As we move into the next normal and begin to consider life beyond COVID, it’s vital for businesses to harness new technologies to prepare us for future challenges. Intelligent Automation is a solution that can provide workforce agility, but a lesser known benefit is the positive impact it has on employees.
Automation and Job Security
Technological advancements in the 21st century have given businesses access to software which enhances the unique capabilities of knowledge workers. Instead of spending days processing data that previously would have been a role in itself, automated workflows allow businesses to process data in real-time (Forbes, 2018).
We’ve seen a massive acceleration in the popularity of digital transformation due to the coronavirus pandemic. This acceleration means there will be changes implemented to workforces more regularly, and much more quickly than we’ve experienced before. Fortunately, with new processes and new transformations in businesses comes new jobs.
“Rather than seeing Artificial Intelligence and advanced automation as a threat to human workers, businesses and their employees should instead be embracing AI as a catalyst for change and a challenge to existing approaches”. (HR Director, 2020).
Automation doesn’t have to be a dreaded term your employees associate with fear of job losses and robots taking over the workforce. One of the biggest challenges for a business undergoing a digital transformation is to change employee's perception of automation.
Always acknowledge how dependent your business is on its team, as human-employees are still pivotal to any successful business, even if it is fully automated.
Empowering employees to work smarter, not harder
McKinsey’s Global Institute found that within approximately 60% of all industries, 30% of jobs can be fully automated due to their reliance on manual systematic processes (McKinsey, 2017).
Why is this the case? Businesses are still using traditional, non-agile workflows that are not adaptable to changes in business structure and are unresponsive to modern business problems (Catalytic, 2020).
Re-training current employees using a no-code, AI-enabled Intelligent Automation platform allows any employee to have the valuable opportunity to develop a new skillset. This skillset can give a business’ current employees opportunities to work in interesting, creative roles and ultimately to work smarter and not harder (McKinsey, 2017).
Employees won’t have to retrain into a completely new role or sector, but instead, businesses can use their knowledge and expertise to fast-track business processes when supported by Intelligent Automation.
“Companies now speak of “reskilling” and “upskilling” — the need to ensure that employees are empowered, not replaced, by the disruptive new technologies that are rewriting the planet.” (Forbes, 2018).
Automating work-flows, a process that would previously require traditional, expensive, and scarce developers is now accessible to all. This means that as a business accelerates their digital journey, employees can spend their day developing and enhancing their creative, intelligent, communicative skills; instead of being trapped in a cycle of manual tasks (Gartner, 2020).
Why Intelligent Automation and not RPA
“Ultimately, the focus must not simply be on “automation,” it must be on intelligent automation.” (Forbes, 2018)
Saving and creating jobs. Intelligent Automation doesn’t encourage businesses to cut jobs, instead, it encourages them to save them. RPA requires expensive developers to be contracted into a business, whereas a no-Code, cloud-based Intelligent Automation enabled platform can be used by any member of staff. This means that Intelligent Automation enables your business to accelerate growth, using the knowledge and expertise of your current workforce.
Completely agile. Robotic Process Automation follows rules to automate workflows, whereas Intelligent Automation is agile. No matter what and where changes occur in business’ workflows, the power of Intelligent Automation enabled by AI means that software will adapt so that your business will not be left with traditional automation errors.
Improved customer experience. Intelligent Automation can vastly improve customer experience, by making wait times a thing of the past. Everyone has suffered an hour-long wait on hold to a company before, wait times have a negative impact on customer experience and are completely avoidable thanks to modern technological developments.
Using chatbots or automated customer service representatives, enquiries that don’t require human interaction can be answered immediately, whereas those which require human knowledge and communication can be prioritised for a call-back.
Traditional RPA does not have the capability to do this and therefore limits businesses that implement RPA for their digital transformation.
Time. In order to see changes in workflows when using RPA, businesses have to wait a long time and there is a huge risk of errors in coding across the automation journey. However, using Intelligent Automation, a simple workflow can be automated in several hours, while large scale projects take weeks or months instead of years.
Opportunity. Perhaps the biggest reason to use Intelligent Automation, your competitors already use it! In order to keep up to speed with other players in the field, businesses need to use the most modern and agile form of automating work-flows.
Keep your business ahead of the game
Employees cannot be empowered by a business which is at the bottom of the job market, they need businesses to invest in Intelligent Automation so that they have the opportunity to use their skills and human talent instead of being stuck with mundane repetitive tasks.
If a business lets its skilled workers flourish by putting their competencies to use in the workplace, they will see better employee experience and engagement, as well as rapid business growth.
Not every business will require the same automation plan, the correct plan for one company could hinder others. Nonetheless, global business consultants are in agreement that Intelligent Automation is the solution to enhance employee, customer, and business owner experience (Forbes, 2018., Forrester, 2020., McKinsey, 2017).
“Given the rapid advancements in intelligent automation, every company has an obligation – to their employees and their customers – to explore what automation could mean to them, and then make an informed decision of when, where and how to invest. Because likely, their competitors are doing the same”. (Forbes, 2018).
The future of the AI enabled workplace
Perhaps the biggest change which AI will bring won’t be job losses or creations, but the change of job styles due to rapidly evolving technology. All sectors will see changes that allow employees to get through tasks at a quicker pace and will minimise errors.
In the healthcare sector, doctors could begin to use complex AI to examine a patient's symptoms and match these to potential causes, whilst in finance and banking we’ve already seen manual check deposits be replaced by mobile banking (McKinsey, 2018).
As well as the modification of traditional job roles, the growth of AI within the workplace will create millions of jobs (Forbes, 2018., McKinsey, 2017). The best thing? These jobs aren’t just based in the I.T. and Technology sectors where automation originated.
Examples of new roles include manual jobs that will be created to monitor and track the progress of robots and to test for any errors. As well as this, e-commerce stores will begin to use AI so customers can try on clothes from home. Digital tailors will be needed to take a video or sensor image of a person and turn it into their measurements, and that’s just the beginning (McKinsey, 2018).
As automation grows, we will see the entry-level, mundane parts of beginning a job begin to disappear and employees will be introduced to the world of work at a level that requires their creative, innovative, and communicative skills.
The focus will not, and should not, be on jobs being replaced, but instead on employees working with AI to enhance their capabilities in the workplace. Increased cooperation between humans and machines will lead to higher paid and higher skilled opportunities for employees, as well as rapid growth for businesses (BBC, 2020, Forrester, 2010, Gartner, 2020).
The technology-driven world in which we live is a world filled with promise but also challenges. How will you overcome the challenges to see the promises fulfilled and harness the full value of automation? Discover how Aurora, and the AI-enabled, no-code Catalytic Intelligent Automation cloud platform, can help you to start your automation journey.