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Piercing the hype around robotic process automation

October 19, 2015 - 152 views

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Piercing the hype around robotic process automation

The phenomenon of Robotic Process Automation hit precisely as it seems the 24-Hour News concept took hold of the world of business marketing and headline writing. For example, everyone has seen how the “always on” news world becomes captivated with a particular BREAKING HEADLINE then precedes to run it into the ground. So it’s really not surprising a similar thing has happened with those who speak, write and publish about RPA.

Or, enough already, when do our wildest automation dreams/worst nightmares come true?

Keeping a tight watch on industry trends and news is a top priority of mine as automation venture leader at Cognizant. This includes following updates and announcements across the cognitive computing and intelligent process automation markets. Within this ecosystem, a category known as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is an important group and one our team follows extremely closely.

The phenomenon of Robotic Process Automation hit precisely as it seems the 24-Hour News concept took hold of the world of business marketing and headline writing. For example, everyone has seen how the “always on” news world becomes captivated with a particular BREAKING HEADLINE then proceeds to run it into the ground. So it’s really not surprising a similar thing has happened with those who speak, write and publish about RPA.

"Robotic Process Automation" in the headlines

In the case of RPA, the headline that’s taken over is Robotic Process Automation: Reality vs. Hype.  Recently, over the course of a single day across Twitter, two different webinar promotions, a lunch meeting and a handful of blogs, I counted a dozen unique occasions where the RPA: Hype vs. Reality phrase was used.

It’s easy to look back and see how RPA got to this point, because when it first hit everyone’s radar in 2012 the hype was undeniable. Headlines like “Death of Outsourcing!” or “Automation to Decimate the Workforce!” or “30% to 70% Cost Savings Over Traditional Labor!” were common. Remarkably, over the few years since then, the headlines haven’t become any less dramatic. Take a look below and see for yourself…

2012

A robotic threat to outsourcing

Can offshoring survive the robot onslaught?

Skilled Work, Without the Worker

2013

Is automation a new threat to India's IT sector?

10 Jobs Destined For Robots

How Digital Labor Will Drive the Third Industrial Revolution

2014

Robots, earthquakes, and the shrinking conventional jobs market ...

Will software robots give offshore workers the boot?

2015

2015: Year of the Robot?

Before a Robot Takes Your Job, You’ll Be Working Side By Side

Why the Rise of Robots in the Labor Force May Spark an Inequality Crisis

After reading headlines after headlines each week on similar themes, you have to wonder what truly is the reality of RPA?

  • Job killer?
  • Money saver?
  • Change agent?
  • Industry of the future?

Perhaps, the difference between the Hype of RPA and the Reality of it simply depends on the outcome you hope for (or fear) the most.

Rather than choosing a side or predicting an endpoint in the RPA Reality vs. Hype sweepstakes, here’s my pledge: I will talk only about automation REALITY. That doesn’t mean I won’t paint the art of the possible from time to time, but I’ll only do so when it’s plausible, reasonable and grounded in legitimate possibilities. If that’s disappointing to you RPA Hype Seekers out there, (and you know who you are!) I have a few hundred links I can send you!

With all that said, here’s a little of my background. Technology and helping people work smarter is a theme that has been a part of my life for nearly thirty years now. At Cognizant my responsibility is helping develop, expand and enhance our capabilities in what we call Intelligent Process Automation.  Our goal for these new breed technologies is enabling people to do what people do best and having machines and software do what they do best. It’s a mash-up of automation, analytics and data sciences with a little IoT, Cloud and Process Excellence thrown in for good measure.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading all the way through and I look forward to sharing ideas with you in the future. I’d also love hearing your point of view about automation! Please drop me a note, a follow or a like and let’s start a conversation! I've included my social media handles below.

 

Matt Smith

Matt Smith is Associate Vice-President at Cognizant and Conversational AI Practice Leader, where he leads a team dedicated to...

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