Time for a reality check – a new report from ISG out today says that robotic process automation (RPA), long feared as the destroyer of jobs, is actually increasing productivity whilst most people stay employed.
The report looks at finance, accounting and HR and considers the impact of automation. It appears that efficiencies are being built in but these haven’t yet involved substantial job cuts; also the BPO offerings themselves now include automation and are therefore more efficient in their own right. Rather than working simply on cutting, automation is making enterprises not only able to work with 37 per cent fewer resources but to work ten times faster.
“Talk of automation is everywhere, but what is often missing from the conversation are details about what is actually happening today,” said Stanton Jones, director and principal analyst, ISG Research, and co-author of the report. “The ISG Automation Index™ fills that gap with a data-driven analysis of how automation is changing the landscape of IT and business services – based on real-world information from ISG-advised IT sourcing transactions and RPA assessments.”
Obviously the fact that this report covers only ISG-advised companies means it’s a limited selection but the results might still be significant, particularly in view of the alarm bells automation has sent out about unemployment. Internationally people hear the notion of robotics and automation and they hear “you’re losing your job”.
Yet, Jones pointed out, “In nearly every scenario we analysed, increased productivity through task automation stands out as the most important change – not job loss. Humans are working alongside software robots, be they virtual agents or engineers, to increase their ability to take more customer calls, resolve more service desk tickets and process more invoices. This improved productivity is seeing important downstream effects: increasing operational speed and scalability, improving compliance and avoiding future costs. Our data indicate these benefits apply to both enterprises and service providers.”