Episode 18: Robot (Process Automation) Will Take Your Job!

Are you fearful that machine learning, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, or deep learning are going to take your job? I’ve got news for you… there’s something far less fancy that has the potential to leave you without a job!

Robotic Process Automation (and Robotic Desktop Automation) is a far less sophisticated set of technologies that have the potential to disrupt literally every industry everywhere. However, in this episode, Jordan discusses the actual implications of implementing RPA and RDA across your company.

(HINT: RPA most likely will not take your job)

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Music for the show: Foolish Game / God Don’t Work On Commission by spinmeister (c) copyright 2014 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/spinmeister/46822 Ft: Snowflake

Show Notes:

Welcome to data couture, the podcast about data culture at work at home, and on the go. I’m your host, Jordan Bohall. If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe lows, get the latest episodes wherever you get podcasts. And if you’d like to stay up to date on everything data couture, be sure to follow us on Twitter at data couture pod. Finally, if you’d like to help support this in future episodes, consider becoming a patron of the podcast through our Patreon page@patreon.com. forward slash data couture. Now on to the show.

Welcome to data couture. I’m your host Jordan.
And on today’s episode, we’re going to be asking the question will robots take my job? Now the kind of robotic job taking actions I’m talking about aren’t the ones in the automotive industry, I’m not even talking about artificial intelligence, machine learning or predictive analytics. Instead, I’m talking about what’s referred to as robotic process automation, as well as robotic desktop automation, otherwise known as our pa and our da. Now, if you don’t know what this is, the first section is going to be a bit of an education piece where we talk about what is our pa and RGA. Then we’ll move into what the industry is doing and saying about these new technologies. And the final act will talk about are these new technologies or I should say new wish technology terms are they going to take your job, so stay tuned.

Welcome to the first part of the show. Now, for those of you not in the know for what robotic Process Automation is, or what robotic desktop automation is, perhaps you’re more familiar with the notion of supervised versus unsupervised machine learning. Now, we’re not going to get into that piece. But there’s a similar distinction within the robotic Process Automation realm, you can think of robotic Process Automation is being attended or unintended. The unintended version of our pa or robotic Process Automation means that robots automatically complete various back office functions, ie moving lots of high level data around at scale, meaning enterprise wide if necessary, with very little employee or other otherwise, some sort of intervention. No attended robotic process automation, often called robotic desktop automation means that the robots respond to an action that is more or less triggered by an employee.

And then an automatic completes various tasks that ultimately simplify business process workflow. Now, let’s go to the our pa that attended our pa version. First, the robotic desktop automation remember, that’s where the bots respond to an action triggered by an employee. Now, these attended software bots, they usually run on a particular local, or local workstation, think your particular laptop or desktop at work. And what they do is they manipulate the same office programs that you would otherwise use in your own computer. And since it’s an attended bot, they respond exclusively to you user prompts or to various human triggered events. Now, let’s go to the attended our pa the true robotic process automation, unintended our PA, we use this for various back office functions that have much wider impacts on workflows.

And so unlike the attended bots, the robotic desktop automation, which usually run on individual computers or workstations, unattended bots, robotic process automation, bots, run on various servers with very little to no human intervention. However, again, we can’t confuse this with artificial intelligence and machine learning. Primarily because these bots, they they don’t learn on their own most predictive analytics, machine learning, or artificial intelligence has the ability to take in new bits of information and learn how to increase the accuracy of whatever they’re trying to predict. However, these unintended robots or even the robotic desktop pieces, those bots, they’ll run on predetermined schedules or by the click of a button.

They can handle aggregation, mapping, analysis, sorting, and even distribution of large quantities of data. So these data streams and processes ultimately improve the workflows of individual departments, or even with the robotic desktop automation bots, the workflows of individual people within those departments. Now, let me give you an example. Because that’s all pretty high level, perhaps, too theoretical, of notions.

Let’s take a robotic desktop automation bot. And let’s say you work in a contact center. Now, if you have a contact center, you know, you get all sorts of questions from all sorts of customers or your members. However, they fit into general schema, their their various types of tasks that you’ll have to do over and over and over again, it’s just part of the job with a robotic desktop. But sitting on your desktop, you can invoke it by clicking on it. And then let’s say your customer wants to open up a new checking account. Well,if you have a robot that has been trained to open up a new account, what it can do is click the bot, enter the customers information. And then instead of having to go through the seven or eight different screens, copying data, having the chance of making errors, just because you do this all the time, you know, eventually you’re going to make an error, it’s not necessarily your fault.

