Beyond the headlines that scream apocalyptic scenarios of artifical intelligence taking over the world, intelligent automation is already serving to augment work as we know it. A new breed of robots, casually referred to as 'digital workers' is simply software that mimics the actions of humans when they're working at the computer.
"Digital workers complement the efforts of a human by doing all the boring, repetitive, trivial, and mundane tasks so the human can focus on more challenging and rewarding activities," said Greg Eyre, VP for ANZ at SS&C Blue Prism, a software development firm that specialises in intelligent automation.
The main difference between human workers and digital workers, however, is that robotic ones can work at scale and at speed. "They’re multitalented, and work 24/7, making them perfect for accelerating a digital transformation program to speed up long-term outcomes," Eyre said in this exclusive interview with People Matters.
What elements and attributes make digital workers effective?
Digital workers perform human-like tasks but in a more precise and efficient manner. Using the power of robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the cloud, SS&C Blue Prism digital workers combine all elements to ensure a simple and scalable process. Digital workers learn easily, adapt fast, and excel in any new skill. Additionally, digital workers can operate 24/7 without needing break time. SS&C Blue Prism develops these technologies to run mission-critical operations at scale, integrated with process and task mining capabilities to assess the most optimal way to perform an activity.
Digital workers are highly complementary to their human counterparts, working in unification. They can learn by observation, provide data and insight, and enhance the overall delivery of a task. Today, enhanced capabilities allow digital workers to process even large amounts of complex, unstructured data, boost efficient workflows and contribute to business operations and employee and customer satisfaction.
Which industries, job functions and areas of work are they successfully transforming?
Digital workers can successfully transform any industry, from finance, healthcare, retail, and insurance. Any business can gain invaluable benefits from investing in digital workers, however, to achieve optimal use of innovation, organisations must ensure that they aren’t taking siloed approaches to their journey. Successful transformation has been seen significantly in the financial sectors. When implementing SS&C Blue Prism technology at National Australian Bank (NAB), executives stated, at SS&C Blue Prism on Tour APAC, that governance is the key to a return on investment for robotic process automation.
Using digital workers in action helped to fulfil debit cards within an hour, with 100 percent accuracy – resulting in improved customer satisfaction and better return on investment. Digital workers encompass a wide variety of roles. As mentioned, they can carry out human-like tasks. Functions such as scheduling, claims, data entry, invoices, and onboarding can be facilitated by digital workers. These tasks are typically received on a large scale, with extensive checks for accuracy, which can be very time-consuming if carried out by human counterparts.
Digital robots can manage these functions with pure accuracy and enhanced efficiency- leaving more stimulating and strategic tasks for human workers to undertake.
Read more: Is your job at risk of AI takeover?
What are some guidelines / factors to consider when selecting digital tools to augment the work of humans?
Digital workers must be able to work within the same operational parameters as their human counterparts, which means that an intelligent digital workforce should be able to cope with complex orchestration and sequencing of its tasks with the minimum amount of human intervention possible. Businesses implementing digital robots will struggle when taking siloed approaches or harnessing the belief of a one-size-fits-all strategy.
These misconceptions invariably impede change and increase technological debt, jeopardising further expenditures in transformation. Organisations must evaluate and educate themselves on these misconceptions and adopt diverse and complementary technologies that can support their needs. Keeping open-minded and establishing reviews and change management systems can help to understand how to best implement and utilise digital workers.
How are digital workers enhancing life at work?
Digital workers speed up manual and mundane tasks, freeing human-worker time for more stimulating and engaging roles. With improved accuracy and efficiency, digital robots can enhance customer satisfaction, which in turn can improve the morale of dedicated employees.
Streamlined workflow processes can also accelerate the organisational configuration. This systemisation can ensure that every employee understands their roles and capabilities and increase the alignment between workers and their objectives.