The future of business includes a digital workforce - Image by kiquebg from Pixabay-Do not get lost in the hype, focus on the Business Value

Intelligent Automation, Intelligent Process Automation, Hyper Automation, Intelligent Hyper Automation are some of the buzzwords describing business automation. Behind lies tens of different technologies and ways of using them. The buzzwords and arguably the technology behind them is not that important in understanding how you can derive greater value through automation. As technologies have evolved, leading companies move from the automation of mundane, repetitive tasks to more significant business challenges and opportunities, like optimizing the entire customer journey, transforming their supply chains or introducing a new business model.

The future of Business Process Automation

We believe that the future of Business Process Automation is all about a journey that takes you from Task Automation to, eventually, an Autonomous Business. It’s like the journey from the Ford T-Model, one of the first mass-production vehicles with 2-speed planetary gear, to self-driving cars that Tesla are testing. Even though some bumps are still on the road, the car is soon autonomous, and businesses will follow.

The focus on Business Value will also change from today’s efficiency to strategic differentiation, business agility and continuous value realization. We are past the times of expensive and risky projects such as traditional ERP implementations. The returns on these investments were often questionable, and at most, you got best industry best practice processes that your competition had implemented three months before you.

What generation of Digital Workers does your organization have?

The future of Business includes a Digital Workforce! A digital worker is a programmed team member trained to carry out a task just like any employee, only faster and without mistakes. We believe that all teams will have digital workers alongside humans in the future. In this article, we introduce three generations of Digital Workers and the business value they offer.

If your organization is not yet utilizing Digital Workers, it’s time to evaluate how to benefit from the first generation workforce. If you’ve started your journey already, you are probably ready for Digitals Workers 2.0.

Digital Workers 1.0 – Task Automation (2015-2020)

Organizations use the first generation of Digital Workers primarily in task automation of mundane and repetitive tasks. Digital Workers 1.0, can capture and interpret applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses, and communicating with other digital systems. These Digital Workers are ideal for automating large volume labour-intensive knowledge work. These tasks must be rules-based and can only use structured data. Digital Workers 1.0. have delivered tremendous business value related to labour arbitrage savings and increased quality by reducing mistakes. However, this is just a tiny percentage of the business value that Digital Workers can deliver.

Digital Workers 2.0 – End-to-end process automation (2021-2030)

The second generation of Digital Workers comes armed with cognitive and learning capabilities. They can handle unstructured data and turn that into actionable information and transfer it further for processing. They can have human-like conversations and do operational planning independently.

The business value of this generation of Digital Workers comes from automating end-to-end processes, such as order to pay or Integrated Supply Chain Planning, instead of individual tasks alone. This allows organizations to rethink and redesign their critical business processes and even operating models.  For automated end-to-end processes that don’t need human intervention (human in the loop), the payback time can be months. With the automation of more complex end-to-end processes, like optimizing manufacturing processes from raw materials to shipping, the transformation will take longer. Still, you can design the change so that you take out enough value on the way to self-finance the transformation.

“Humans in the Loop” are essential to your Automation Journey

As we move from the Task generation to the E2E generation, the fundamental challenge might not be technology but enabling a coherent workforce where humans and digital workers work hand in hand to maximize business value. Integrating humans in the automation loop and not just seeing automation alone, companies will have immense potential.

Digital Workers 3.0 – Autonomous Business (2030 & beyond)

Eventually, we will have the autonomous generation of Digital Workers responsible for running and developing end-to-end core business processes. Like Tesla, we will see the first simple business models become autonomous not too distant future. Jack Ma (Alibaba founder) has predicted that a robot will likely be on the cover of Time Magazine as the best CEO within the next 30 years. Some organizations have already appointed AI-enabled Board Members, and we will see many more of these in the future.

The business value of the autonomous generation of Digital Workers is probably something we can let be for the time being and focus on the second generation in the near-term future. Enjoy a successful Journey, into the Future of Business, enabled with your Digital Workforce!

Digital WorkforceDigital Workforce is one of the leading Robotic Process Automation (RPA) service providers globally, both in terms of revenue and head count. Our company provides services across a range of industries. Today, over 200 large global customers use Digital Workforce’s services to transform their businesses with intelligent automation. We focus exclusively on intelligent automation and strive to make our company best in class to ensure our survival.


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