December 2019 update
We are currently working on a survey that will serve as a ‘reality check’ for the current state of RPA in Australia. We are talking to executives in different industry sectors about their opinion on how close we are to substantiate intelligent automation to the point of “a robot on every desk”. We are going to publish the findings in 2020, so subscribe to our newsletter if you want to be notified of its release.
In other news, our co-founder and CEO, Leigh Pullen, recently attended the UiPath Forward event in Las Vegas. The key insights about future trends in RPA discussed at the event were: a new economic crisis which is threatening organisations worldwide, and intelligent automation, which is likely to change the ‘classical’ approach of laying off employees.
Scaling up bots to better handle recession appears to be an alternative, viable model that can successfully replace employee dismissal. A related trend is that of improved robot standardisation, which results in an enlarged range of use cases.
Additionally, as young people entering the workforce become increasingly familiar with RPA and the benefits of automation, and as they become more efficient at working side by side with software robots, businesses will increase adoption and move further on towards process digitalisation.
The question about whether robots will replace the human workforce is still around, yet the answer becomes increasingly positive as time passes.
Robotic Process Automation can help companies execute various business processes quickly and accurately at reduced costs with less need for human intervention than ever before but there have also been some fears around robots replacing the human workforce.
But is this suggestion realistic? Can robots steal jobs currently being performed by humans? These “robots” exist within their own right but they are not here to negate the need for humans in the workplace. Experts suggest the complete replacement of human employees by robots is not likely to happen and that RPA is much more likely to contribute to potential job reallocation and even job creation. Experts also suggest that RPA will alter the way humans perform current job functions.
But how will job functions be altered you may ask? First, let’s cover off discussion surrounding job elimination, the impact of RPA on the ways we work, and who is impacted by RPA.
Worries of Job Elimination
Let’s be honest, RPA does have the possibility to impact jobs in some manner, but the capabilities do not allow it to entirely replace the need for a human workforce.
Consulting firm McKinsey & Company suggests that “currently demonstrated technologies could automate 45 percent of the activities people are paid to perform and that about 60 percent of all occupations could see 30 percent or more of their constituent activities automated.”
Based on the above statistics; in the next 10 years, RPA is much more likely to replace specific tasks than an employee’s actual position. Ideal processes for RPA automation are rules-based and repetitive tasks, such as copy-paste and order processing. Despite the impact RPA can have, many tasks still require humans to complete them. The robots are not yet capable of automating certain traits unique to humans such as problem solving, creativity, and human interaction.
RPA still needs support from humans to be successfully implemented. Humans are the only ones who can determine processes suitable for automation and monitor the performance of the robots. The technology is not yet able to operate without human intervention nor is it able to reproduce the higher-level thinking and actions of which humans are capable. Due to all these reasons, anxiety about RPA replacing the need for a human workforce is irrelevant.