will enable enterprises to innovate and evolve by increasing their agility, reducing the complexity of systems and operations, accelerating their time to market, and creating the ability to experiment continually with new products and services.”

In the prevalent technology-driven environment, businesses cannot grow using traditional business approaches. They should rather adapt to the change introduced by the new age disruptive technologies. Embracing intelligent automation, companies can drive demands and can successfully deploy advanced business methods to fulfill customer preferences.

Technological solutions are playing a larger role in transforming businesses and is helping them in securing long-term growth. But what matters is – how soon business leaders realize this fact that AI and intelligent automation solutions are the greater force, which can in no way be overlooked?

Source: itproportal-AI & Automation are playing a major role in transforming businesses

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Turning the ship toward automation

My recent post about whether the proportion of offshoring in a sourcing portfolio matters anymore got a lot of attention. As I wrote in that piece (“Why Offshoring Doesn’t Matter“), sourcing buyers are eager to incorporate automation into their environments, but some service providers are struggling to adapt to the new digital world, largely because that pivot requires them to cannibalize existing revenue to implement automation and digitization. Not only does the financial impact slow them down, so do their corporate cultures.

Let’s take a look at the obstacles to automation from a service provider’s perspective:

1. The risk of changing. Traditional service providers have built their businesses selling services that are delivered by people. Even if the price of automation was the same as the price of people (which it is not), revamping an entire portfolio is a big job. And selling services that are entirely new to the market is risky. Service providers that embrace automation risk underbidding the solution and losing money or paling in comparison to a competitor that already has it figured out.

Despite the risks, service providers today cannot afford to stick their heads in the sand. Even cautiously adding digitally automated components to a solution at or close to renewal time is not enough to keep up with changing market demand. The fact is, buyers are not looking for service providers that are lukewarm about automation; they are finding and investing in service providers that embrace it.

And many service providers are investing in digital, automated solutions, as I was fortunate enough to see during a recent tour of several campuses. What remains unclear is whether their sales forces and internal bureaucracies are as willing to embrace the change as their technologists.

2. The challenge of changing. Turning the barge is hard. Service providers have built efficient machines that keep hundreds of thousands of people busy day in and day out. Their cultures emphasize safety over risk. Offering cost-effective services by following carefully-laid-out processes (considered safe) is often seen as preferable to investing in innovative, new solutions (considered risky). Service provider management bonuses are tied to profitability, and profitability is tied to keeping big workforces busy. Career paths at these firms have been designed for engineers who graduate from writing and maintaining systems to managing people who write and maintain systems.

We are now at a point where conformity to process can be a barrier to progress. Yet, for most service providers, the prospect of overhauling an entire business model is daunting. How will managers earn bonuses when their clients demand fewer people, not more? What would management even look like if it involves supervising software robots? Knowing the magnitude of this kind of change, and knowing what we know about human nature, it’s easy to see how such an obstacle will not be easy to overcome.

Some argue that demand for advances in internet of things (IoT) technologies, automation, cognitive computing and digitally savvy robots will keep the legions of developers at IT services firms busy for generations — they will simply write different kinds of solutions than they do today.

And while this may be true, most traditional service providers will struggle in the transition from today’s business model to tomorrow’s. They may understand what is happening in their markets, and they may understand the technology that’s required to meet the new demands of their customers, but they are still saddled with an infrastructure built around people-based services.

The nature of the challenge itself is new to service providers. I have no doubt they possess the technological wherewithal to compete in tomorrow’s market. Will they recognize that the barriers are cultural? Or will they try to solve what is fundamentally a behavior challenge with more technology and more people?

In this new era, I give the smaller players the advantage. Changing the hearts and minds of 10,000 people is a lot easier than changing the hearts and minds of 100,000 people.

Source: cio.com-Turning the ship toward automation

4 steps to prepare employees for robotic process automation

After the 1938 radio drama War of the Worlds proclaimed “the Martians are Coming,” reports alleged that people ran panicked into the streets. Today, something not too dissimilar is happening with the adoption of robotic process automation – software robots that execute processes in the same way a person does.

