Implementing Automation in the Workplace

February 9, 2023

The adoption and implementation of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) infrastructure is currently widely accepted by corporate leaders and employees alike as an essential step for organizations to keep pace and stay relevant. Recent years have also seen the mainstreaming of newer artificial-intelligence (AI)-enabled automation technologies, like optical character recognition (OCR) or intelligent character recognition (ICR).

Over time, the professional world has established a universal understanding that such initiatives to implement automation software promise long term benefits for organizations, including but not limited to cost and time savings, improved employee morale, increased customer satisfaction and more. However in practice, such upgrading projects are still often met with varying degrees of inertia, resistance and pushback stemming from a range of different concerns.

Challenges in Automation Implementation

Perceived Complexity of Implementation

By way of circumstance, the very need for exploring RPA and other automation technologies in an organization typically arises from an overwhelm of tedious manual tasks. Employees exhausted by this kind of work often have a paradoxical reluctance or overall lack of capacity to even start understanding how RPA can improve efficiency, streamline complex workflows, and ultimately eliminate the very need for such tasks to be completed manually. This phenomenon can be traced back to a falsely inflated perception that implementing automated processes is complex, difficult, and even requires extensive specialized IT knowledge.

However in reality, no-code or low-code solutions have risen to prominence in recent years across industries and use cases. The seamless integration of complex technologies into easy-to-use interfaces present across ubiquitous tech solutions has made it possible for professionals of all skill levels and specializations to implement such systems with ease.

Fragmentation of Processes

As organizations grew and expanded in the past, legacy systems suited exclusively to the needs of each respective department were often implemented with little to no regard for collaboration and workflows across functions. This meant that while systems might have been put in place to digitize information, and unilateral processes might have been consequently digitalized, these systems operated independently and disjointedly. As such, the relaying of critical documents requiring the attention and input of multiple departments is often entirely manual and sometimes haphazardly treated. Such fragmented processes set the premise for inefficiencies, disorganization and potential errors at every juncture.

Resistance to Change

Implementing any new technology in the workplace, one is likely to face the hurdle of reflexive human aversion to change. Compounded across multiple functions and a myriad of employees motivated by different priorities, concerns and goals, such instinctive reluctance to accept change can be detrimental to efforts aimed at initiating business automation in organizations.

Albeit a covert awareness of its potential benefits to both the individual and the organization at large, emotions of fear and uncertainty surrounding the future, or a general comfort in the way things are currently done, often fuel resistance in embracing automation in the workplace. Hence, this necessitates the implementation of strategic change management measures to ensure all employees involved are appropriately eased into their newly augmented roles and responsibilities.

How to overcome barriers to implementation?

Promoting Transparency and Democratize Information

Beyond making knowledge easily accessible for all relevant parties, the curation and presentation of information is also equally essential in fostering support and participation across an organization.

When presenting information, initiators must consider the cognitive and operational norms within which each department operates as well as their respective performance goals. It is important to demystify technical changes, especially ones affecting the day-to-day work of employees with no specialization in IT. This is best achieved through the development of customized training plans, prioritizing professional development programs, and consistent employee engagement strategies.

Bridging Technologies Old and New

Middleware RPA systems augmented with AI technologies, also known as intelligent process automation (IPA) tools like bluesheets harness the valuable ability to integrate a myriad of legacy tools with new, cloud based solutions including business intelligence software, bookkeeping tools, cloud storage, ecommerce platforms and more. Augmented with OCR and ICR capabilities, such systems are capable of automating entire workflows from end to end, eliminating the manual and tedious tasks of relaying documents from one touchpoint to another. This directly mitigates the issue of fragmented processes across tasks, functions and departments within an organization, acting as an intermediary through which systems are able to communicate, facilitating new levels of collaboration and efficiency.

Managing Human Resources

While those leading digital transformations must focus first on the technical implementation of systems; it is essential that the human element is not untended at any point in the process. Ineffective communication and humanization of the project may not only lead to discontentment and even rejection on the part of affected employees, but may also negate the value to be gained from melding the best attributes of technological and human resources. Beyond the need to conduct appropriate training on how to utilize newly implemented systems, organizations should also consider a thorough review of roles and responsibilities, reallocating talent to higher value tasks foregrounding the value of uniquely human traits in order to fully optimize both automation and human resources.

To learn more about how bluesheets can help your organization embrace the latest automation technologies, click here to schedule a demo with one of our data automation specialists now.

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bluesheets is a Singapore-based technology company that ingeniously delivers a holistic and intelligent commercial perspective for Financial and Insurance Service Firms so that you can move complex industry data sets into a simple, clear and automated journey.