The robot will instead take this first source bit of information, it’ll distribute it across all the various applications, it’ll get everything lined up all the forms that need to be signed, or all the various stop points or checkpoints that need to be attended by the customer service agent. And it will do it automatically in the background. Now why is this beneficial? Well, it means as you are the customer service rep, you get to provide something that is becoming rarer and rarer these days, you get to actually talk to the customer, and figure out what they really need. Maybe they’re calling into opening up, open up a checking account. But really what they’re trying to do is eventually save for a house or you know, try to buy a new car, or they’re opening up a checking account because their son or daughter is going to college.

And so they want to have an easy way to transfer money back and forth when the kid inevitably needs to get beer money, right? Well, having this robotic desktop automation, but available on your desktop, you have this amazing power to actually connect with your customer. Now, when that happens, that means you get better customer engagement, you get customers who are loyal to your brand, there are so many different reasons why this type of automation can be so beneficial for so many companies. Now, let’s take an example for robotic process automation. Remember the unintended bot that runs with very little human intervention, the unintended bought the robotic Process Automation bot, that runs on a server somewhere in your company, usually an enterprise skill, they can do something very impressive, for example, maybe you have a lot of data that you have to collect from a lot of different sources that way.

So your data, scientists can put it into a particular model so that they can predict maybe stock prices going up or down, or maybe delinquency rates or any untold number of things. And I’m sorry for all these finance examples. But hey, I work in the financial services industry. In any case, it can do all of this in the background, without human intervention and serve up the data set that that data scientist needs. It can even clean it up, it can do all sorts of predefined rules and movements, as it was intended to do. And this comes, I don’t know about you, but data science for me is 70% data wrangling clean up manipulation. And before I even get to the sexy bits of model building, which let’s be fair only takes about 10% of the work.

The robot can do this for you, which means that you can produce far more variations of your model AV test at a much larger scale, and ultimately produce a better algorithm for your organization. Now, let’s move on to the second part where we talk about what’s going on in the industry what people are saying about robotic process automation. See you soon.

Welcome to the second act of the show. So what is the industry saying about robotic Process Automation? What are they saying about robotic desktop automation? Well, as you guys or at least my regular listeners know, I had the chance to travel to the pagan world conference. Now pick up offers quite a few interesting solutions. Among them are robotic process automation and robotic desktop automation. But of course, there are multiple other companies out there like blue prism or UiPath, or automation anywhere, any number of others. So I don’t mean to point out just paga systems, but I was very inspired by what I learned there. In fact, I got the chance to sit with one of their executives, somebody hold the title that one day I want to hold in my organization, namely, their chief data officer, and with me was landscapes of BP three global fame. He’s the co founder and hence hence, we’re going to have a very wonderful interview coming up with him sometime in August, where I’ll be presenting a panel for his automation conference.

Nevermind, I don’t mean to self promote too much. However, what I got
to do while I was sitting with these two guys was here really the vision from the word of the guy himself, the chief data officer at paga, what their views are on robotic process automation. And what I heard was inspiring. What I heard was, will be able to employ all these bots, whether they be the unintended robotic Process Automation bots, or the attended robotic desktop automation bots, improving the workflows either in the back end or the the front end respectively. Now, what they said was, the more bots you get, the more bots you employ, the more workflows that you’re going to be able to improve or speed up or automate in such a way that people can do what people do best, talk to one another, right? connect with one another, communicate with one another.

And with all these bots, that means that people on the front lines, people in contact centers, people in retail, people who are the face who are truly the face of your organization, these people who speak to the customer speak to the members, they’re going to be empowered to do jobs that are way beyond what their current job level is. Now why, because they don’t have to push buttons, they don’t have to copy and paste data, they don’t have to do data entering instead, let the robot do that, right. And then what happens then we get to upscale our employees, we get to provide a path towards more education, perhaps better pay perhaps a better job role. All because we have these bots working in the background or working in attended fashions on users desktops. And that means a happier employee that means a happier organization. And if you didn’t know, happy employees and happy organization leads to happy customers.

And so what I’m hearing not only from pig and not only from from Lance, but
from all the various trade publications, all the various blogs about this sort of thing is that that robotic desktop automation can take the tedium take the boredom, take the repetitive mind numbing tasks out of our jobs. Now, of course, we need people that can perhaps code robotic Process Automation bots, and robotic desktop automation bots. But we’ll get to that in the third act what that actually means because companies like pika offer a very nice solution. And it offers a solution that answers our question from the top namely, will robots he will robotic Process Automation take our jobs? Here’s a hint. Probably not. So stay tuned for the third piece. See you soon.

Welcome to the third act. Now I’ve already given the ball game away a little bit. Namely, will robots will robotic Process Automation take our jobs? And the answer isn’t quite so black and white. It’s not yes or no. Instead, it’s you have to look at your own job function. Do you do a lot of things in your job where you follow a standard process SAP standard operating procedure,
as we like to say?