But this is no hoax. In fact, research from ISG Insights finds that more than two-thirds of business operations leaders plan to deploy software bots by 2020. And the potential for impact on employees is huge.

Yet the prospect of automation doesn’t need to be met with panic. The fact is, when properly explained and launched with employee involvement, automation can greatly benefit both employees and the companies they work for.

Sadly, most initiatives that are designed to improve business performance fail because the organization doesn’t adequately prepare its employees for the change. To make this type of initiative work, here’s four key steps:

Demystify the Robot

Let’s face it: people are terrified that robots will take over their jobs – and take over the world. How could employees not be suspicious of robots? Help employees understand what RPA is and what it is not. RPA software is configured to eliminate mundane tasks associated with many business processes – the tasks most employees would gladly relinquish.

Few people relish the “swivel chair” rekeying of information between and among applications or extracting data from one system to validate it against another. Employees should view RPA “bots” as teammates, willing and able to perform repetitive tasks without complaint and with unmatched speed and accuracy.

Use Employees for Their Brains

Business leaders can create enthusiasm and support for RPA by engaging employees in developing the RPA strategy and including them in evaluating opportunities for automation. Employees know precisely where bottlenecks or redundancies occur. Their imagination and vision can be a means to rekindling the creative capacities that may have been stifled while performing recurring processes.

Adhere to the adage that involvement leads to commitment. Involving employees at a higher level creates excitement around what is possible and helps them understand where and how they might fit into a changing organization.

Identify Talent to Guide the RPA Journey

Unquestionably, the quest for cost reduction is a driver behind automation adoption. And with good reason. The ROI on a typical investment is more than 500 percent. Yet, many don’t understand from the outset the impact automation can have on speed-to-market and revenue cycle improvements and how it can lead to new opportunities for employees to perform higher-value work.

Train and reskill employees to become process assessment experts and help them acquire skills related to managing virtual workforces. Case in point: a premier insurance company recently deployed RPA and was immediately able to bind more policies faster and more accurately simply because it could process broker requests for quotes by eliminating tedious work that underwriters had been performing.

Ultimately, management retrained and redeployed workers to accommodate the increased demand for policy binding.

Communicate Early and Often

Including employees in defining the impact of RPA on their jobs and the related upskilling opportunities is critical. It should be non-negotiable. The possibility that RPA will eliminate human workers is not a definitive and inevitable outcome.

Give employees the opportunity to self-identify the roles within a process that are likely to be eliminated. Typically, RPA is deployed as part of a larger business process made up of a series of mundane or repetitive tasks that do not fall to individual employees. When employees and their managers begin to understand the operational complexities of RPA, they can work together to identify opportunities for creating new jobs that require new skills.

While RPA may start in a specific business unit, its impact and operating results will spread rapidly once it is proven. Formalize a communication strategy and structure for discussing RPA and be prepared to take the message company-wide. Stay in front of the message. Failure to do so will result in employees coming to their own conclusions and creating their own networks to hypothesize the impact of robotics.

Cutting costs will always be essential for competing in the global economy – and robotics are here to stay. But along with the opportunity to automate and streamline processes comes the responsibility to prepare employees. Who better than existing employees to help lead the charge into RPA?

Source: information-management.com -4 steps to prepare employees for robotic process automation

Why have so many sourcing advisors failed with automation?

Remember when sourcing advisors has become the “new analysts” and dominated so many outsourcing discussions? Remember when it was the norm for clients to bring in the sourcing specialists whenever they needed a deal done, not only to get a good price, but also to make sure they selected the right partner and had a strategic view of the future? Remember when most advisors were not only contract experts, they were also strategists, researchers, sounding boards and respected brands you could hang your hat on… Just look at our 2011 study when advisors lorded the influence over everyone bar direct peer feedback:

Fast forward to today, with all the sourcing advisors doubling-down in RPA to compensate for the drying up outsourcing deals and confidently hoping their outsourcing clients will immediately turn to them to help them grapple with the new outsourcing-cum-automation model. Surely their ability to craft deals for clients will put them in pole position to take their clients down the RPA path…

Let’s visit our brand new (still-in-the-field) study on the 2017 State of Automation, and it’s telling us a very different story when we spoke with 56 enterprises actually deploying RPA:

Less than half the RPA buyers view either consultants of sourcing advisors as influential in their automation sourcing. Even conferences are impacting automation buyers more.

