Writing exclusively for AIBusiness.org, Kit Cox from Enate gives a brief retrospective of automation trends from 2016, going on to discuss eight things we can expect to see next year in the field of automation.
Enate’s mission is to Simplify Service Automation for BPO and HR organisations around the world. Their culture is focused on bringing together a talented team of individuals, giving them the freedom to express their talent and the direction to contribute to their shared goal. They’re a global company with a global outlook.
Kit is an entrepreneur with over 15 years’ experience in the BPO and technology industries. Kit founded Enate with a view to disrupting the shared service and BPO market via automation, AI and RPA. He has developed a robotic orchestration platform which manages end-to-end service provision process across humans and robots, ensuring the optimal journey to automation. Enate’s disruptive SaaS platform deploys within weeks, reducing time to automate by 75%, and providing cost savings upwards of 25%. He has blue chips as customers.
Following below is Kit’s exclusive article for AIBusiness’ audience:
We may, in years to come, look back and consider 2016 the year automated technology went mainstream. Uber put driverless cars on the road, huge global businesses like Twitter bought artificial intelligence startups to establish a foothold in the market, while robot-centric shows like WestWorld and Humans were absorbed by millions worldwide.
Realistically, we’re still some way off the type of widespread automated adoption Hollywood would like to portray. Yet, we are at a critical junction and are currently witnessing the collision of the robotic and human world, looking to establish who does what, when and how. However, this is not a synchronised and smooth exchange. Much like a shy teenage couple at a school Christmas disco, robots and humans are tentatively looking to find the best way to approach each other to avoid embarrassment or, at the very least, irreparably damaging the status quo.
What is undeniable is that the automated revolution is here. Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a growing part of our daily lives and is arguably one of the fastest-developing and most exciting groups of technologies around today. So, assuming pre-programmed house servants and flying cars are some way off, here are eight things we can expect to see next year in the field of automation:
- Year of the A-team
Unfortunately, we’re not anticipating Hannibal and Co. hitting our screens once again. But, where previously, automation has been siloed into stand-alone business departments, next year we will see greater alignment as people realise they are trying to simultaneously solve the same problem. So, automation that might previously been deployed independently in the HR, Finance and Marketing departments, will subsume lean and operational excellence teams.
- Big boys will splash the cash
No change there then. But, looking specifically at the automation sector, the fact is that the technology and skills are advancing so quickly that two things are happening – specialists can’t grow fast enough and established companies don’t have enough capability and can’t move quickly enough to fill the void. This means we’ll start to see more large companies partnering with specialists to combine agility with powerful resource.
- It will stop becoming a plaything
Businesses are waking up to the fact automation is not only here to stay but is actually something to be taken seriously and that can help boost the bottom line. Next year we’ll see more focus from the C-suite on trying to understand how to incorporate it strategically into the business. Although IT departments will continue to treat automation as ‘also ran tech’, unable to connect it to the long-term needs of business.
- The sexy job people
It’s been deemed the world’s sexiest job. So, what does the year ahead hold for the data scientist? The ‘data science pipeline’ will be broken down into more specific areas of expertise, so that businesses are only using specialists where they’re really needed.
- The Trump card
The only thing certain with this is uncertainty. This is mainly because business are scared of what Donald Trump’s view on isolation is. This will almost certainly mean no new major deals will be signed with USA companies when it comes to outsourcing. History tells us that isolationism drives the growth of automation but it will not drive growth in jobs. Although, this doesn’t mean all these jobs will come back on shore or that they won’t be automated.
- UK government has it head in the sand
The UK government will continue to miss the point around automation technology and its potential economical and cultural impact for this country. Understandably, the government has been preoccupied with Brexit this year. But, while necessary in several quarters, the fact it has three separate departments dealing with it, and none on robotics is short sighted and is failing to look at the bigger picture – one in which the UK is already one of the most skilled in the world – AI and robotics.
- People in service centres will start thinking again
2017 will be the year we take the robot out of humans. We have reached a point where doing business is not a case of man or machine, but rather man and machine. As the adoption of robotic processes becomes more prevalent, businesses will recognise the stuff that is easily automated, freeing employees from repetitive and mundane tasks to focus on customer engagement and more of the jobs they like.
- Automation will become a social issue
How we embrace automation is no longer a technological issue. Far from it. The issue now is an ethic and social one with the interplay between robots and humans having deep rooted socio-economic ramifications around; income, skills, relationships, safety and many more. In the case of the US election, for example, Trump’s margins were bigger than in areas with more routine jobs in danger of automation. Economic anxiety is real, and it’s not inconceivable that we may see the world’s first robotic related crime. But perhaps we would have the technology in place to prevent it before it happened? Now we are talking Hollywood science fiction.