The digital world is fast-paced, dynamic and ever-growing. It has been 25 years since the World Wide Web has been made available to the public by Tim Berners-Lee, and today more than half of the world’s population uses the internet with 3.77 billion global internet users.
With the advent of AI and use of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), businesses are now up for a major transformation. With a host of advantages from cost, efficiency to speed, agility, and ease of deployment, RPA is slowly helping companies gain a competitive edge over others.
RPA is bringing forth a scope where employees can leave those routine functions to a software while engaging in more creative, challenging, interesting and high-value activities within an organization.
This software is programmed to perform repetitive functions with human-like analysis, give insights, detect fraud and aid in a host of other activities is irrefutable.
Experts have recommended time and again that companies have to radically alter their existing dynamics to accommodate change and stay relevant. The recruitment scenario and business landscapes have all undergone change.
As per data, by 2025 RPA will have a potential economic impact of nearly $6.7 trillion.
So the big question is how digital ready are businesses across the globe?
Many organizations are still in the early stages of understanding what RPA is and how it can help them, by 2020, 86% of companies say they will hit ‘breaking point’ & will need intelligent automation to keep up.
RPA technologies are creating more robust opportunities for process automation.
RPA is currently reshaping recruitment and influencing demands of a new age future-ready digital workforce. Industries are forging ahead to accommodate demands across all sectors and categories in Robotic Process Automation, Cognitive Automation and Digital Workforce Analytics and Communications Planning. Does that mean a clear shrinking of demand for human labor?
Experts say not necessarily. All sorts of disruptive technologies have led to the reallocation of jobs as witnessed when the World Wild Web came of age. With RPA gaining traction and maturing in the next two decades, there would be a shift in the type of jobs and as such there would be a change in demand of existing skill-set. As machines learn how to handle human-like functions, there would be a need to have skills that understand the framework of such machines. Companies are trying best to brainstorm on a smooth transition and figuring out ways to absorb the current digital workforce trend.
Those employees having traditional programming skills would have to gear up with a new set of skills in machine learning, understand RPA operations and its integration with multiple systems within the organization.
Need for current communication and transaction handling skills would change to the more technical know-how of RPA frameworks, data interpretation, and analysis. A 2016 Deloitte study with MIT found that 70% of business leaders believe that they would need a new mix of talent and skills in the future.
Skills which are difficult to automate like perception and manipulation, creativity, social interaction, and social intelligence will become more and more critical both for leaders and for employees.
With improved analytics and increased data accuracy, it is estimated that RPA could save companies 20% to 40% in labour costs — which would surely affect the existing IT workforce. Offshore and outsourcing jobs would be most likely to be affected. With more shift to automation, traditional outsourcing would change.
According to Frank Casale, CEO of the Institute for Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence (IRPA AI), “Almost any type of computer-related process which is rules-based [and] which a human performs today could be affected at some point in its lifecycle, where [RPA] could mimic what a human does…It has affected IT in many ways, often in software testing.”
Experts say that now the demand for IT experts is growing for even higher-value jobs. Organizations will need people who are skilled in implementing, managing, and maintaining the programs.
“There is going to be a need for new skill sets in lower and middle management, for people who are able to work with RPA platforms and understand how to manage them,” said Casale.
Institute for Robotic Process Automation predicts that automation software will replace up to 140 million full-time employees worldwide by the year 2025, nevertheless high-quality jobs will be created for those who are able to maintain and improve RPA software.
It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to implementing automation, especially for those seeking a job in this vertical. Technological innovation will require human involvement.
Although it is the IT sector that would face a major change, the impact of this transformation would notably spread across a wide industries namely finance, insurance, healthcare, logistics and more.
RPA, as many experts say, would rather help in reducing the number of man-hours, thus freeing employees for more creative, challenging and involving roles like application development within the organization which can have lasting impacts on business outcomes.
Some new roles and responsibilities that can come with RPA are:
A potentially new title of ‘Manager of the robots’. This person would be the primary point of contact responsible to take care of scheduling robotic systems, monitoring processes and flagging potential issues.
Process robotics developer and maintenance
A person who can create point to point processes within the overall robotics application. Also, responsible for maintaining best practices and reviewing process application if any changes are needed. This person is also the first point of contact to address any issues.
Technical application manager
The main task and responsibility will be to install and maintain process robotics software (server/virtual desktop infrastructure). Along with this, maintaining the system and reviewing security settings will be paramount to ensure efficient operation of systems.
Employees that handle the exceptions generated by RPA/virtual assistant.
Supports in technical maintenance of the process robotics software and high priority issues.
In the famous words of Neelie Kroes, EU Commissioner for Digital Agenda, “There is no room for complacency in the fast-moving digital world.” As per a Deloitte survey (PDF), while 32% of companies are prepared for RPA’s technology implications, only 12% are prepared for the people implications.
Organizations deploying RPA systems should, therefore, start revising their existing strategies to incorporate an enterprise automation strategy through advanced rules management, and process controls to put RPA to best use. In this regard, it is vital to understand how RPA would affect the company’s current workforce.
Understanding process and intent, understanding stakeholders, understanding impact of RPA on the key structures and hierarchy of the current workforce and creating a top-down communications and engagement plan while building trust in the organization are some of the key things that companies would have to look into. It is crucial to develop a proper change management and talent management approach together with a leadership alignment on business case and vision.