So what’s gone so wrong with advisors in automation?

Credibility. Suddenly many advisors who were previously hawking their deep understanding of HCL versus TCS’s FTE rate cards are now suddenly adding their names to white papers on automation and trying to insert themselves into serious client conversations about said topic. It’s just not credible.

Smarter clients. The swirl of information over social channels is so intense these days that most clients’ knowledge isn’t that far behind the experts. In many cases, you’ll learn more about RPA talking with a client in beta mode than an advisor or analyst trying to impress you at a conference. That is why internal channels, such as procurement and plain old desk research is such an influence factor these days.

Archaic focus on headcount reduction. Just because you could create simple cases for headcount reduction with “take the people” outsourcing, doesn’t mean you can deploy the same draconian strategy to automation. Even the most clueless governance executive knows you can just fire people before you programmed some manual activities into a piece of software. Sure, there are serious productivity gain to be gleaned over time through the digitization of manual processes, but to tie this to immediate headcount takeout just doesn’t work.

Competition from service providers. For the first time, sourcing advisors and service providers are going head to head, and automation is the promoter of the fight. When clients want to understand RPA and a partner so help them roll it out, they need people who are in the game for the long haul, not a broker to dip in and out and get a deal done. Many of the sourcing advisors are just not transformation people – they are great at helping clients plan their outsourcing weddings, but marriage guidance councilors they truly are not. Service providers depend on long-term, complex and often messy relationships to keep them employed and busy… and RPA really fits the bill. While it poses significant threats to their margins over the long term, they cannot afford to be not playing in the automation game. What’s more, most the BPO service providers are rapidly running RPA in their own delivery organizations, which is giving them the experience and lower cost base to be effective.

The traditional consulting model doesn’t work with RPA. The advisors are struggling to scale up talent bases that can understand the technology and deal with the considerable change management tensions within their clients. RPA is murky and complex, and not something you can train bus loads of 28-year-old MBAs to master overnight. Meanwhile, we are seeing some advisors simply do some brokering of RPA software deals for small fees, only to make a hasty exit from the client as they do not have the expertise to roll-out effective implementation and change management programs.

RPA specialist consultants few and far between. Pure-play RPA advisors are explaining this is not quite so easy and requires a lot more of a centralized, concise strategy. There are simply not enough of these firms in the market, especially with Genfour having been snapped up recently by Accenture. With only a small handful of boutique specialists to go around, these firms can pick and choose their clients and command high rates. Quality RPA advisory boutiques, such as Symphony Ventures, are literally turning business away as they cannot scale fast enough to cope with the demand.

Advisors are not producing research. There’s a reason why procurement folks, analysts and simple desk work actually sit above advisors in the new data – clients want product specific benchmarks and real experienced advice that they are simply not getting from the advisors. All the advisors are putting out is the same of tired “drama” about robots replacing workers, and how to think “strategically” about RPA. While I like some of the stuff I see coming out of the likes of McKinsey, KPMG and EY, it’s just not giving me the real deal about which RPA vendor I need to be working with, how these tools truly stack up against each other and how I can actually build a bloody bot. That is why many clients are getting more reality from attending a conference than the lovely lunch they just got bought from their nice friendly consulting partner.

Turgid, hackneyed marketing doesn’t work anymore. Cheesy pictures of robots and the same endless stream of 300-foot view puff that sounds just like the last piece you read on LinkedIn by some weird dude who you can’t actually recall allowing into your network, isn’t helping matters. These advisors are relying on their brand and past reputation for credibility in a world where clients want to see some meat on the bones.

The Bottom-line: Advisors need a vastly different approach to automation to avoid complete irrelevance in this market

This industry has literally entered into a destructive war over automation, and the need for credible, independent and experienced advice has never been so in demand from customers. The skills to make automation a feasible profitable reality are few and far between, while greedy corporate leaders demand cost savings that simply are not achievable if their organizations fail to make the necessary investments and partnerships. Did companies become world class at HR overnight because they bought an expensive Workday subscription? Or stellar at sales and marketing because they slammed in a Salesforce suite? So why should they become amazing at cost-driven automation simply because they went and bought some licenses from an RPA vendor promising bot farms and virtual labor forces?

