RPA or Robotic process automation has been the enterprise operations automation technology of choice for the last few years. The technology has achieved great returns on investment by automating repetitive manual tasks and improving the efficiency of the back-office and front-office operations. Organizations have used RPA to streamline their operations primarily in finance, accounting, supply chain and HR groups. RPA has quickly moved from a pilot program in a few business groups to an enterprise-wide IT strategy and boardroom conversation.
We believe RPA can go beyond its capabilities and become a personalized tool for every employee in an organization. It’s possible due to the three key trends that are shaping the future of RPA.
The simplicity of use, more options for attended automation and built-in intelligence means that RPA is no longer limited to unattended back-office scenarios. Any employee can use the power of RPA to reduce the repetitive tasks from his/her daily job and concentrate on value-add activities. An average employee in an organization can now identify opportunities within his/her daily work that can be automated by RPA bot and even configure such a bot.
Personal bots work on employee’s machine, mostly in attended form and perform tasks for the employee — pulling data from multiple sources to create reports, storing client contact data and even creating regular presentations.
Personal bots can be looked at as a digital concierge for employees in an organization. Through advanced mobile interface and virtual assistants, employees can interact with these personal bots installed on their office machines/systems. The personal bot triggered on-demand or scheduled by the employee, can perform tasks on behalf of the employee, even in his/her absence. Just like a digital concierge, this personal bot on the employee’s machine will be well-equipped to take requests and execute.
However, the utilization of RPA as personal bots raises multiple questions. Enterprise RPA has specific management, governance, monitoring, licensing, pricing and systems integration practices. In a personal bot scenario, all of these practices will need a relook. E.g. Personal bots may mean a user-based license for enterprises, akin to a Microsoft Office or equivalent. The personal bot platform will need robust inter-personal collaboration and communication capabilities than the current Enterprise RPA.
In this series of articles, we will cover these aspects of RPA as a personal bot, a “digital concierge” for employees.