At Hanson Regan we champion innovation, and so we're always on the lookout for exciting new ways to maximise efficiency and output. We were therefore delighted to attend this year's most impactful Robotic Process Automation (RPA) event: Blue Prism World London 2018.
It's no secret that RPA is big news for companies looking to automate time consuming processes. For those unfamiliar with the term, RPA is a burgeoning technology that lets software robots replicate the actions of human workers for routine tasks such as data entry, altering the way organizations handle many of their key business and IT processes.
When RPA is used in conjunction with cognitive technologies, its capabilities can be expanded even further, extending automation to processes that would otherwise require judgement or perception. Thanks to natural language processing and ever more sophisticated chatbot technology and speech recognition, bots can now extract and structure speech audio, text or image, before passing this structured information to the next step of the process.
Blue Prism World offered attendees an opportunity to learn from and share with RPA industry leaders, practitioners, analysts and experts about real-world benefits and applications of RPA and Intelligent Automation.
With visionary keynote speakers such as Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice at London Business School, Dario Zancetta, Head of Digital Technology and Innovation at Bank Of Ireland, and Vincent Vloemans from Global IT at Heineken, Blue Prism World presented a wealth of knowledge and a fascinating insight into the growing world of RPA and its potential to transform the way companies work.
The event was a fantastic opportunity to interact and network with people who are fascinated in the future of digitalization, and what that means for the future of work. From listening to Robert Kesterton, the Senior Manager of Business Improvement at Jaguar Land Rover, we were able to hear how utilising robots helped his company to deliver a better outcome, not only in terms of cost, but also in functionality. The use of robots helped save Jaguar Land Rover over 3000 hours worth of work and £0.5m of investment they didn't need to spend in their enterprise system, while delivering over £1.5m of revenue generation for the organisation in the process – a fantastic example of RPA technology delivering transformative innovation and efficiency.
We were particularly taken aback by the diversity of industries in attendance. From education and learning to finance and banking, all of the organisation present were doing different things, but they were all using robots to do them, highlighting the versatility of the technology on offer.
In her opening keynote presentation, Lynda Gratton explored the way that jobs overall are changing with the development of ever more sophisticated and employable technology. She suggested that this technology is at the heart of the future of the world of work, but that there is uncertainty as to what this will mean. Some argue that RPA will inevitably result in mass unemployment, while others envision a more positive future full of job creation and possibilities. The truth, according to Lynda, is that there will be as many jobs created as there will be destroyed.
At the same time, the jobs created won’t be the same as those that have come before them. Every single person, client and company you are advising will see their jobs transformed. And, in order to facilitate this transformation successfully, you have to retrain and re-skill your workforce and fundamentally change the context of work to encourage them to do that. Lynda reminded attendees that while automation frees people up to be more productive, it also frees them up to be more themselves.
Leading on from this, Lynda advocated for the promotion of women in work. Looking out across the audience, she highlighted how few women were in attendance, and this is reflective of the industry, but something that must change. She urged businesses to do all they can to encourage young women to take up the exciting and future-proof roles that were on offer.
While we’re all focused on the parts of jobs that we are taking away from our employees, it’s vital to be just as invested in the parts that will take their place, otherwise our workforces can become anxious about the aspects of their role they are losing . Taking work off of people to allow them to do human work that requires them to be empathetic and creative can paradoxically make them worried and therefore less able to make empathetic choices.
In order to allay this anxiety, we must be clear that lifelong leaning is to be at the heart of everything we do. By replacing what you’re taking away from your employees with learning, you help them grow professionally and, crucially, help them to fulfil their potential as humans.
Our time at Blue Prism World only further highlighted how efficient and accurate implementation of RPA technology is the key to its success. Here at Hanson Regan, we utilise RPA in our vetting systems, ensuring our candidates are up to scratch from the very start. By only providing us with proven candidates who can get the job done, there's less chance of hiccups and, therefore, saves us in unnecessary spending.
While RPA presents fantastic opportunities for organisations across the board, due to common misconceptions and misuse of terms like 'Artificial Intelligence', there is still widespread wariness of utilising robots.
During Leslie Willcock's closing keynote presentation, the Professor of Technology Work and Globalisation, highlighted that organisations often under-perform, under-fund, under-resource but, crucially, under-aspire with their robotic process automation and cognitive automation objectives. This can be due to a number of factors, but usually when RPA myths are perpetuated, and misconceptions are accepted as truth, companies become wary and distrustful of the technology on offer.
Common RPA myths include:
Dispel these myths, however, and Cognitive RPA has the potential to go beyond basic automation to provide business outcomes such as enhanced customer satisfaction, lower churn, and increased revenues.
Look out for future blog posts as delve deeper into our time at Blue Prism World, and what RPA can mean for your business.
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