The current discussion around automation seems to lead to one conclusion – fear over the endangered species of human worker in the “IT-enabled area” has diminished.
Even in companies where consultants used to work on robotic process automation (RPA) with a heightened sense of stealth – in order not to alarm the works council or HR department – a relaxation is clearly visible. It is now widely accepted among those working with automation technologies that intelligent automation is not so much something to fear, but rather something to help get rid of the “robot in the human.”
An augmented workforce approach
Many companies are already relatively experienced in automation – having not only carried out initial proof of concepts and chosen certain automation products, but often already on a journey to scale their automation. In addition, a majority of clients are not tied to just one vendor, but either experimenting or consciously using multiple tools in parallel often due to subtle differences in functionality and areas of usage.
This applies not only to tools found under the bigger “automation umbrella” such as chatbots, voicebots, integration tools, and other specialized single-purpose automation or AI-enabled tools, but also to RPA pure player tools usually found at the top right-hand corner (the leaders’ quadrant) of many analyst reports.
In practice, this means that work allocation in automation-savvy companies already differs between a number of “worker types.” (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. Worker types
On a top level, we can certainly find humans and machines, but if we look deeper on the human side, we might see different human specialists, hierarchy levels, work shifts, geographies, etc., while on the machine side, several robot technologies that enable different types of work such as structured and rules-based, unstructured and AI-enabled, attended, or unattended. Capgemini’s augmented workforce approach already addresses a number of these different work forms.
Transparent and flexible workflow management
I’ve already touched on the topic of defining requirements, and developing, testing, and implementing automation to enable automation artefacts to run smoothly on their robotic hosts. The new challenge is to manage or distribute the work using the variety of available “worker instances” in an efficient and value-creating/issue-reducing way.
While my colleague Taoufik Amri has discussed the AI aspects of performing work allocation in a sophisticated and proven way using client examples, this approach might not yet be applicable to all company requirements. What many companies will require in the near future is a transparent and flexible way to manage workflows (in the purest meaning of the word) end-to-end with all available options. Many existing technical options only address a certain aspect of this:
- Ticketing/Workflow tools mainly address the human aspect, with some automation embedded at the beginning or end of the workflow as input or output
- Work allocation using a central technical instance such as an orchestrator that assigns and manages work across mostly unattended robots
- Exception management embedded in RPA tools notify the right person or administrator in the event of (un)foreseeable issues
- Repositories of available robotic artefacts that individual employees can “pick and choose” from – even in attended form
- Even AI-enabled tools might only be initially able to cover one or very few use cases where they have been trained to work properly.
Evolving work management in a fail-safe way
To sum up, modern organizations need to have a broad understanding of work that should be reflected and included in an efficient delivery. In addition, these different work types and their specific optimal use should be orchestrated in a fail-safe way. Capgemini’s Intelligent Process Automation offering uses current “silo” solutions and integrates/upgrades theses with technologies to further evolve work management with all its different flavors, while being prepared for flexible adjustments and fallbacks.
To learn more about how our Intelligent Process Automation offering – part of the Capgemini’s Perform AI portfolio – can help you streamline your current and evolve your future work management with state-of-the-art tools and proven expertise in collaborating, orchestrating, and optimizing the efficiency of the work carried out by humans and machines, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Ulrich manages intelligent automation and RPA solutions across Europe, helping clients to increase process quality and efficiency, and reduce cost by deploying leading automation technologies.