Last week the London RPA and AI meetup gathered together representatives from Automation Anywhere, Accenture and IBM to discuss how to bridge the gap from RPA to AI.
The collective experience of the panel immediately challenged that back-office automation is simply going too slow, giving examples of industrial robots with automation capabilities being around for over 30 years, why is RPA moving so slowly?
Another view cited consumer AI, where products like Alexa have become commonplace and the use of AI in our shopping, smartphones, or TV viewing is prevalent. If AI has moved so quickly at how, why is it so difficult for businesses to move at a similar pace?
Answers and excuses came thick and fast...some thought it was ignorance of the opportunity provided by RPA and AI, the misguided belief that automation was only for large businesses and doesn't apply to SMB's. Other cited change fatigue and no energy to look at another wave of technology change. All agreed that getting started was easy, but scaling up and sustaining the program is difficult.
The panel all agreed that the technology is mature, affordable and capable, whatever your needs, but warned that the technology alone will not solve your problems. Without a doubt, the new wave of Intelligent Automation (RPA + AI) is providing digital transformation opportunities for businesses but the success of these programs relies on the people and processes, not the technology.
Processes need to be reimagined, the nature of work changed and this requires forward thinking skills not just technological ones. The panel referenced a study that suggested that 80% of the value of RPA came from businesses being forced to review and optimize their legacy processes!
For many, this is not a gap to be bridged, but an impossible chasm to leap, but if businesses wait too long to start they will now be left in the dust.
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VP Product at The RPA Academy