The Future is HERE – Scaling your Workforce with Robots
Would you like your very own robot army to eliminate tedious, repetitive jobs and liberate employees to focus on more interesting work that requires human input?
At the 2019 bmobile Connect Technology Conference, the Belmont-based software firm, Incus Services Ltd, explained how it could help any business, large or small, create their own software robot army.
Robot Army Commander Racine Goolcharan, addressing the audience at a workshop on “Scaling Your Work Force with Robotic Process Automation (RPA),” described RPA as a disruptive, emerging technology that was changing how businesses operated, by enabling the adoption of more intelligent technology and machine learning.
She emphasised that RPA was not about replacing people with robots or putting anyone out of work. What software robots do is take over “the mind numbing, repetitive work that makes you feel like a robot,” she said. This leaves more time for employees to focus on the work that humans are suited for such as tasks requiring emotional intelligence, judgement, creativity, oversight and prioritising, she said.
The key to successfully automating specific tasks or processes is “to teach the software the steps of each task as I would teach a new employee,” Goolcharan said. Robotic Process Automation, she stressed, was easy to understand, user oriented, and did not need a specific programming language. The ideal processes that can be automated, she noted, have some common characteristics: they are typically high volume (such as batch transactions), have standardised input, are manual and rule-based, have a low exception rate, and interact with stable and mature applications (tried and proven, with bugs already worked out).
A few examples of such jobs are invoice processing, accounts receivable, bills of material generation, reports automation, service order management, quality reporting, and server maintenance. To handle exceptions, we build in error handling by teaching the software what to do when specific issues come up so that it can complete the task, Goolcharan explained. There is a lot of routine work in IT, HR, Finance/Accounting and Supply Chain which tend to generate quick returns on your RPA investment, she said.
Incus uses the UiPath platform. UiPath is a leading Robotic Process Automation vendor providing a complete software platform to help organisations efficiently automate business processes. According to the company’s website, “RPA robots are capable of mimicking many – if not most – human user actions. They log into applications, move files and folders, copy and paste data, fill in forms, extract structured and semi-structured data from documents, scrape browsers” and more. They do all this more rapidly than a human could, with significantly less manual effort and zero errors.
Incorporating RPA into a company’s operations can be done at a minimal upfront investment, building on the firm’s existing systems, with minimal disruption to its operations.
Scaling your workforce with robots was one of the many educational and disruptive technology-centric sessions held at this year’s Connect conference. The two-day event provided an opportunity for Enterprise and SME leaders to learn more about how ICT can support their goals, solve problems and help their businesses become globally competitive.