Who will command your bots?
Picture a world where you receive a message every morning from your robots that have already done most of the procedural work for you and have even gone as far as letting clients know the status of their work. Seems fanciful? Well, it’s coming faster than you think.
All of the larger firms are making a significant investment in this technology. There are now sophisticated tools available that don’t require programming expertise to develop these bots that take over simple repetitive tasks. Robots can seamlessly move data from one application to another by mimicking activities such as clicking, typing, and moving between windows.
Perhaps even more interesting or scary, depending upon your perspective, is that these robots can learn to enhance their own capability.
While the sophisticated Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools are still quite expensive for smaller businesses it is clear that more and more providers will emerge with pricing more attractive for smaller firms.
The concept is not that difficult although the tools do allow quite sophisticated implementations.
At a simple level, these tools can record and execute macros. A macro is a set of stored keystrokes that the system can automate. Systems can incorporate macros recorders that will record a user’s keystrokes to provide a starting point for bot development. These stored keystrokes can be edited to create the automated bot. There are quite a number of macro recorders on the market. More sophisticated functionality comes from the more expensive Robotic Process Automation applications. If you’re interested, have a look at:
There are quite a number of others.
Interestingly, this concept of macros recorders has been around for a long time. In the 1980s there was a product called Smarkey that stored keystrokes for DOS applications. In my firm, we created quite a sophisticated macro that enabled us to convert all of our ledgers from one supplier’s software to another. The new supplier was so impressed they used it as a conversion tool for other customers. We had 2,000 ledgers – each was converted in less than five minutes with no human intervention. Ponder the cost-saving from just that one application.
In a world where labour is increasingly difficult to find with rising costs, firms will need to turn to these technologies to enable work to be completed quickly and cost-effectively. Those that end up having an array of bots for these repetitive tasks will have a sustainable competitive advantage
So what are you going to do? You need a champion to drive it. Someone with a good mind for processes and a technology bent. Again not an easy person to find. I suspect they will exist in the younger ranks. There will be grads emerging with Robotic Process Automation knowledge. Many would find the opportunity to revolutionise the firm’s processes as an exciting opportunity.
If you possess these skills in your firm, I’m sure there is a service opportunity to assist your clients with their own bot development.
So if you wish to lead your firm to a successful future, Robotic Process Automation should be on your radar. Spend some time reading some papers on it and consider how investing in the technology may deliver significant benefits to your firm and your clients.