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Let digital assistant do mundane, repetitive tasks - expert

Feb 18 2019 15:01
Carin Smith

Everything is happening faster and faster in the world of technology, Lenore Kerrigan of UiPath tells Fin24.

"People end up working 24/7 but wonder what they really got done due to time consuming downloading of data or having to sit with spreadsheets," she says.

"And that is where automation comes into play. Instead of working overtime to do these kinds of tasks, let it be done by robots and rather use the value a human being can add to drive the business."

She says it is important to realise that with each tech revolution, the opportunity for new types of jobs arises.

"Yes, the reality is that there will be certain jobs that will fall away, but using robotics create so much more. As managers and parents in society we have the responsibility to make sure people are aware of the opportunities coming with new technology and to put those opportunities forward to them," says Kerrigan.

She points out that UiPath offers free training on its website in order to help prepare people for the new tech era.

"It is about opening up opportunities for people to be certified," she says.

"Trying to stop the tech revolution is like putting your hand up to a tsunami and saying you want to stop it. Rather get on a surfboard and enjoy the ride!"

She explains that Robotics Process Automation (RPA), in which UiPath specialises, is about taking a mundane and repetitive process and automating it. This would then free up valuable time for employees to do other tasks, while a robot analyses a spreadsheet, for instance.

She gives the example of a South African customer who manages a warehouse. It involves dealing with lots of paperwork and customs forms to be handled by the shipping clerk. It used to take the shipping clerk between two and four hours to process, while the robot used now, does it in three minutes.

"Now they can use their warehouse more effectively, creating revenue generating opportunities for them," says Kerrigan.

"The big impact of RPA is that a human teaches a robot what to do and the robot will mimic what you teach it to do. It will then do the task consistently and constantly 24/7 exactly as you told it to do."

She gives another example of a customer who had a backlog of nine months. After implementing an RPA process, the robot did the task in 97 hours.

"My message is that having your own digital assistant - at home and at the office - is a reality. Become skilled in using RPA, it is easy to do with online training," she says.

"RPA is happening at a far faster rate than any other tech revolution we have seen. Just about every enterprise we are talking to have some kind of RPA on the go."

She emphasises that RPA is not something to fear, but something to embrace. Select the appropriate processes for RPA, namely high volume, highly repetitive, error prone, mundane processes.

So far, she has seen the biggest uptake of RPA in the banking and insurance industry. It is also increasing in the manufacturing and retail industries.

UiPath expects to see one robot for every person in a matter of years. The company believes that the move to RPA is inevitable, and that future jobs depend on having RPA skills.


robots  |  ict  |  tech
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