RPA – Taking Your Bots To Lunch

RPA – Taking Your Bots To Lunch

I know, the image of Bots working in the office with you is a little terrifying.  But like theinternet, and the smart phone, the idea is going to stick.  So how do you integrate the new bots intoyour ork life (and maybe even invite them to lunch!).

First of all, there are a couple of megatrends converging in the Digital Transformation space. Examples are Phil Fersht and Horses for Sources concept of “OneOffice” where, unlike traditional front, middle and back office operations businesses are run in a singular and frictionless manner, enabled by technology – that technology being, for example, Automation Anywhere concept of a Digital Worker.  So while in the past “bots” did tasks, more and more delivering real and sustained value requires bots morph into digital workers that instead of doing a task does a job. all there are a couple of megatrends converging in the Digital Transformation space. Examples are Phil Fersht and Horses for Sources concept of “OneOffice” where, unlike traditional front, middle and back office operations businesses are run in a singular and frictionless manner, enabled by technology – that technology being, for example, Automation Anywhere concept of a Digital Worker.  So while in the past “bots” did tasks, more and more delivering real and sustained value requires bots morph into digital workers that instead of doing a task does a job. Crickey, I think I just made you feel worse.  Bear with me a little longer.  The good news is you can take advantage of this convergence.  As your organization begins to adopt OneOffice thinking (and you can probably think of examples where different parts of your organization are more tightly linked than ever before) and you will need to, therefore, redesign how the work gets done, don’t tentrench the past – leverage the future.

Crickey, I think I just made you feel worse.  Bear with me a little longer.  The good news is you can take advantage ofthis convergence.  As your organizationbegins to adopt OneOffice thinking (and you can probably think of exampleswhere different parts of your organization are more tightly linked then everbefore) and you will need to therefore redesign how the work gets done, don’tentrench the past – leverage the future.

Normally, organization design goes something like this.  There is a business process to execute, whichconsists of tasks and sub-tasks.  Thosetasks are aligned to skills.  Jobs arestructured based on logical groupings of skills, and then a job is assigned thecorresponding tasks.  In the first waveof RPA implementations, the focus was on applying bots to tasks.  And while that is a good place to start inredesigning the business, thinking about linking Digital Workers toskills.  For example, a lot of datamanipulation skills can be “learned” by a Digital Worker, so align the workalong those skills.  Structuredcorrectly, you will have Digital Workers that can be applied to multiplebusiness processes across multiple organizations.

Once the Digital Workers have their roles, what is left foryou and your human colleagues?  Typically,it is the higher value work, that is more fun and meaningful to do (and createsmore value for the business so should enhance your career as well).

Of course, to pull this off requires a lot of changemanagement.  People will resist change soa couple of basics to make sure you do: (a) understand your stakeholder groups,different groups will have different needs; (b) state the case for change,including the future vision (Hollywood has made too much money on the negativeside of robots so whether you like it or not you are going to have to workagainst that); and (c) as you communicate, make sure to have a feedback loop tomake sure the messaging is resonating, and measure the attitudes to ensure thatthe change is taking hold.

Big challenge, but a big opportunity.  Take it a slice at a time and you’ll be onyour way.  And when people start namingthe Digital Workers (and you’ll see, they will!) only a matter of time beforethey are joining you for lunch.  Bon appetite.