Many people believe robots are a distant reality, however, the reality is that technological advancements in robotics is currently underway and are beginning to enter the workforce.
In partnership with Kofax from Lexmark, OmniChannel Media hosted a roundtable discussion in Brisbane regarding the phenomena that is Robotics Process Automation (RPA).
Moderated by Daniel Fowell, attendees included some of the industry’s leading experts and featured a keynote presentation from Tim Sheedy, Principal Analyst at Forrester.
“RPA is a very simple piece of technology capability that is taking the world by storm at the moment,” Sheedy said.
RPA is the application of technology to change normal day-to-day processes that are easily repeated, and shifting them to automated procedures which can increase the efficiency and cut unnecessary costs.
“RPA is a simple solution to save a lot of money and time, and cut costs out of the business to take humans out of the process.”
With robotics integrating itself into every industry, there are many examples of RPA which casual customers don’t notice but take for granted.
Key industries that illustrate this change are the food and transport industries. The most prominent case is seen in grocery stores where self-serve checkouts have replaced many of the aisle checkouts, and therefore nullified the purpose of human assistance.
Many organisations are increasingly realising that technology can be more dependable than humans, with Sheedy providing GE as an example of an organisation that is shifting towards RPA in order to avoid human error.
“GE, one of the world’s largest organisations, are talking about closing all of their books at the end of every month, quarter or year and using…RPA capability to do that. Their justification is that humans make 1-2 mistakes each and there’re 200-300 people involved in closing the books globally, and so that’s 600 mistakes that flow into their accounts.”
In the transport industry, the arrival of self-driving cars is becoming a further example of how RPA is expanding rapidly across multiple industries.
Although the emergence of RPA has caused many citizens to begin fearing for the safety of their jobs, this will inevitably encourage humans to up-skill and specialise in order to harness the evolving digital world.
US bank Citi recently suggested that its retail banking workforce could be reduced by 30% over the forthcoming years on the account of RPA. Although we are yet to see the full force of RPA transpire, it has the potential to disrupt the fabric of organisations from the bottom up.