Let me cut right to it. There’s a right way to think about RPA and a wrong way to think about RPA. And if you’re goal primarily eliminating people or cutting costs, I suspect you’re doing it wrong. In best in class use case scenarios, the right way to think about RPA is that it’s good for everyone — both for the company as a whole as well as for the employees within the organization.
That’s just one of the many things I discussed in my interview with UiPath’s Chet Chambers as part of the Chatting with Chet series at the recent #UiPathTogether event in Washington, D.C. Our conversation centered on the ethical and financial responsibilities of implementing RPA.
Adoption Trends of AI/Machine Learning Powered Technologies
Before we tackle that, let’s talk about the adoption of this kind of technology. According to AI Trends, almost 25 percent of businesses surveyed have implemented cognitive technologies such as AI or machine learning, either as pilot projects or as long-term strategies. Some 41 percent are using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) extensively or across multiple functions of their business and those numbers are growing at a rapid clip.
The Real Value Prop of RPA
I believe that some companies implementing RPA aren’t looking at it the right way and as a result aren’t seeing the real value proposition of RPA. Instead of primarily focusing on RPA as a cost-cutting, job-eliminating approach, companies need to look at implementing RPA as an opportunity to do more, better.
Smart companies are using RPA as an opportunity to expand—and businesses need to realize that RPA is a chance to determine how much they can grow, as well as how rapidly that growth might be able to be accomplished. They’re also using RPA to augment their existing talent and enabling them to do more (at a higher level).
Ethical Responsibility and RPA
Ethical responsibility as it relates to RPA is also important, especially as it relates to displacing workers. I believe that every business has a responsibility to shareholders to grow the business to be more profitable. That said, of your company’s focus is on cutting costs and cutting people, that’s not growth.
As a society and as an industry we have a responsibility to take care of the people in our industry. I believe that companies implementing or considering implementing RPA need to think about what RPA can do to enhance or augment workers impacted. RPA is best considered as pairing humans with technology for maximum benefit for the organization. Work processes can be streamlined, efficiencies realized, and jobs can be less focused on mundane, repeatable tasks, workers can add exponentially more value and probably enjoy their jobs more in the process.
The best way of thinking about that, and perhaps the best question to ask, is simple: How can we utilize to RPA make the workers within our organization more productive and also make the company more productive.
You can watch the entire Chatting with Chet interview below.
The original version of this article was first published on Futurum Research.
Fred is an experienced analyst and advisor, bringing over 30 years of experience in the digital and technology markets. Most recently, Fred launched the equity research team at Samadhi Partners and provides marketing strategy through the Wasabi Rabbit digital agency. He previously served as an EVP and Research Vice President at HfS Research, launching its Digital Trust practice and coverage of emerging "trust-enabling" technologies. Fred previously founded analyst firms Current Analysis, a global tech-sector competitive intelligence and market advisory (acquired by PDM), Decisys, an analytical consultancy (acquired by the Burton Group/Gartner), and the Aurelian Group. Fred’s analyst and consulting experience also includes Gartner and E&Y, with technology experience at Newbridge Networks’ Advanced Technology Group (now Alcatel) and DTECH LABS (now part of Cubic Corporation).
Fred studied engineering and music at Syracuse University. A frequent author and speaker, Fred has served as a guest lecturer at the George Mason University School of Business (Porter: Information Systems and Operations Management), keynoted the Colombian Associación Nacional De Empressarios Sourcing Summit, served as an executive committee member of the Intellifest International Conference on Reasoning (AI) Technologies, and has spoken at #SxSW on trust in the digital economy. His analysis and commentary has appeared through venues such as Cheddar TV, Adotas, CNN, Social Media Today, Seeking Alpha, Talk Markets, and Network World (IDG).