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Robots are coming. Are humans in the loop?

Robots are coming and will change the workforce as we know it. Enterprise investment in the intelligent automation market (including artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic process automation (RPA) software) is expected to reach $232 billion by 2025 compared to an estimated $12.4 billion today – an increase of over 1770% in just seven years’ time.

Robots are luring execs to employ them with promises of streamlined legacy processes and significantly increased efficiency – all having an impact on time and cost.

KPMG’s new report ‘Ready, Set, Fail?: Avoiding setbacks in the intelligent automation race’ surveyed 80 leaders across various industries and found two thirds of companies will implement robotic process automation (RPA) software in the next three years. Welcome, the bots.

Robot takeover

While some academics have been predicting an outright robot takeover (with robots doing the majority of jobs in 30 years’ time), KPMG’s report suggests otherwise.

“No businesses said they planned to cut headcount; rather, leaders said that humans and machines would work together. This is in line with the predictions of many experts that robots will complement human workers and free them up to do higher-level tasks rather than completely replace them,” says the report.

We agree. The most effective use of bots is to automate simple, mundane tasks, freeing up humans to do more complicated work. The problem isn’t that robots will take over human jobs but rather how do humans take over from bots when something goes wrong? How do businesses go about managing this new combined workforce?

Enate’s robotic service orchestration (RSO) software is the only product of its kind, enabling businesses to manage bots as digital workers and keep ‘humans in the loop’ across an entire service – end-to-end, not just for a single task. Enate enables work to be easily flipped between humans and bots by managing all workloads and resources, allowing humans to pick up more complex work from bots.

So, what’s the sticking point?

Execs know artificial intelligence (AI) is key to business transformation and competitiveness, but are struggling with the sheer pace of change, the hundreds of technology options and lack of effective data to know what to prioritise.

“Many traditional businesses with legacy approaches risk falling behind digital-first companies if they stay with the status quo. It takes a comprehensive transformation of business and operating models to compete in their own market at the level at which a Tesla or Amazon do in theirs,” says Cliff Justice, KPMG Partner, Innovation and Enterprise Solutions, and leader of Cognitive Automation Initiatives.

(Did we mention that Enate is typically live within around five weeks?)

Confusion is rife

Other analysts are finding the same. As HfS Research’s Phil Fersht and Saurabh Gupta blogged last week on Horses for Sources, confusion around RPA deployments is still rife: “There are growing questions whether RPA can deliver on the promised ROI and outcomes. Most RPA initiatives continue to be small and piecemeal. Truly scaled RPA deployments are rare. The industry is still struggling to solve challenges around the process, change, talent, training, infrastructure, security and governance.”

Service orchestration

With such challenges blocking implementation of automation to drive crucial business transformation, RSO offers a remedy. RSO provides a simplified service automation platform with end-to-end visibility of your entire operations, helping you identify what to automate through metrics and enabling your human workforce to work with the bots – your new digital workforce.

Are you a ‘human in the loop’? Find out more about Enate.


'Robot icons' image used under Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA 2.0 courtesy of verkeorg via Flickr