With a summer of sports upon us, I was thinking about the diversity of skills of those people that are competing. The adaptability of human beings is amazing and I reflected on how this diversity is showing itself as we continue to embrace robots to help us in our daily lives.
RPA (Robotic Process Automation) has grown rapidly to cover a broad portfolio of point solutions. They replicate a number of very different human activities. Hence, just as an Olympic team has runners, jumpers, riders, throwers, cyclists and so on, we’re now seeing a variety of robots deployed in our business teams. 
We still tend to bundle them all under the team name of RPA rather than the precise role they’ve been selected for. So I wondered whether, inspired by the forthcoming Olympics, it’s time to start defining robots in more specific terms. I suggest the following examples (but there are many more):
  • Probots: these process data, following simple repeatable rules
  • Knowbots: these gather and store data
  • Chatbots: these act as virtual agents and respond to customer queries in real time
A clearer taxonomy for robots will provide some distinct benefits:
  • The right training regime – different robot types will need different skills and experience to design, build and deploy them
  • The right rules of engagement – governance is very important and will need to be flexed to accommodate various types of activities
  • The right arena – the deployment, environment and security is also likely to vary
Therefore, the ability to implement RPA and transform businesses will be enhanced and accelerated by a common language adopted and understood by all of those involved.

Let the games begin…