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RPA

Do We Really Need a Robot Per Employee? | Blog

By | Automation/RPA/AI, Blog

When I started researching the RPA space five years ago, vendors were working hard to position themselves in the unattended automation space, where robots ran on servers in the data center, according to schedules, typically delivering back-office functions.

This was a departure from attended automation that for some years had boosted (and still does) agent efficiency in the contact center.

Today, the market has come full circle, with a focus on helping other office workers, not just contact center agents, increase their productivity. A robot per employee is a marketing message we are hearing increasingly frequently, boosted by the concepts of lo-code software and citizen developers who can build their own robots with little help from tech developers.

Examples of automation vendor activity in this space include:

  • NICE’s NEVA, an avatar for NICE’s attended automation, to help all office workers automate their repetitive tasks
  • Softomotive’s People First approach, which intends to democratize automation in the enterprise. This applies to both attended and unattended automations, but puts the power in the hands of employees
  • UiPath, which is putting out a robot per employee messages in addition to its Automation First campaign. It has even showcased robot-based consumer apps at its event.

One could argue that going full circle back to attended is because unattended automation is proving tough to scale. That does not diminish the potential opportunities that the concept brings to the enterprise and its employees. But it is not immediately obvious what attended robots could do for the average office worker.

Here are a couple of examples.

At the recent Pegaworld event in Las Vegas, a healthcare payer company showcased several examples of how it is using attended automation, including logging employees in to half a dozen systems, a task they need to perform every morning, through what the company calls “start my day,” and changing passwords on those systems on behalf of the employees, at the frequency dictated by the corporate IT policy. Another is helping with repetitive sales administration tasks, e.g., the robots update daily sales information for reporting purposes.

The big question is, do these kinds of examples, good as they are, justify the investment in desktop/attended automation robots by the thousands? True that attended robot licenses typically cost much less than unattended ones, and vendors are likely to offer good rates for bulk orders. But overhead costs, such as training employees to code their own robots and for the enterprise to support them, also come into play, as do robot performance: how fast can they run on those desktops, and can employees get on with other work while the robots are running?

It is early days for a robot per employee model, but it is high time that we boosted office worker productivity again. It has been decades since the advent of personal office software led to the last productivity revolution.

Personally, I am looking forward to seeing attended automation evolve and become really useful. I cannot wait to “robot-source” some of my daily routine work. First though, we (office workers) have to try attended automation for ourselves and see what works and what doesn’t. Lessons learned in the contact center can help us with this, but hands-on and trial and error is the best way forward.

RPA Vendor WorkFusion Looks to Drive Smarter AI | In the News

By | In The News

Robotic process automation [RPA] vendor WorkFusion is looking to capitalize on the strong momentum in the sector, with a major new product release and a favorable new analyst report.

New York City-based WorkFusion is one of the top players in the RPA space, which is booming. A new report from Zinnow on the RPA market reported that the total worldwide addressable market is $50 billion, with enterprise spend predicted to grow at a 37 per cent rate. Forrester Research, one of the analyst firms who specialize in the area, scored WorkFusion as a strong performer in their 2018 report, behind UIPath, Automation Anywhere, and Blue Prism. WorkFusion also scores very highly in a 2019 report by Everest Group, another analyst firm with a strong focus on RPA. The Everest Group report on a sub-space, Intelligent Document Processing [IDP], defined as a software solution that captures data from documents and categorizes and extracts relevant data for AI processing, ranked WorkFusion in the leader section, with the highest score in vision and capability.

Read more in Channelbuzz

Will RPA Liberate us from Spreadsheets? | In the News

By | In The News

Here in 2019, businesses are finally beginning to question why they are still copying and pasting data manually between disparate systems.

When the Everest Group announced that RPA could lead to a cost reduction of nearly 65 percent, many business leaders began exploring the long list of benefits of RPA for enterprises.

Read more in TechHQ

Intelligent Automation to Replace RPA, Suggests AntWorks | In the News

By | In The News

Intelligent automation, it’s meant to be the next big thing in automation, at least that was the gist of what AntWorks told analysts, press and customers at an extravagance in London, recently. They likened themselves to a tortoise, winning the RPA race over the hair, talked about an elephant in the room, and boasted that they have moved RPA up a gear.

Sarah Burnett, Executive Vice President and Distinguished Analyst at Everest Group, said: “We all want automation of business processes to be easier, and we want to automate more of them. Antworks with AntsteinSquare is aiming to address these requirements: one integrated platform for multi-format data ingestion and processing, a lo- or no-code environment, an integrated stack, and more.”

Read more in Information Age