Automation: Is it the end of our jobs?

Smart Automation is transforming the way we interact with our information systems by eliminating repetitive tasks and increasing the proportion of structured data within organizations.

But are we realizing yet what kind of potential automation can offer?  The answer is no.

Today, only few organizations are equipped with several complementary automation platforms. Within mid-sized companies, the technology penetration is still low, and the maturity and the depth of Smart Automation roadmaps – with OCR and NLP – are barely used.

It is hard to understand why there is such a delay. The common reluctance to invest into technology doesn’t explain it all. Is there also some kind of discomfort linked to social concerns? More clearly, could automation ever be used as a lever to destroy our jobs?

A fear that comes from afar

From the invention of steam engines to the digital tsunami that we have been experiencing for over a decade, there is a recurring fact to each technological or industrial upheaval: At each stage, there is doubt, fear, anxiety and short-term impacts, followed by wealth creation opening new perspectives. At the end, technology and innovation are nothing more than tools in our own hands. It’s how we use them that makes the difference: a real instrument for progress and growth or a simple and quick lever to financial optimization?

There is no doubt that Smart Automation is a differentiating factor for two reasons : it is a tough competitive lever, but also mostly an unexpected growth lever. Think of everything we could achieve while keeping our spending under control. We could be at 110% of our capacities while not exceeding 100% of the costs! This is achievable thanks to the ROI of automation projects being globally amortized within less than a year. In other words, implementation investments are refunded within a few months, with very low recurring costs compared to other technologies.

A real opportunity 

Automation is also a key factor for comfort and well-being at work. Obviously, the Millennials generation has a new relationship to work. The aspects of pleasure and personal achievement are important. Automation helps avoid exhausting tasks with low added value. Imagine robots on our machines, interacting with us constantly, detecting our actions in real-time, and  helping us complete our tasks faster (writing and personalizing emails, extracting cross information from applications, automatically entering reports data, etc.). The impact on our comfort and productivity would be significant!

I do not doubt that companies and social partners are mature and pragmatic. They just need clarity in their objectives and foresight in their method. An automation roadmap can only succeed with transparent communication, proactive change management policy, ambitious and audacious training plans.

A step towards digital responsibility 

From an ecological point of view now: Automation is a tool that simplifies information systems, and thereby reduces the complexity of hosting infrastructures with their associated carbon footprint. By combining this with a smart rationalization and urbanization approach, it is possible to optimize digital infrastructures and customize modular architectures, able to automatically manage their own scalability. These are promising factors for reaching the inevitable ecological transition.

We should trust each other! Let’s use technological innovation to accomplish transformation further and faster. And let’s consider it a valuable asset for crossing the deep awaiting crisis. Humanity has always been able to transform such critical moments into foundations for progress and prosperity.

 

Mehdi Nafe