Are Your Automation Ethics On Point?

Are Your Automation Ethics On Point?

While automation isn’t new we have seen it shoot up in popularity. It seems a growing wave of intelligent automation is sweeping across industries all over the world. As a next step for the technology, hyper-automation will allow enterprises to automate processes from beginning to end without the need for any human intervention.

All this tech is set to improve efficiency and quality everywhere – but there’s always a new challenge around the corner and in this case, it’s the ethics of automation as the technology spreads to every corner of our lives.

Why Businesses Need An Ethical Approach to Intelligent Automation (IA)

Businesses should be motivated to ensure they have an ethical approach to IA because of two key reasons. An ethical approach is going to give companies a competitive advantage on top of the many advantages attached to automation – let us explain how.

Firstly, customers everywhere are becoming more discerning of the brands they spend money with. If you’re not acting ethically customers will find a more conscious and socially responsible organisation to work with.

On the other side of the coin, as an employer, you need to appeal to potential employees by having an honest image of your ethical approach to automation. In a competitive job market, this sort of behaviour goes a long way.

The Considerations

There are a few key things to consider when you look at the ethics of automation. Their ranking on your list of importance will vary by your application and what industry you’re in but they’ll all be important to some degree in almost any situation.

Re-skilling Employees

With big changes on the horizon for industry, the role of people is going to change. The current skills that are valued won’t be required at as much scale or frequency and so businesses have a responsibility to keep their current employees up to date with modern skills. That means training them on the skills bots can’t take care of, particularly in managing and maintaining the bots themselves.

Automation Transparency

When it comes to the ethics of automation, transparency and accountability are vital. Businesses must have a deep understanding of the bots that are deployed especially as they become more integrated into critical processes. Now, there isn’t a danger of losing control because, as we’ve said many times before, these bots will not act on their own. However, as bots become more ‘intelligent’ we’ll be giving them more control and ownership and we need to be aware of how quickly that spreads throughout businesses.

Data Usage – Control and Governance

As technology improves and connection speeds increase, the amount of data that is collected and transmitted is going to continue to skyrocket. Automation is going to help handle all of this new data but companies need to lay out clear usage policies and programs that account for the fact bots are going to do most of the heavy lifting. Without these measures in place, the scale of data breaches or misuse could be huge.

The ethics of automation isn’t just a checkbox exercise. It should be a part of a wider approach to responsible management of people, data, and processes. As intelligent automation grows and becomes more widespread we will all encounter its impact. Businesses are going to play a big part in defining how well people deal with the rise of machines.

Need help with automation implementation? PAteam is ready to help today.

Intelligent Automation Will Drive Post-Pandemic Recovery

Intelligent Automation Will Drive Post-Pandemic Recovery

In the past year, both businesses and individuals have seen that the world hasn’t just returned to normal. The fallout from the pandemic means that getting back to where we were isn’t going to be quick or easy; but it does present us all with the opportunity to make things better than they’ve been before – an actual New Normal.

Workplace transformation post-Covid has seen organizations look to automation as a way to save costs and increase efficiencies. This was a fundamental requirement with employees distributed and with businesses lacking easy access to people. Companies everywhere have needed tools that run behind the scenes to keep them afloat. Having seen the benefits of intelligent automation this trend is set to continue with growth in intelligent automation to a predicted market value of over $15 billion by 2025.

Intelligent Automation Helps Businesses Meet Demand

Automation is a crucial part of many organizations and has proven itself as an innovative solution to many problems companies face as a result of workplace transformation, post-Covid. As inflation rises, and shortages of raw materials continue, making good decisions becomes more important than ever.

All of this pressure impacts customer demand. The extra market pressures on your customers will mean they try to get what they need from you quicker than ever. The only way to keep up with this demand is to put bots in place to increase capacity and deal with that demand more efficiently and at a scale beyond that of a human team.

Intelligent Automation Isn’t Just For Today

A lot of organizations jumped at the chance to put automation quick fixes in place that would help them cope with their workplace transformation post-Covid. While this was a great use of the technology – because developing Minimum Value Products, MVPs, in automation can often be done very quickly – it’s important that your business doesn’t lose sight of what automation can really do.

Beyond the low-hanging fruit of the here and now, automation and a culture built around it can be a strategic tool for your business and form part of a larger transformation into a truly cutting-edge business. Those quick wins that automation can deliver today often help pave the way for the long-term culture that promotes further innovation going forward.

Reimagine Your Business With Intelligent Automation

Truly intelligent automation will give you the opportunity to find new ways to work. That’s not just saving time by letting a bot take care of the mundane tasks you hate – intelligent automation can do so much more.

