In the early 1980s, the age of the personal computer had arrived and "computerphobia" was suddenly everywhere, yet a mere three decades later, society has been fundamentally transformed by the power of the computer.
Now, as new technology emerges in the form of automation, we must shoulder the responsibility to integrate these technologies into work and society in the most effective and ethical way.
Software automation is already playing an increasingly influential role in our work lives, and like computers, allowing us to focus on higher-value, more satisfying creative and strategic tasks. Like any new technology, however, there will be some short-term disruption.
Widespread adoption of software automation is much closer than most people think, and while the benefits will be overwhelmingly positive, organizations must consider the following three factors to minimize societal disruption and allow for the smoother deployment of automation in 2019:
- Augmentation and organizational values
Technology is an enabler and helps augment human achievement. Consider how enabling the human workforce in your organization with RPA and digital workforce technologies will evolve your organizational values. Consider your values on human workforce issues like privacy, work-life balance, etc. and the relationship between bots and humans. Where might issues arise? How can we ensure our values stay consistent with this new tech?
- Identify necessary new skills
Automation will herald progress across all types of jobs, across all industries. What new skills are needed to handle this change? How can we ease the way for our human workforce to obtain these skills? An upskilling program, including from Automation Anywhere University, may be the answer.
- Identify employees who will be disrupted and retrain
Organizations have a social responsibility to use technology for the betterment of society. While there is a large segment of the workforce that will be freed from repetitive tasks to focus on the parts of their job they enjoy and add more value, there is also a portion that will see their position eliminated entirely. Be proactive in dealing with this displacement. Companies must assist in their retraining. This may involve classroom teaching, internships, or mobile learning. Making RPA training available at no cost to the displaced workforce will also help retain subject matter expertise within the current workforce as well. The key is to identify these people ahead of time and help them right-skill in anticipation of coming changes, thereby minimizing disruptions when automation really takes off.
Many forms of automation are becoming mainstream and is a part of the evolution of work that we will see. If a company is not automating all the processes that can be automated, they lose their competitive edge and ability to succeed. Companies must instead leverage everything at their disposal, starting with RPA. Just like companies can no longer function without computers, in 10 years there will not be a company that doesn’t have their own bot as part an integral part of the way people work.
Its critical organizations take proactive steps now to ensure they not only adopt to remain competitive but also make strategic decisions for the good of society and their employees.