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The Right Way to Automate: The Role of Software Bots in a New World of Work


By Neeti Mehta Shukla, SVP Brand and Culture and Co-founder, Automation Anywhere

It's no secret that the COVID-19 crisis, like other global crises before it, has disrupted and altered business processes around the world. This has propelled leaders to look at new or innovative initiatives to keep their businesses running while navigating remote work and business resiliency to prepare for any future disruption. In response, enterprises across industries have embraced technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) to keep their systems running in this new world.

While many are quickly realizing the benefits RPA can bring to an organization, leaders must remember that this technology is not a catch-all solution. Automation deployments must be rooted in empowerment - enabling operational excellence and freeing workers from manual work - in order to achieve business resiliency and long-term success.

Empowering automation begins with putting employees at the center of the solution

As organizations rapidly increase their adoption of automation solutions, they need to make sure they are working with - and not against - employees and the business. Intelligent automation in its best form allows humans to do their jobs exponentially better.

Take customer service for example: this job requires human emotion and empathy daily to navigate customer problems and resolve issues. While automation solutions can help organize incoming requests and facilitate human interaction, intelligent automation lacks empathy. It may be able to feign it, but it cannot actually process it. Therefore, the combination of bots and humans create the optimal solution - bots handle the manual tasks and allow humans to work on tasks only a human can do.

While software bots work on repetitive tasks, a human customer service agent can now spend their time where it really matters - assisting customers and troubleshooting complex issues that require a deeper level of empathy. Bots work 24/7, alleviating precious time to do what humans do best - engage in creative, fulfilling work, and content employees make an overall improved work environment. In fact, 88% of employees confirm that they would be happier completing administrative tasks with the help of an automated solution.

Empowering digital transformation initiatives creates business resiliency and long term success

By pursuing automation initiatives and empowering employees, executives can bring consumer experiences to the enterprise - digital assistants similar to Siri or Alexa, but for the enterprise, are making it easy for anyone within an organization to automate day-to-day business tasks, setting the framework for long term success within the business.

However, too often, business leaders look at intelligent automation and only see the immediate benefits they can bring to an organization such as cutting costs and reducing errors. While these are considerations when weighing automation solutions, it should not be the entire picture.

By looking at a solution and its effect on the workforce not only from a productivity standpoint, but also an emotional one, leaders can ensure their business evolves and succeeds. Questions to consider include how does the automation solution make an organization's employees feel about their job? Are they happier, worried or frustrated? Ultimately, bots are there to augment employees for the better. If an intelligent automation solution is deployed and employees do not respond favorably, chances are that more issues will arise than be solved down the line. To effectively create longevity for businesses and deploy solutions that truly provide business resiliency in the face of another disruption, automation deployments need to amplify employee capabilities. These solutions create massive gains for employees and break down siloes at every level, creating a better-connected and resilient enterprise.

Automation is a force for seamless integration of work and life in our new era of work

Now that the home and office are nearly one, automation can become a valuable resource for employees. In a study conducted late last year by the International Monetary Fund, employees expressed that they are eager to transition to a new automated age. On average, employee attitudes toward automation's effect on the future of work are positive, with 41% believing that automation will benefit the workplace. Keybank is witnessing the power of RPA firsthand. To help drive efficiency for loans processing and account reconciliation, Keybank enlisted the help of intelligent automation to tackle manual and repetitive tasks. By giving employees the tools to take on more meaningful work, Keybank completed nine years of work in just two weeks.  

We are in the era of realizing technologies' ultimate promise - a democratizing force that levels the playing field and provides greater work-life balance than ever imaginable. The time is now for business leaders to take a closer look at their automation solutions and make sure they are empowering employees. From bots that can process unstructured data pulled from documents to bots that can automate the creation of other bots, there are countless possibilities for automation to benefit the workforce. Automation solutions rooted in empowering employees not only bring productivity gains and cut costs, but also leave the employee feeling fulfilled about their work, creating a vested workforce and setting up the business for long-term success.


About the Author

Neeti Mehta, SVP, Brand Strategy & Culture Architect and Co-founder, Automation Anywhere

Neeti Mehta 

Neeti is a co-founder and senior vice president of Automation Anywhere, leading global brand and culture initiatives across the company. She brings more than 20 years of business management, marketing, and entrepreneurial experience from a variety of industries including technology, business consulting, and advertising. Neeti is the company’s thought leader and vocal advocate of bot ethics as the RPA industry continues to grow at an unprecedented rate due to efficiencies and productivity achieved from intelligent automation. 

Published Friday, February 05, 2021 7:45 AM by David Marshall
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