Automation Anywhere: what did the bot eat for lunch?

 

What did the bot eat for lunch?

  …A Byte

 

(Get it…. A Byte!)

The term Robot comes from the Czech word Robota meaning forced labour. The term was first used in a Czech play in the 1920’s. Since then we’ve had several stories of robots taking over the world. Last week I attended Tech Field Day 19 in Silicon Valley and on day 2, one of the presenters was from Automation Anywhere, a company who focuses on RPA (Robotic Process Automation). The subject was new to me and I was very curious to see this presentation. I can tell you it did not disappoint!

What an interesting product which led me to think about both the innovative technology being discussed together with the impact on future jobs and impact on society as a whole.

If you also don’t know what RPA is – don’t worry, you will! The Robots are coming.

Intro to Robotic Process Automation

Robotic Process Automation (which I will refer to as RPA from now on) is one of the fastest growing Enterprise technologies in the market. The software gives you tools to help automate business processes via software robots and AI (Artificial Intelligence). The robot term is a bit misleading, but I guess we’re stuck with the term for now.

A word about repetitive and boring tasks!

In any business there are so many repetitive and mundane tasks (even in my one-(wo)man army business). Up until now we’ve had human interaction and execution of all of these tasks, in departments including Finance and HR. Now there is a possibility to create a digital workforce to automate any business process. They can interact with any system and some of the true benefits are that the bots do not need sleep and they don’t make mistakes.

But what about all the jobs that will be lost?

The day before visiting Automation Anywhere I had a chance to visit The Computer History Museum and this made the impact of this presentation so much more thought provoking. I was so lucky to be picked out to demo the IBM 1401 from the early 1960’s which enabled the writing and processing of the punch cards. In the 1960’s many jobs consisted of punching cards every day and all day (oh joy). I can’t even imagine this! I was told these jobs were for women and they got 75 cents/hour to do this task.

 

 

 

I’m sure they would have been having the same conversation back then. My friend Pietro put it very well:

 

 

I’m sure some jobs will be lost as we shift from people to bots doing doing these tasks but I’m also very optimistic that there will be the creation of new and more exciting jobs as well. One of the jobs there (might) be in the future is focusing on the ethics surrounding AI and Machine Learning. I actually heard Dr. Eng Lim Goh talking about this very subject earlier this year and you can read his opinion here

New competencies

As I’ve mentioned this is a new and upcoming technology. Automation Anywhere is confident that everyone would be able to create their own bot in short timeframe. I do believe some technical understanding will be a good basis for further development though.

Some of my questions at the presentation were around this topic as I was interested to hear how much time you need to invest in learning how to create and maintain your bots. Automation Anywhere is confident you will have your first fundamental bot working within hours.

 

Automation Anywhere is investing in training and the community surrounding their software:

 

 

 

Business Transformation

RPA is not a project for the IT department but the business itself. Before beginning this project, one would need to redefine some roles and maybe even departments to focus on. The good thing is your company will work together in new ways and has the potential to be so much more effective. I won’t pretend knowing what is needed for your company but I wanted to share this business benefit.

 

More thoughts about RPA

RPA is surely a great upcoming technology and there is no doubt this is just the beginning of a whole new era of business transformation.

This conversation that happened during the presentation is also worth giving some thought before implementing RPA. I will let you come to your own conclusion.

 

 

 

Yawn yawn – AI and Machine Learning

Automation Anywhere is very invested in AI and Machine Learning. You might be reading about this where ever you turn these days. It might even bore you to death.  I’m very invested in AI and Machine learning and actually can’t get enough of it – whenever any vendor mentions this topic, I’m listening extra carefully on how advanced the algorithms are. They might say it… they might not tell you about it (and that tells me something too). I have been writing a blog post in my head about the subject for the last 2 years and this might actually be my next blog post (or it might be in 6 months… who knows really). I’m writing this sentence to motivate myself to finish an important write up! Please don’t let me forget it… I’m investing in AI, Machine Learning and IoT with my life!

You can watch the presentations from Automation Anywhere at Tech Field Day 19 here:

https://techfieldday.com/companies/automation-anywhere/

 

*Disclaimer: I am invited to participate as a Tech Field Day Delegate as a guest of Gestalt IT.  I did not receive any compensation to write this post, nor was I requested to write this post. The above post is written of my opinion and not that of Gestalt IT. 

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