Intelligent automation can be built to find connections in processes and data within your business that you didn’t even know existed. By using technology to understand more about the environment you work in, you give yourself the greatest chance to improve it. This means that in the future bots won’t just give you more time to focus on adding value, they’ll actually provide you insight into how to do it.

Need intelligent automation in your business? Get started today by speaking to PAteam.

Could your automation do with some design thinking?

Could your automation do with some design thinking?

Design thinking has been used by consumer-driven companies for the development of products and services, for over 50 years. But can design thinking in intelligent automation drive benefits in the same way as it does for consumer goods?

What Is Design Thinking?

Design thinking isn’t a new idea and has been well refined over decades. In short, it is an approach to products and services that helps to methodically identify unknowns, establish solutions, and then test outcomes. It can be broken down into 5 clear stages, and while they don’t have to be completed in order, teams will often run them simultaneously and repeatedly until the result is refined to a point the stage can be considered complete.

1. Understand
First, you must identify and understand the problem you want to tackle. Focusing on the user of your product or service and how the solution they currently use works.

2. Define
Next, you must define what the key challenges for that user are, and what issues those challenges create. Make your definitions clear and easily understood by everyone involved.

3. Solve
Then comes the first part of the solution. Looking at the problems you discovered and defined and think of a variety of potential solutions that solve most of or all of those challenges.

4. Prototype
Create a basic version of the solution you think is best. It doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to cover the basic functions of your solution – so that you can establish whether or not it works.

5. Test
Testing is the gatekeeper to rolling out, so you have to be certain you’ve tested your solution as thoroughly as possible if you want something to be successful on day one. If something doesn’t work, go back to the root cause and apply the relevant stage.

How Intelligent Automation Benefits From Design Thinking

Design thinking in intelligent automation is no different from the stages we’ve covered above; we just have to apply those in an automation setting. As with any business venture, ROI is right up there as a performance indicator. Design thinking offers a specific way to boost the ROI of automation – changing the perspective on the technology to not accomplish individual tasks but instead outcomes.

By focusing on outcomes rather than processes you can more clearly define what every process is set to help achieve. It’s just like your business goals, all the decisions you make should be geared towards achieving them. Design thinking brings alignment between process flows and process outcomes and that helps to drive returns on automation investment.

You may already use some form of design thinking in your business so making the shift to using it internally, focused on intelligent automation, could fit nicely into your current model. If you’re unsure of how to bring automation into your business or how you can implement design thinking then your best bet is to reach out to an expert.

Need help with design thinking and automation? PAteam is ready to help, talk to us today.

Automation Glossary – Do We Need That Much Terminology?

Automation Glossary – Do We Need That Much Terminology?

For people working in tech, the appeal of buzzwords and complex terminology is ever-present. Automation is no different – but the industry does itself no favors by focusing on putting things into boxes with names, rather than delivering the actual value of the technology on offer.

Today we’re diving into a few bits of tech talk and we’ll hopefully build your automation glossary and dispel some myths about what is actually a very accessible set of tools.

The Real Value of Terminology

Tech terminology is important in understanding the definition and context of concepts. Once you start to understand the common acronyms it’s almost like being able to speak a new language and it can aid your learning as you dive into deeper topics. But – and it’s a big but – for most people complex jargon puts them off. First impressions are everything so when you want to engage a person you need to deliver your message without layering it in specialist slang.

Misleading Terminology in Automation

IA, RPA, BPA, WFM. Ok, that’s enough (!). There is an enormous amount of depth to each of those individual acronyms and the topics they represent. It’s so important to move past the names and understand the core concepts of the technologies. Once you understand them you can communicate them to others.

To someone who knows nothing about automation, the difference between Intelligent Automation and Robotic Process Automation could be anything. The same goes for Business Process Automation and Workflow Management. They are all concepts and technologies that represent real value for organizations if implemented correctly but you have to go deeper to demonstrate the differences and what the best choice is for a particular business case.

Don’t just let people google everything, leave the automation glossary at home, and instead, really explain how it works and what it does for a business.

A Stark Warning

It’s a problem that doesn’t just face tech though. It’s rife in finance and wider business with more jargon than you can shake a stick at. In our need to quantify and define, we often settle for surface-level definitions. After a quick search on another 3 letter acronym, we think we have a handle on a topic. But, the truth is, we don’t. More worrying still, is that while you might be the person who at least looks things up, many people just switch off when they are bombarded with technical talk.

If you’re talking to someone whose area of expertise isn’t the same as yours then tone it down with the techy lingo – you’ll have a more engaging conversation if they feel like they can participate. We always promise to cool it with the automation glossary and just speak to you about your business and how automation can help.

Want automation to add value to your business? Talk to PAteam today.

