‘Digital’, ‘Artificial Intelligence’, ‘Machine Learning’ are the most commonly used buzzwords in todays corporate literature. Employees are expected to understand, train themselves and inculcate these concepts into the various initiatives being planned and managed by them. But how well do they really grasp the value and how much importance is being given from their senior leadership is abstract at best.
Digitisation is plagued with providing a low ROI due to the upfront investment in platform, technology and resources, while most Chief Digital Officers are fighting internal battles to move away from AS400 systems to a cloud solution. This involves a major change in your talent pool – reskilling your COBOL developers with Python or .NET or alternatively, replacing them with a younger skill pool. This delay in execution can be annoying for the executives who expect a faster transition towards a digital and automated future.
That’s where Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can play a vital role. It allows organisations to tread closer towards digital readiness by automating manual and repetitive processes by building robots (software algorithms) which mimic human actions. A very good example are the digital agents like ‘Siri’ and ‘Alexa’ who have been gradually taking up the task of serving mobile phone and laptop users by providing a variety of services including delivery, switching your lights on in your living room and playing your favourite music. A recent Accenture survey revealed that the newer generation prefers a digital assistant over humans primarily because they are readily available, less biased, polite and faster in their response!
With the ubiquity of cell phones and a growing penetration of smart phones, these numbers are bound to grow for the older population as well. The question then is ‘How long are you willing to wait for digitisation to upend your organisation’.
RPA can be the building blocks that you could implement with minimal investment and a good ROI while gradually moving towards Artificial Intelligence (AI). The key difference here being the fact that RPA is static automation whereas AI is incremental. Meaning, your AI bot would incrementally learn newer things and improvise on the process whereas RPA will not.
RPA + Machine Learning = Artificial Intelligence.
Once your organisation has accepted and executed RPA, the next step is for your team to learn and leverage Machine learning and Python to instil Artificial intelligence in your operation. For instance, your customer service chatbot could continuously learn from its interactions with customers and provide a better response and experience to your customers with minimal human intervention.
In conclusion, while digitisation can be a daunting task, there is an incremental approach that organisations can take towards the future with a lower investment and risk through the use of Robitics.