RPA and Intelligent Automation have sparked a major war in the worlds of outsourcing and operations, where many battles are being fought – and the winners will be those who are in this for the long haul, who can absorb some short-term pain in order to benefit from the larger spoils further down the road. While automation is killing outsourcing today – costing many people their jobs, their reputations and destroying the profitability of legacy engagements, those who can hunker down, focus on self-contained projects where they can fix one broken process at a time, can get stakeholders onside by demonstrating meaningful, impactful outcomes without major resource investments, will be the winners.

Advisors who can win out are those who can take their clients through this journey – one process chain at a time, evaluating all the right solutions and developing milestones that are realistic. Sadly the easy gigs where you could roll out of bed for a couple of million in billings are now extinct. The key is to play the long game, invest in the new skills you need to be truly credible in this market, and produce credible research that gets down and dirty in the weeds, not that 300 ft helicopter view that everyone’s heard over and over again…

Source: hfs-Why have so many sourcing advisors failed with automation?

How Service Providers are Adopting Robotic Process Automation Internally. Part 2

In our last post, we discussed how service providers were using robotic process automation (RPA) to dramatically change the way outsourcing is designed and delivered. This technology, which allows companies to automate support processes, data manipulation or any other transactional activity, is revolutionizing the outsourcing industry and provides an attractive alternative to combat the growing costs of offshoring. This can dramatically improve the way outsourcing service is provided and offer many benefits to clients.

We have already discussed how RPA can improve scalability, offer better support and improve efficiency. Today, we will continue describing the benefits of adopting RPA, why outsourcers need an alternative to outsourcing and how service providers will continue to use RPA in the future to lower costs and deliver better service to their customers.

A new model for global service providers

Although the cost of labor in Asia is still significantly lower than in the U.S. and Europe, it is rapidly catching up. Wages in China have consistently risen by 12% each year since 2001. [1] This, coupled with mounting political pressure to bring jobs home is making many outsourcers reconsider their past strategies.

In order to be successful in the coming years, it is important for companies to rethink the way they design and deliver their services. According to industry consultants at the Everest Group, there are three principles for reimagining global services and automation comes first. “Automation and intelligence lie at the heart of our ability to reimagine technology services, because automation helps us deliver breakthrough outcomes without blowing the cost model out of the water.” [2] Taking an automation first approach that focuses on delivering innovation while maintaining costs allows companies to stay competitive in dramatically changing global markets. This is driving an unprecedented adoption of RPA, with the market seeing an expected annual growth rate of 60.5% between 2014 and 2020. [3]

Benefits of adopting RPA

By giving service providers the ability to use automation to mimic human actions and complete tasks in the same way that a person would, automation can reduce operating costs while allowing the organization to stay agile and responsive. Our last post discussed several of the high-level benefits of adopting RPA. Today, we will discuss some of the more specific benefits the technology can provide to outsourcers.

  • Deeper insights & analytics – RPA can be leveraged to provide automated in-depth logging and reporting, allowing users to gather data more efficiently. This can allow the company to gain insights into processes, improve efficiency, reduce errors and lower costs.
  • Rapid ROI – The efficiency of automation allows companies to roll out new features faster. This can dramatically increase the speed with which they attain a positive ROI for new solutions.
  • Reduced redundancy – Human workers often perform redundant tasks and do unnecessary work. Automated processes can automatically identify these redundancies and eliminate them, improving efficiency and reducing costs.
  • Better management ability – RPA naturally lends itself to better governance and compliance. Managers can look at statistics in a dashboard, easily turn off or adjust processes with the click of a button and generate reports and visualizations quickly. This allows them to gain finer control over day-to-day operations without investing more time or energy in the process.
  • Leverage human employees – Although many workers are afraid that automation will take their jobs, it can actually allow companies to assign their workers more rewarding and stimulating jobs. Creative roles and management roles still need to be performed by human workers and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

Outsourcing providers will only continue to find more applications for RPA, using it to make their services more efficient, more reliable and better able to meet the requirements of their clients. As the need to find alternatives to increasingly costly and politically difficult offshoring increases, a greater number of companies must turn to automation in order to stay competitive.

