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Responding to change - RPA and AI can give your business a competitive edge

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Written By: (Mudassar Ayaz Project Manager at Systems Limited)

August 02, 2021

As we navigate the intricacies and uncertainties of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, one thing is certain: this new era will have an extensive impact on the digitization journeys of organizations across industries. New leaders will continue to emerge as long as they embrace technologies, such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), to ensure growth and sustainability for their organizations.

Due to significant changes in the past couple of months in three important dimensions of the organization: the workforce, the workplace, and work, the future of work lies in adapting trends and addressing evolving customer needs. We must challenge our ability to adapt and acknowledge the necessity of not just learning the new, but the importance of unlearning in this changing environment. Organizations and leaders that comprehend the magnitude of adaptability will have a competitive edge.

Let’s explore more.

Adopting Robotic Process Automation (RPA) & Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Today, a major force that drives technological change is the adoption of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and artificial Intelligence (AI) in the business processes, wherever & whenever possible. Let us quickly understand what RPA is, as everyone is familiar with AI, I suppose.

RPA is simply a bot (a software program) that orchestrates a process or a task that otherwise a human would do. For instance, an employee of a product delivery store needs to print a sales invoice. Normally, he would have to read a purchase order, open up an ERP or similar invoice printing app, enter the data, and print the invoice.

Now, imagine all this mimicked by a bot in an automated fashion. The bot can read & extract the data from the purchase order file. Once data is extracted, the bot will automatically open up the desktop app, insert all the data, and print the invoice. Now, imagine 1000s of invoices being printed in this automated fashion, and all the data automatically being inserted in the company’s ERP system. It feels magical - to say the least. The cost that is saved & the efficiency achieved is yet another - phenomenal advantage.

Why RPA?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) limits the over-reliance on human resources, as bots carry out the majority of repetitive manual tasks that otherwise require a human touch. This article is not a deep dive into the inner mechanics of RPA and AI. Tons of material is already available online on how RPA has become an essential technology.

AI is seamlessly integrated with our daily lives and is transforming how we think, act, need, and want. For instance, when you converse over your phone regarding the purchase of a new laptop, and after that, if you open any other app such as Facebook, an ad related to that conversation will pop up on your screen. Artificial intelligence is behind these targeted ads. Likewise, Google Translate and Netflix are driven by AI.

RPA, infused with AI, can aid in intelligent decision-making, automate workflows, data entry, and keeping accounting books in check. This infusion thereby gives a valuable boost to your organization in utilizing the human resources in more high-yielding work.

The orchestration of multiple tools and technologies based on artificial intelligence, machine learning (ML), and advanced RPA is called Hyperautomation, but that is for another day.

Today, the focus should be to make a progressive stride and adopt the change. We should take a page from Apple's book. The iPod was a revolution of its time as it became popular in 2006 and gained momentum in 2007. It peaked in 2008 with record sales of over 54 million units and then vanished almost overnight. What killed the iPod? The iPhone. And, what is the lesson here? If we go through technological disruption at our peak, we can ride the next wave of innovation.

On the other hand, consider Nokia. They continued altering their designs and updating their technology and were the most dominant force of early hip digital phones, but ultimately failed to innovate the product line as per the changing environment and continuously evolving needs of the society. The result was a rapid market disruption by the contenders such as Apple and Samsung that exploited the smartphone space to their advantage.

The drastic shift between the pre-covid and post-covid eras serves as an excellent example in our case of the value of letting go of what we thought we knew and accepted the changed approach to the way we would carry our lives further. The near-immediate shift to work-from-home, online learning, telemedicine, and getting things delivered to your doorstep, that was all ten years of digital transformation crammed into a week. We need to ask ourselves if we are keeping pace with this speed of change. Technology is continuously evolving & planting opportunities everywhere; it’s a matter of getting adept at it.

Unlearn and relearn

To thrive in this technology-led evolution, we need to think beyond the fixed occupational identity and be flexible with our skills, expertise, and capabilities. One can no longer build a career solely based on the learnings of school and college; nowadays, careers are defined by a constant state of new learning as technology is continuously evolving.

The current pandemic has proven that we need to unlearn and relearn how we do things if we don’t want to become obsolete. This rapid change is challenging our abilities and urging us to adapt and learn the new.

Leading in this continuously changing ecosystem

Today, organizations and leaders who wish to be ahead of time need to proactively transform their business processes from human-driven manual effort to bot-driven automation operations by leveraging the capabilities of RPA and AI. When manual and mundane tasks are automated, human resources can focus on other tasks, making the organization more productive and proficient.

With the accelerated change, as we wade our way into the fourth industrial revolution, we need to ask ourselves who are we leading and where are we taking them? It is time to apply new technologies, invest in talent with the post-digital skillset, and build relationships on trust to ensure success and growth.

If you wish to undergo transformative change by leveraging the capabilities of RPA and AI, get in touch with us.