30 Aug Journey to the Workforce of the Future
DigiBlu helps organisations create and operate Digital Workforces, at scale. Robotic Process Automation releases many hours of human labour, fact, and what our clients do with those hours is up to them; mostly they reduce overtime, cut back on contractors and maybe freeze hiring – but there is usually demand to be filled elsewhere because people were already overworked and because the company is growing. And people enjoy doing work that is more fulfilling than merely entering and validating data. With time to think, analysis is better, forecasts more insightful and customers are engaged rather than fobbed off. New jobs are created too, in implementing and operating the Digital Workforce. I’m a big believer in a ‘workforce of the future’ that increases the value of human expertise, judgment and creativity and have a ‘glass is half full’ view that suggests human inventiveness creates new products and services, which increases productivity and leads to new work. We always seek to stimulate such thinking during the course of our implementations, but so far, the workforce of the future still feels far off.
Now, the white papers from the big consulting firms and the analyst reports confuse me. When we started out in RPA a couple of years back they claimed with some authority that a third of jobs would be replaced by 2025, but now they say millions of jobs will be created! We should be wary, therefore, of the so called “points of view” from the so called experts, churning out tropes. We enjoy being in the vanguard of change, learning as we go as we help clients find opportunities and plot journeys using Intelligent Automation, and maybe the experience makes us one-eyed in a kingdom of the blind, because no one really knows what the full impact of AI and automation will be. But if the best way to predict the future is to shape it, then there is massive opportunity to be had in exploring ways to strategic advantage through Intelligent Automation. On the ground, we find that the rapid deployment of automated processes has a decided impact on organisation and people, so rather than disrupt operations one release at a time, we advocate that firms define their future organisation and manage the changes against a plan. Key attributes of a model might include; an integrated human-digital workforce that invests in human strengths (that values human-to-human relationships, puts the human in the loop of end-to-end automated processes and organises for exceptions); a multi-purpose Digital Workforce that serves the entire enterprise, orchestrating robotic capacity 24 hours a day for super productivity; and an operating model for virtual operations with organisation, headcount and budget, methods and the new skills required to implement and operate the multi-purpose Digital Workforce. With such a concept in mind, you at least know where you are going and can begin the journey. With such a concept in mind, you have a great story to tell because, at the end of the day, automation is about taking the robot out of the human, as the folks at Blue Prism like to say. One of my favourites is “opportunities multiply as they are seized,” from Sun Tzu – and it was never more apt.