Source: Softomotive-How Service Providers are Adopting Robotic Process Automation Internally. Part 2

7 AI Trends to Watch in 2017

What’s hot in AI this year? Here’s what the analysts say.

Semi-Supervised AI

Unsupervised learning, e.g., when the machine “learns” what is a spam email without first looking at a lot of emails labeled “spam” or “not spam,” is the holy grail of the AI field according to its leading practitioners.

An interim step on the journey to unsupervised learning is a hybrid approach, with some of the data labeled, but letting the machine guess the labels for the rest of the data, using associations. Google has developed one such technique, called Graph-based learning, which uses semi-supervised learning. Using its Knowledge Graph technology, which makes relation associations between words, Google is able to leverage the associations to replace the cumbersome task of labeling all of the data. Google is already using this technology for many of its products like question answering, reminders, visual object recognition, dialogue understanding, and smart email replies. Semi-supervised learning is expected to see increasing usage for very large data sets, where data labeling is an issue, especially around vision and language.

Voice assistants for the home proliferate

VoiceLabs estimates that 33 million voice-activated devices will be installed in the U.S. by the end of 2017. Amazon (Alexa), Microsoft (Cortana), Google (Google Assistant), and Apple (Siri) are investing heavily in bringing consumers into their own devices’ ecosystem by inventing ingenious ways for lock-in. One way to win customers will be offering exclusive features or specific discounts (e.g., inclusive subscriptions to content channels for a certain time period.

Social Chatbots

Social media-based messaging services in China such as WeChat have established and popular chatbots to aid in daily tasks. Facebook is just beginning to drive integration through the use of adverts which link to chatbots, as well as sponsored adverts in Facebook Messenger. These virtual agents will grow in presence and popularity, streamlining eCommerce activities such as enabling users to book flights and hotels, or to order items directly by speaking with a bot through an app.

But they are moving rapidly from consumer applications to offering assistance business users. A survey of corporate executives found that 32% said voice recognition chatbots are the most used type of AI tech in their workplace. Gartner predicts that chatbots will power 85% of all customer service interactions by the year 2020. Slack, Skype, Oracle, Salesforce, other enterprise messaging and collaboration platforms and numerous startups offer in-house or software-as-a-service functionality, helping employees do their jobs faster and better. Like the smartphone, business users of virtual assistants will eventually want these artificial intelligences to follow them throughout the day—possibly giving rise to Bring Your Own Robot (BYOR) movement.

AI as extension of enterprise IT

The enterprise use cases that are attracting the most investment today are automated customer service agents, quality management investigation and recommendation systems, diagnosis and treatment systems, and fraud analysis and investigation. The use cases that will experience the fastest revenue growth over the next five years are public safety and emergency response, pharmaceutical research and discovery, diagnosis and treatment systems, supply and logistics, quality management investigation and recommendation systems, and fleet management. The ability to recognize and respond to data flows using algorithms and rule-based logic enables AI applications to automate a broad range of functions across many industries and augment the work employees, making them more productive.

Self-driving grows up

According to McKinsey, self-driving cars will save an estimated 300,000 lives per decade by reducing fatal traffic accidents. This is expected to save $190 billion in annual critical care and triage costs. With Google alone racking up over 1 million miles testing autonomous vehicles, focus will shift from potential benefits to the necessary regulation. Legislators and policymaker will start the long process of designing and implementing the new legislation. 2020 could be the first year to see a marketable autonomous vehicle and society must begin to prepare for that day. We will see more lobbying groups in Washington DC and more vendor and user coalitions forming, to prepare the ground for widespread use.

The many faces and uses of hardware

Alternative hardware platforms such as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), application specific integrated circuits (ASICs), and specialized processor architectures will increasingly compete for attention and investment dollars with Graphics processing units (GPUs), which have been the dominant hardware platform for AI applications, specifically deep learning systems. As AI algorithms change to account for applications like autonomous driving or personalized medicine with dynamic inputs, there is a case for having memory storage on the processor itself. The evolving nature of algorithms and workloads will determine what architecture is best suited for which application.

