Focus on Tasks, Not Jobs
With industrial revolution 4.0, the focus is to optimize the development of computerization that modernized the world through the industry 3.0 period. The key driver is automation and autonomous systems powered through machine learning and artificial intelligence.
The modern work environment needs to be redesigned. This is not because jobs are getting displaced, but because the tasks are. Within every process, there are many tasks otherwise called sub-processes that will be automated using advancements through RPA in combination with machine learning and artificial intelligence.
While the center of excellence (CoE) identifies a process for automation, the very first step is to identify every sub-process (task) and carefully evaluate it and qualify it for automation. Some tasks will be more inclined for automation and will be replaced by automation whereas some that are complex and require high cognitive skills or are sensitive in nature will be less likely replaced. We all are aware of multiple tasks within our daily routine that are either boring or simply less attractive. This is not because they are of less importance, but because of their nature of needing less creativity or critical thinking.
Let’s take a simple example to understand this much better. In a marketing department, building a contact list from a common database based on certain filters and reconciling them against their CRM for checking duplication, updating the right addresses, and creating a new list for running a campaign is a critical component of the marketer’s job and requires the right skills to carry out successfully. However, the skill required to complete this flawlessly doesn’t need high cognitive ability compared to the creative writing and content development. Therefore, it is obvious that a marketing department would be willing to automate these specific tasks and emphasize their staff to focus on those tasks where their skill, knowledge, and experience can deliver real tangible value. Such automation not only adds value to the overall operations but also elevates the overall human experience for those employees so that they can feel more valued through their work each day. This will most definitely reduce the turnover rate. Clearly, managers can identify and distinguish the activities that could be handed over to bots.
While reviewing the potential of robotic automation, removing these mundane tasks from the employees’ desk and combining it with artificial intelligence and deep learning technologies, it is possible to take this up a notch where some level of cognitive ability can be infused within the automation to make this more powerful. For instance, identifying the contacts who either had previous interaction through other campaigns and combining that intent data, identifying the likelihood of potential buyers within the list even prior to running a campaign, or suggesting the right approach for a high degree of success in converting those prospects.
Leaders need to keep in mind that it is equally important for them to clearly communicate about the automation initiative and clearly distinguish between the sub-processes that are considered or identified for automation versus the overall job or function that their team members are responsible and accountable for. Many times, the very first reaction in a conversation around automation through RPA or AI is highly negative in nature and instigates fear among individuals about inevitable downsizing and ultimate job loss.
While looking at the primary driving factors for automation, the ones that make it to the top are:
1. Increased productivity and scalability
2. Process improvement
3. Cost reduction
Among these, companies are focusing more and more on increasing the overall productivity in order to serve the growing demand and enhance the customer experience. While staff will continue to perform their jobs, certain portions of their daily routine will be removed from their activity list – either because it has been automated through robotic process or eliminated due to process improvement. Approaching a process for automation in a methodical way can guide the CoE to identify processes that could deliver the expected results
With the idea of augmentation, more employees are adapting to build their own bots to assist with certain tasks that might enhance them to focus and perform their core functions and relieve them from all of the menial tasks. While employees are measured on the overall outcome and not necessarily the various tasks or sub-processes required to complete a job, the idea of building a bot for every individual will be a reality soon.