Robotic Process Automation actually described the ability of personal computers that could independently perform tasks hitherto reserved for humans – such as for example fraud detection or financial planning. The annals of the word RPA – Robotic Process Automation dates back 20 years.
“He deals with himself!” Regarding robotic process automation, this phrase identifies a trend called to condition the future of work: software robots that cope with simple, repetitive tasks that take us long. Thus, employees have more time for productive tasks and value-added creators.
It is an experience shared by almost all SMEs: the increase in costs leads to the need to work as efficiently and effectively as possible. “We observe how companies are under everlasting pressure to keep their competitive advantage. This means that they have to use the best they can potential of their experts,” says Marcel Cobussen. He is the Director of Business Development for IT Services of Konica Minolta Europe.
RPA: Software and Autonomous Robots that deal with Routine Tasks
We can set ourselves in the example of a large company in the logistics sector and transportation to show how companies can cause routine-day routine processes to be carried out through robotic process automation.
Problem: The company faced an increasingly reduced number of work orders, which put the business in danger. The main reason was that the location of the trucks and the delivery status of the shipments was not known.
The solution came from the hand of 400 robots software that automated one million processes, equivalent to 16,000 hours of work. Currently, 50% of the deadlines are fulfilled through this fully automated system and without human intervention.
Robotic Process Automation Only Works with Structured Data
But for this to work, there is a sine-qua-non condition. Process automation works only with structured data. “You can not make your business use artificial intelligence if you are not oriented to data and digitized,” Professor Dr. Stefan Wrobel, director of the Fraunhofer Institute of Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems explains.
If the data occupy a central place, they have to be perfectly structured and safe. This means that, at least for the moment, for companies that are not data-oriented process automation will be too large an investment. Robotic automation processes can suppose high costs for SMEs.
RPA: Opportunities in the Global Market and Ethical Considerations
Even so, analysts and researchers of specialized tendencies in AI and robotics are reasonably convinced that the expansion of robotic process automation through software and services will increase rapidly in the coming years. By 2025, invisible machines will be able to work more hours than humans, according to the report “The Future of Workplace 2025”, of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
“Robotic Process Automation is one of the most important technologies of 2020 and its start-up is gaining strength,” explains Marcel Cobussen. “A growing number of companies recognize the huge benefits and improvements to using robots within their company software.”
Will the Robotic Process Automation be passed and the algorithms eventually deal with all the routine work in companies?
In order to answer this question we have to think about these three ethical issues:
- Robots, whether they are (hardware or software), should always be recognizable by people as they are.
- People should know exactly what it does and what a robot can not do.
- People should be able to understand the decisions that a robot or an algorithm can take.