The emergence of the AI services market

As happened recently with big data and data science, there is emerging opportunity for services related to AI, including vendor selection, implementation, training, application and algorithm development and integration, and consulting. As the skills and experience related to machine learning and AI are in short supply, we will see expansion of the on-demand services provided by cloud vendors.

Source: straighttalk.hcltech.com-7 AI Trends to Watch in 2017

How Service Providers are Adopting Robotic Process Automation Internally. Part 1

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is rapidly changing the way outsourcing service providers design and deliver their solutions. As this technology evolves and becomes more powerful while an emerging global middle class, demanding middle class wages (i), drives up offshoring costs, service providers are being forced to consider alternative solutions to keep their costs competitive and deliver better, more efficient services to clients. One of the primary areas they are looking to is automation. Automation is quickly becoming a dominant force in the global economy. It currently accounts for 10% of GDP growth and 16% of labor productivity growth annually, and will continue to become more important in the coming years (ii). Service providers are looking to harness this power, allowing them to take advantage of the growing capabilities of automation solutions to augment their services and deliver competitive pricing to clients.

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

RPA is any technology that allows companies to automate support processes, data manipulation and other transactional activities. It allows service providers to significantly improve their response times and deliver better, more cost-effective services to clients. It can encompass several areas, including business processes, IT support, accounting, administration and workflow. Some areas can be almost entirely automated. For example, studies show that 69% of the work currently done in data processing by human workers could be automated. This work accounts for 16% of the total time spent working in the United States (iii). The ability of automation to adapt to such a wide range of roles and take the place of so many human workers gives service providers the flexibility they need to reduce their reliance on offshoring and reimplement jobs in onshore locations while maintaining costs and improving service to clients.

What advantages does RPA give service providers?

RPA offers many advantages over traditional outsourcing. It allows providers to leverage the power of automation to augment their human workforce, improve cycle time and increase accuracy. Other benefits include rapid scalability, better support, and greater efficiency.

  • Scale to meet demand – One of the greatest advantages of using RPA is that services can quickly scale to meet current demand. Without the need to hire additional workers, source physical locations and perform all associated HR tasks, there is much less overhead and infrastructure associated with scaling. Service providers using RPA can simply allocate more virtual resources to a process with the click of a button, allowing companies to maintain optimal resource allocation while always meeting the demands of end users.
  • Deliver better support – Automation solutions allow service providers to bring up information, answer questions and solve problems faster than ever before. It is now possible for routine issues to be automatically resolved, dramatically reducing human workload while increasing end-user satisfaction.
  • Increased reliability – Humans are naturally prone to errors. The very abilities that allow human workers to be incredibly adaptable to new situations also means that they are never perfectly suited to any one particular task. RPA, on the other hand, can be tailored to the task at hand, performing it at multiple times the speed of a human worker with little to no risk of error.
  • Improve efficiency – The costs of labor in many traditionally affordable markets have risen dramatically in recent years. In order to deliver better cost efficiency, service providers are turning to RPA to allow them to improve productivity with a smaller workforce. This dramatically reduces costs while making it possible to repatriate jobs.

Conclusions

The automation revolution is already here. It is estimated that currently available technologies could replace approximately 50% of the of the world’s work activity (iv). Companies that ignore this coming trend will inevitably be left behind.

RPA offers many benefits to organizations looking to improve speed and reduce costs without sacrificing accuracy or reliability. However, in order to be implemented successfully, it is important that it be a high level strategic decision with buy-in from business and IT leaders. Stakeholders across the organization must be able to provide the necessary support and resources to make the initiative a success. It is also important that client organizations choose their service provider organizations wisely. Partners should be able to work with the client to meet their unique needs and deliver a comprehensive proof-of-concept before deployment. This allows clients to reduce their risks while investing in a forward-thinking strategy. Ultimately, with the right service provider partner, companies can realize the full potential of automation by repatriating jobs, increasing reliability and reducing costs.

Source: softomotive-How Service Providers are Adopting Robotic Process Automation Internally