How To Know What To Automate First

How To Know What To Automate First

You think that there are process automation opportunities in your business… but you aren’t sure where to start looking. Sound familiar? Well, don’t worry – that’s very normal because there are so many things to consider. But to give you some insight: where there’s data, there’s an opportunity to automate.

What should I automate first?

There’s 4 steps to figuring out which task you should automate first. Process automation, perhaps unsurprisingly, starts with a process. One small thing before we start: the steps outlined here are a lot easier with the help of an expert.

Step 1
Look at the current processes in your business that take up a lot of time – or those that are easily prone to error. It’s unlikely that you’ll have many processes completely mapped out, but there will likely be things you already know aren’t quite right.

Step 2
ROI is the name of the game. What are the benefits of using process automation in the areas you’re interested in? For example, is it going to save one person 4 hours a week, or is it going to improve quality? Whatever process you choose to automate, the impact of it needs to be measurable.

Step 3
Now that you’ve picked out the job you want handled by a bot, you need to think about how to build that robot so it’s fit for purpose. There are a variety of different technologies available – including Robotic Process Automation and Cognitive Automation. The former is for very basic tasks, while the latter uses AI and machine learning to handle more complex functions.

Step 4
Last, but certainly not least, you need to understand how you’re going to implement this new bit of tech. This means thinking about whether you are going to completely switch from human to robot on specific data, or use a phased approach. Then there are training considerations, whoever is overseeing the bot’s work needs to understand how to work with it.

Who’s responsible for implementing intelligent automation?

Making a shift to automation requires a cultural fit for the new robot. This type of company-wide change begins with a business’ leadership. Changing attitudes must start at the top. From there, nominating departmental leaders to take ownership of the project shows that responsibility is held by the entire team and that it is important to all. Your IT and innovation departments are likely to run with the day-to-day project management.

What’s your best advice for a business that wants to start automation?

There’s a good chance that you didn’t understand every part of the 4 step process automation guide. That proves the most important point for us – you need to work with an expert. Simply put, an expert gives you the knowledge to confidently understand and implement automation.

At PAteam we build tailored automation solutions, specifically customized for your business needs. Check out how we’ve already helped businesses with their automation. We help you combine your workforce’s talent with the power of intelligent automation.

The expert in automation is right here – contact PAteam today.

5 Predictions Sci-Fi Movies Made About Future Automation

5 Predictions Sci-Fi Movies Made About Future Automation

You might not have noticed but science fiction, by its very name, isn’t real science. But, what makes truly great sci-fi different from the rest is that it’s often grounded in reality – it’s believable. Sci-fi has given us good and bad predictions of the future – some of which, but not many – are now playing out. Today, we’re looking at 5 famous sci-fi movies and the predictions they made about future automation.

Terminator

Of course, we’re starting with a favorite, but also one that really missed the mark on what the future of automation would be like with cyborgs. The terminators, in the films, are extremely adaptable, and able to deal with new situations and information constantly. The reality, however, is that bots only do what you tell them and anything outside of that will leave them stumped. We’re a long way off killer robots…. which is good news to be fair.

Ex-Machina

In Ex-Machina we see AI machines fall in love, care, cheat, and manipulate all as part of their very ‘being’. But the truth is that they dropped the ball on showing the difference between intelligence and consciousness. The machines in the film behave in an intelligent way in that they aren’t actually loving – they are just mimicking emotions to manipulate and be able to preserve themselves. But they aren’t protecting their existence – they’re protecting their programming. Also, one lone genius in the woods could never make such a staggering AI breakthrough on his own. Just saying.

2001: A Space Odyssey

From the visionary mind of Stanley Kubrick, this sci-fi classic features the infamous computer HAL. Now, credit to the vision of Kubrick, much of HAL’s job is to fulfill computing tasks too complicated for the human crew to do and in doing so keep them alive. This very much represents the world now with machines being built to tackle tasks too repetitive, too complicated, or too vast for people to carry them out. Because of that great prediction, we’ll ignore the part where HAL makes the decision to turn into a killer AI (*spoilers*).

I, Robot

This film took the concept of machines controlled by fundamental rule sets, laid out interesting visuals about future automation… and then sort of just decided to make an action film (!).  For that, we can forgive it, because there are some fun moments but the idea of a bot reprogramming itself is quite ridiculous. The knowledge and, importantly, intelligence required to do that just doesn’t exist in robots today or for a very long time.

Blade Runner

Blade Runner is rightfully called one of the greatest sci-fi films ever made, and its special effects and philosophies on humanity have aged well for a movie made back in 1982. It didn’t get everything right, sure, but it was on point with connected devices throughout the home and the rise of video calling. Whenever we want to eliminate the bots we make we just hit delete – which is a lot easier than Deckard had it.

Got a favorite piece of movie robotics or automation? Chat about it with PAteam today.