Written by Josefina Con Garza, Compleat Software: In recent months, we have been alerted to seemingly job-stealing robots with headlines such as “Robot automation ‘will take 800 million jobs by 2030’ report” and “Will robots steal our jobs? The potential impact of automation on the UK and other major economies”, making us uneasy about the rise and development of new technologies and AI.
We are big fans of automation here at Compleat. Why? Because it has been proven to help everyone from SMEs, big organisations, and individuals to improve their lives and processes by removing the slow and the mundane tasks and allow people to retrain and work in more fulfilling and strategic jobs. Still, we understand that not everyone feels the same way, so we’ve decided to debunk some of the myths surrounding automation and the rise of AI and machine learning.
1. Automation will replace me
Although this is a growing concern, the main purpose and concept of automation is to take away only the mundane, repetitive and “mindless” tasks which most positions entail in different amounts. Doing this should free the professional’s time to engage with more interesting and strategic projects or concentrate on improving current processes.
Let’s look at an example:
Before document management technologies were available, office staff would have to take an enormous amount of time manually scanning or organising physical copies of documents and hoping that if anyone needed them, they would remain filed in the same place and with the same filing logic. Nowadays, it can all be done in the background. Documents are saved or named in the appropriate manner with minimal intervention and users can concentrate on what matters: Bringing value to the business.
Wouldn’t you rather have the time to improve current processes instead of spending your day scanning documents in an old, inefficient process?
2. AI is dangerous
We’ve been warned many times before in science-fiction: the super intelligent system which goes rogue, decides humans must be destroyed and takes over the world. But in reality, artificial intelligence is far from being able to achieve anything so dramatic, and the term is mostly used to describe the process of machine learning.
AI is a series of programs which solve or perform complex tasks, based on a set of defined variables to achieve a specific outcome. The more that task is performed and through the collection of data and statistics, the system can self-optimise by learning the “best” method to achieve the defined goal.
Unless the desired outcome is “make the world 100% safe” without specifying “don’t kill humans” – you can sleep easy knowing that your computer won’t be plotting against you.
3. My role will become a “just push a button” job
Most automated systems will still rely on a certain level of human interaction to make unusual decisions or modify the system variables to achieve the desired outcomes. Not only will the platform require someone to manage and oversee its performance, it will also be likely to improve job satisfaction. How? By removing the mundane, repetitive, process-heavy parts of the role, you will be less likely to feel bored and stuck doing the same things over and over again – don’t forget, there’s also the possibility of learning new skills!
By automating key tasks of the process, you’ll free yourself from the risk of making mistakes by manually entering values or remembering if that document has already been dealt with. Not of doing an exciting and rewarding job.
4. I’ll lose control over the process
On the contrary, automated systems enable you to keep a full view of “the bigger picture” by taking you away from the constant little details. When working with an automated system, you will still be able to see (depending on the system) what the machine is doing and how is reaching its goals.
Because of the level of granularity of the data which these systems can collect, you will be able to dig into the detail of the process and have all information stored in a consistent and accessible place, giving you much more control over who, what and when a task was completed.
5. Automated systems are complex and hard to use
Though this could be true with certain outdated systems, most automated platforms today take the complexity out of the picture and are constantly evolving to simplify and improve the user experience. Remember that the ultimate goal of automation is to make your life easier.
In conclusion, automation promises a better, easier life for both individuals and professionals, and it delivers. Compleat has developed an intelligent platform for invoice automation and other business processes which enable you and your team to achieve a tech/people balance and maximise your business profitability.
Written by Josefina Con Garza, Compleat Software. Exhibiting on stand 72 at Accountex Summit North 2018.