As more and more organizations invest in robotic process automation (RPA), the likelihood of interacting with RPA in the workplace goes up. It’s not just up to the IT department, either; lots of employees will soon find that part of their job includes training, overseeing, or working “alongside” software robots. How does the average FTE survive?
The first key to succeeding in the new workplace is to view RPA as a useful tool, not as competition. As much as we may talk about robots having some kind of autonomy, they’re really very stupid. Robots only do what they are programmed to do; they are only as smart as their programmer. Control of the RPA workforce will depend on your organization. Some will have a dedicated team to handle RPA processes, and others will spread out the responsibility between departments. Our UiPath Desktop software, for example, is just as easily managed by a single person from their own computer as by the IT staff. It mostly depends on the scale of RPA deployment in your workplace.
At this point, you’ve probably heard the idea that RPA will take care of the dull, repetitive tasks and leave humans more time for creative and innovative work. That’s absolutely true, but the benefits to working alongside RPA go beyond that. Employees with the option to automate their own processes from their desktops are empowered. They can do more with their time, and having a software robot (or a fleet of robots) at their fingertips can foster ingenuity. It's amazing how addicting it is to find processes to automate. It won’t all be perfect, but by providing your employees with a new and useful tool, chances are good that you’ll see a growth in personal investment and engagement with their work.
Over the next several years, we will likely see a gradual shift in the distribution of duties because of RPA. The skillset which will prove most useful in the new workplace will rely heavily on problem solving and creative thinking. You can’t just get by with drone work anymore. Businesses will need people to manage their robotic workforce, deal with exceptions, monitor systems, load new processes, and prioritize work amongst the available processing power. The workforce needs people ready to step up and be leaders of robots, even if they only exist on a computer.
RPA is here to augment our work, not take it. It could help open up great possibilities in the ways we work, or at the very least, make work a little more bearable. Are you ready to race with the machines?