Do you know where the pieces that come down the line before you come from? Do you know where they go afterwards? And if the answer’s no, you might want to look out. However, if you do know, and you do have more of a system wide kind of a global view of the processes that you’re participating in at your own organization? Well, there’s a very good chance that you can avoid the impending robotic Process Automation takeover. Right? What does that what can you do? How do you save your jobs, so to speak? Well, easy, as I may at the front in the first act, robotic process automation, robotic desktop automation. It’s not artificial intelligence. It’s not machine learning. It’s not predictive analytics. It’s not deep learning and neural networks. It’s nothing fancy.

It’s just a set of code that performs a certain task over and over and over again in a very repeatable and consistent way. Whether you’re talking about robotic process automation, or robotic desktop automation, it’s the same thing. So what does that mean? It means it can’t improve upon your processes, it can’t make more efficient the process at a fundamental level, all I can do is perform that process as it was coded as it was delivered to your desktop or to the system by itself over and over and over again. So what does that mean for you, dear user of these desktop automation pieces, or dear employee who fears that their job is going to be taken by these robots, on simple, you can create a better process.

And so even though somebody might come in, knock at your cubicle, or knock at your office, somebody like me and say, Hey, we’re going to look at some of your processes. And we’re hoping to improve the efficiency of your team so that you can produce more better. And we’re going to do that through robotic desktop automation and robotic process automation, you should walk in them with open arms. Because what does that mean? It means that it gives you more time to think more critically and more creatively about what it is that you do every day. And so while the first generation of robot might perform the job very, very quickly, and given the current standard operating procedures are so great. That doesn’t mean it’s the best it can be.

What does it mean? It means that it gives you an opportunity to truly review the process truly think about what it is you’re trying to do truly understand your role in the organization and how you contribute to both the bottom line and to the overall customer experience and expectation. And then what do you do you consider a better way you think of a better way to do that process that might cut out a few steps, or it might be completely novel, it might use existing technology within your organization, it might use something that’s brand new. The point is the robots going to give you time to think about that to consider all the options and to come up with a way to make a better robot to make a better widget, right.

And then once you do, once you come up with this better way of thinking about the problem that you’re working on thinking about the particular tasks that that you are charged with? Well, guess what, you have more time to think creatively, you have saved the company X number of dollars, you’ve improved the customer experience by so much percent, you have been a hero for the organization, because you’ve solved a particular pain point, for example, that otherwise would have just been trudging down the road because you had to click the buttons and a certain set away and you couldn’t think about these things in a critical manner. But now, the robots for you to be a person, they free you to have a more fulfilling job because you don’t have to just think, Oh, I click why here, enter this information here, open up this program here.

Do x y&z there, you get my point. With these robots, you have the chance to really excel in your chosen field. Now, what does this mean for the people who program the robots? Well, let’s take away your job. Like I said, at some point in this episode, it’s going to be able to do the work like 70% of the work for data engineers, data scientists, visualization engineers, it’s going to do a lot of the data wrangling a lot of the data mining a lot of the data cleanup. Well, That only leaves 30% of a job for you. What do you do now? Well, you need to inverse what you think your job is, you think you’re a technologist, not really, at the end of the day, you’re a storyteller. You’re a storyteller about how these fancy algorithms that people don’t care to know, you know, how to make the sausage so to speak, you only care about the results.

So it gives you much more time one, to create better algorithms create more efficient and accurate Alex to solve business problems at a deeper level. But more importantly, it allows you just like the customer service rep. To do something
more fundamental, it allows you to be more human. What I mean, I mean that, by having these robots do a lot of the not so sexy part of the data science job, you now have the chance to actually interact with your co workers and find out how they see the world that way you can design and build algorithms and data products that best suit their needs.

Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how fancy or how sophisticated the things you are creating. What matters is how well it solves the problem for that person and that business unit on that day. Well, with these robots doing the dirty work, now you have the chance to actually figure out who the person is and figure out how they learn and figure out how they use information so that whatever you give them will be the most effective possible. Now, I’d love to hear your thoughts about this. I’d love to hear if you are personally affected by robotic Process Automation or robotic desktop automation, and how perhaps you’ve overcome the stigma that it’s going to take your job.
See you next time.

That’s it for the show. Thank you for listening. And if you liked what you’ve heard, think consider leaving a comment or like down below. Stay up to date on everything data couture, be sure to follow us on Twitter at data couture pod. consider becoming a patron@patreon.com forward slash data couture music for the podcast. It’s called foolish game. God don’t work on commission by the artist spin Meister used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license, writing,
editing and production of the podcast is
by your host Jordan Bohall.

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