The Human Side of Automation

Blog /The Human Side of Automation
NTT DATA Services Human Side of Automation

When the horse and carriage was replaced by the automated production of cars, it set in motion an entirely new manufacturing and services industry based on automobiles. The assembly line was created. Tire manufacturers were needed. Taxi services began offering rides for a fee. Racing teams made a sport out of the industry. Similarly, when the washboard was replaced by the washing machine, it spawned the laundry detergent manufacturers, laundromats and more recently, a Foldimate, a robotic folding machine.

Automation has been changing the nature of work for more than 500 years. It has replaced labor intensive tasks, undertaken repetitive ones, escalated the speed of production, and generated new streams of work. More importantly, it continues to change the nature of work itself. For example, in the insurance industry, automated processes can manage the volume and quality of customer profiles. This will enable insurance agents to spend more quality time with their customers through improved profiling. The agents will understand their customer’s needs better, and thereby have better insight to offer more relevant products. In the health care industry, robotic assistants can take care of triage. This will ensure that doctors and nurses can focus on saving more lives.

Automation is not about replacing people with machines or human agents with robots. It is the ability to augment and improve our human capabilities and ingenuity. Humans can then more effectively do what they’re best at: creation and innovation.

Today, the competitive nature of business is forcing many companies to adopt automation solutions. These will increase the enterprise’s agility and will help improve customer service. It will also help increase IT efficiency, thus reducing costs.

Where do you start your automation journey?

In my interactions with customers and prospects, I find that they look at automation platforms before they know what truly needs to be automated. They ask: “Will this platform work best?” “Should I use Blue Prism or Automation Anywhere for my Robotic Process Automation?” Tools and technologies are only one part of the ecosystem. The principal characters here include automation assessments, business processes, and automation goals. Customers must first identify the best areas to streamline. This is based on their enterprise objectives and automation goals. Once they have identified these areas, they can apply the most appropriate automation solution.

You begin by setting the stage. The opening scene begins with four key players:

  • Business Intelligence: A set of processes, applications, data and technical architectures, used to support the collection, data analysis, presentation and dissemination of business information
  • Advanced Analytics: The use of techniques and tools to discover deeper insights, make predictions, or generate recommendations
  • Machine Learning: An application of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. The development of software that can access data and use it to learn for itself.
  • Cognitive Computing: A machine’s ability to use logical deduction to solve problems and correspondingly respond to its environment.

Having the right data is critical for success. The better your data, the more likely you will achieve automation success. This foundation enables what we call ‘automation actors’ to perform their roles more effectively. Based on the plotline of the above data-led characters and how they play out in your enterprise, you can now plan your next scenes and acts with these four key players:

  • Humans: A robust, understood data layer helps human agents do their job more quickly and effectively
  • Autonomics: Scripted, autonomous, rules based solutions that are focused on taking predictable activities and automating them completely
  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA): Software robots who can take on process-based tasks
  • Virtual Agents (VA): VA’s replace person-interaction and make independent decisions

Not all enterprises need these characters equally. Depending on their business objectives, enterprises need to pick out their cast carefully and assign them their respective roles. There is no single formula for success and no foolproof script. Each enterprise must draft its own storyline and select the cast based on their unique enterprise narrative. Like a successful show everything counts, all the way from the stage, to the script, and the actors. In this case it means, the right data, automation actors, and the right set of technologies.

Find out how NTT DATA Solutions for Intelligent Automation can help you write the winning script for your automation initiatives.

Post Date: 8/29/2017

Daniel_Thomas Daniel Thomas

About the author

Daniel Thomas is the vice president of Automation, Integration, and Alliances at NTT DATA Services, a Global IT Innovator. He has 15+ years of experience in the IT services industry. His team delivers autonomics, business process management, and integration solutions to global businesses. The worldwide team is comprised of consulting, presales, solutions, and service delivery professionals that enable our customers to deliver next generation solutions both internally and externally.