Digital Workers at the Doorstep- Are You Ready?
By Manoj Chugh, President – Group Public Affairs and Member, Group Executive Board, Mahindra & Mahindra
Often, whilst analysing human behaviour, we tend to classify people into those that are Right Brained or Left Brained. Those of us, who are Right Brained are supposed to be imaginative, creative, intuitive and accomplished in the Arts, whilst those that are Left Brained are Rational, have strong mathematical skills, tend to be logical and have strong quantitative skills. In reality, we need both the half’s or as some would say the “whole brain”, to make our way through the whirlpool of life.
The adoption of Digital Transformation, catalysed by the pandemic has led to the adoption of a new kind of species at the workplace, called the Digital Worker.The Rise of the Digital Worker- is causing angst to many. The nightmare of machines taking over, haunts many of us. The question we often ask ourselves is, whether Digital Transformation is going to sound the death knell of the human worker? The reality is far from that. The future is going to be replete with examples of how Digital and Human Workers will come together to redefine the work place, build new products and serve customers. The partnership between the Digital Worker and Human Worker is here to stay.
How are Digital Workers built?In fact Digital Workers are nothing, but the creation of Advanced Robotic Process Automation spiced up with Artificial Intelligence capabilities like Machine Learning, NLP and conversational technologies. These workers are pretty smart. They can work independently and execute complex tasks within a given workflow. They work alongside the human worker as a good team-mate and are gracious enough to allow their human partner to retain authority, handle tasks that require high emotional quotient and deliver superior customer experience. The Digital Worker makes his human partner look good.
But then, how does one induct Digital Workers into the Workforce? The starting point is to articulate the organization’s Business Goals and identify key processes that can be optimized. Many of us began our RPA journey by automating a specific task, like managing tickets to drive straight through processing. Digital Workers can take our journey to the next level by integrating functional and process silos to deliver superior business value. Whilst we may begin by looking at narrow tasks within a silo, but the full value will be discovered only through the cross functional integration process.
Digital Workers can free us from repetitive tasks and leave us to focus on higher value added activities. With the arrival of these new Workers, there will be a tectonic shift in the fundamental structure of organizations. The New Workers are expected to expand capacity by over 25%. Aspects on re-training Human Workers will need to be addressed. Whilst organizations are highly dispersed in terms of where they are in the journey, there is no doubt that Automation complemented by AI is giving sleepless nights to many executives. The integration of the Human and Digital Worker, within the Enterprise, will pose new challenges.
Digital Workers are able to combine the speed and efficiency of delivering repetitive tasks and complement them with AI, to deliver tasks that human beings are doing today. This includes areas like extracting meaning from images and texts, detecting patterns and making recommendations. They do so by leveraging Natural Language Processing with Machine Learning and Deep Learning. Traditional Bots only followed rules based processes. They could not see patterns or extract meanings from images and text. Bots could not understand the logic. Digital Workers “understand” unstructured data and this differentiates them from their less intelligent ancestor Bots. Digital Workers are expected to help drive revenue up by over 10% and reduce cost by over 20%, in the near future.
As intelligent business process management technologies orchestrate processes, RPA is invoked to manage repetitive processes whilst AI algos help extract and classify data to drive predictive insights. Often several Intelligent Workers, work in tandem within the workflows to solve complex problems.
Applications in areas like Intelligent Document Processing can leverage Digital Workers to take over the “graveyard shift”, allowing human workers to focus on quality assurance. In “Quote to Cash” cycles, Digital Workers can follow through on receivables by matching invoices with customers purchase orders, accurately and then by following through on e-mail or messaging systems. Supply Chain, Human Resources and many other processes benefit with a combination of Digital and Human Workers. In the area of Customer Services, the urgency of the requests can be determined and then routed to the appropriate “desk”, which may be manned by a Human Worker. New World Organizations will leverage the benefits of the collaboration between Digital and Human Workers to drive top quartile revenue and profits.
Where does one begin this new journey? The best way perhaps is to start by defining an organization’s Digital Ambition. What are the big goals that one want’s to achieve? Is it about more revenue- by optimizing existing or through new revenue streams, is it about cost reduction or risk mitigation? These goals will help identify and then re-define and re-architect many critical processes by optimizing them.
Digital Workers can step in to do the heavy lifting, seamlessly managing mounds of Corporate data, in real time,to extract Gold!
(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author. They may or may not reflect the opinions or views of the author’s organisation)
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