The world is changing, and modern businesses are investigating ways to make these changes work for their long-term success. One of the many developments in recent years is the accessibility to automated processes through RPA. Robotic process automation has the potential to change how a business works, from the ground floor to the executive suite.
For those that find themselves in the role of Chief Technology Officer (CTO), these changes will have a big impact on their day-to-day work as well as the course of their future career path. Here are five ways RPA is changing the role of a CTO.
How robotic process automation is changing the role of CTO
1. Overseeing process changes
For a business to be successful, it’s essential to avoid making changes for the sake of making changes. Every decision, every process, every alteration to the current way things are done should have intention and purpose. When it comes to incorporating RPA, the changes will resonate throughout the entire organization. As such, it’s important that someone oversees these changes and makes strategic decisions regarding processes.
It’s worth noting that the automations being incorporated aren’t always going to relate directly to the IT department. Automating infrastructure performance monitoring is a purely IT-related process, whereas making changes on the manufacturing floor is not. That means that there may be a disconnect between what falls under the operations umbrella and what’s happening in IT.
For example, if a business is developing prototypes that will ultimately change how the current manufacturing process is completed, the CTO will have to take a look at the impact from a high-level view down to the simplest of tasks on the production floor.
Advanced automation processes will require a new set of skills to offer support to staff should something go wrong. The CTO will need to evaluate, for example, how these process changes impact the supply chain and give guidance on how to manage expectations with both suppliers and customers.
The CTO will not only have to juggle the change in operations flow but also have a hand in human resources change management.
2. Employee-centric change management
While changes to processes will be one major area of focus for the CTO, they will also have another vertical to address: human change management. While the idea of employee-centric management seems contradictory to incorporating RPA in a business setting, the CTO will find their role changing to a pseudo-human resources management position during the course of implementation and beyond.
The fear that automation and robotics will replace the need for human employees (in other words, the old “robots are stealing our jobs” narrative) is becoming more prevalent as AI and automation evolve.
For the production team, specifically, the CTO will be the leader of change in explaining how their specific jobs will be impacted. Even if job loss isn’t a concern, changes to routine generally have a negative impact on company culture. The CTO will play touchpoint for the subordinates in the business hierarchy that fall under their umbrella.
Furthermore, they will be working diligently behind the scenes and have to facilitate a strong bond with both the CIO and COO. Working with the CIO will be necessary to effectively collaborate and implement robotic process automation as seamlessly as possible. Describing how RPA will help rather than hinder current roles and managing expectations regarding the shifting scope of work will require a closer relationship with the HR department.
3. Strategic planning for business future
The ultimate goal of incorporating RPA is to steer business toward the future, helping it remain competitive in a shifting business landscape. Again, this in-depth knowledge of the supply chain setting gives the CTO invaluable insights into not only how incorporating RPA into the business model will impact the organisation, but also where it can take the business in the future. This gives the CTO a key role in long-term strategic planning.
They will have to work with the larger executive team to identify how robotic process automation will impact each area of the business, how it can be scaled over time, what potential challenges and barriers can limit the opportunity for success, and how to bring it all together. This requires being able to manage a team that can identify even the seemingly minor impacts; it’s often the small changes that get overlooked and cost the company time and money in supply chain gaps.
The CTO will have to think big picture for RPA implementation to have the desired results. They will have to understand that the idea isn’t to replace people — reducing human resources only saves the company so much capital and ultimately limits growth potential — but rather to create more user-friendly processes that optimizs the organisational workflow.