The trend that has been unstoppable for some years now is to use software robots to automate those production processes that are tedious. Those that do not contribute direct value to the companies. Processes that take time and effort away from workers who could be spending their time on more creative or productive activities. And it’s a trend your competitors are already adopting.
Before 2020, the path to hyper-automation of processes had already begun. But it has been the pandemic, its restrictions and its change in the work model that has accelerated a trend that seems unstoppable. According to Deloitte, 53% of businesses are already implementing robotization projects in many of their departments. According to Morgan Stanley, the software robot business will be worth more than $50 billion by 2021. And this is just the beginning.
In 2017, more than 315,000 software robots were sold worldwide, up 30% year-on-year. Thus, forecasts for the coming years could not be more optimistic. With Spain occupying fourth place in Europe, in a market clearly led by China, not jumping on the automation bandwagon in time could lead to irrecoverable losses in competitiveness in the coming years.
Software robots vs. people
And in the eternal debate about whether robots will eventually displace humans in the workplace, a basic question needs to be clarified. We do not talk about the same robots when we refer to hardware machines that physically occupy the space that once belonged to a worker, as we do when we refer to software robots.
Although, according to various analyses and studies, (physical) robots could threaten around 35% of jobs in the next decade, software robots do not enter into direct competition with the worker, but come to help him or her to be more productive. The difference is that on an assembly line, a robot performs the work that was previously done by a person. In an office, on the other hand, a software robot takes the most repetitive, tedious and frustrating part of the work off people’s hands so that they can devote their time to more productive tasks. While in the first case the robot does replace the worker, in the second case, the software robot performs part of the work so that the worker can do what the robot cannot do.
Software robots are no substitute for people. | Photo: ThisIsEngineering
Let’s be clear: Where are software robots most effective?
For those who are not yet aware of the advantages of implementing this type of technology in their companies, the concept may sound somewhat abstract. But the truth is that the advantages of installing software robots are not something we can ignore.
In addition to the aforementioned assistance to workers in the most repetitive and time-consuming processes, there are other benefits. The low (or in some cases non-existent) error rate (a software robot makes fewer mistakes than a human). Ease of implementation, with little or no change to the job or the way it is performed. How easy it is to update it in the event that a change in the parameters governing it is necessary. Or the extra control they offer over the actions they perform (they generate extra reports, they can classify information more efficiently…).
There are as many examples of automation as there are repetitive processes in companies: invoice classification, ticket control to reduce fraud, mail management, data extraction and formatting from reports, database access and manipulation, generation of risk reports, loss reports, labels…
A future that is already here
We are therefore talking about a tool, a work optimization concept that sounds like the future, but in reality is already here. Many companies already use software robots in their day-to-day operations, and those that have tried them have not stopped installing them in new routines. In processes that improve their efficiency and are helping them to stand out from their competitors.
Because everything that helps you to be more productive, to be able to improve the experience of both workers and customers or users of your products or services, can only result in a clear progress towards a destination to which we all, sooner or later, will have to head.