Robotic has been one of the latest technology hype in recent years. We are now seeing physical robots outside factories in cafés, hospitals and hotels. Their capabilities range from simple movements like tray collection, room service to cognitive robots like surgery and physiotherapy. The robotic revolution is not just confined to physical robots but also in the software world. These software robots are called “Robotic Process Automation” (RPA) and mimics a human to execute processes on desktop. The RPA robots can be trained to “use” systems like ERP (i.e. SAP, Oracle Financials etc.) or office automation like emails, MS Excel, Access, Word etc like a human user. RPA are commonly applied in financial services, business operations processing documents and transactions. Its usage has expanded to many industries and geographies.
With the robotic technology maturing to a level of high accuracy and reasonable cost, it is a trend that is unstoppable. Operating cost would reduce, productivity would increase and a new competitive front would appear in nearly all industries. We have reach the right time to adopt the robotic technology to get ahead of business competition. Early adopters can build a robotic technology within the business, integrating it with the human workforce and most importantly scale to the next level of artificial intelligence on machine learning, cognitive computing etc.
Business leaders understand the advantages of riding the robotic technology wave to compete in business and are often very enthusiastic at the idea. However, the robotic journey can be more challenging than the usual automation system implementation (i.e. ERP). It involves more than business case and process improvement. The robotic journey mandates a transformation of the current workforce to become one with a combination of robots and humans. Change management becomes the top most important key success factor for any robotic adoption. Common Change Management Strategies like Top-down approach or Program-change approach often do not work well in robotic adoption. To fully realise the potential of robotic, the new robot-human workforce must be fully integrated to work seamlessly. For this to happen, the human workforce must fully embrace their new robot colleagues. The change approach would need to be holistic and take into consideration management support, technology & process programs and early involvement of current human workforce in the robot design. This helps the human workforce redesign their own work-scope and keeping themselves relevant in the new transformed work teams.
Are you ready for the workforce of the future?