3 predictions for robotics in 2018

By Simon Shah, Chief Marketing Officer, Redwood Software

3 predictions for robotics in 2018

The end of 2017 is racing toward us but 2018 will be upon us soon enough, with new challenges that will test any business striving for operational efficiency in the year ahead.

Here are our three top predictions for robotization in 2018, direct from some of our key executives.

1. Back-office innovation will become a competitive advantage

If the last few years have seen a focus on self-service, customer-facing digital transformation, then 2018 will be the year that a more holistic approach become a priority for any company wanting to remain competitive and agile.

To truly thrive and outperform competitors, companies that just about made it through 2017 will need to effectively robotize back-office processes. A McKinsey report found that companies in the top 25% of their industry operate at nearly half the cost of companies in the bottom 25% for the same industry.

Dennis Walsh, Americas and APAC president at Redwood, predicts: “The market will demand much faster wins and scalable robotics. Businesses will want something that is agile yet also meets corporate governance standards. One or the other will not cut it anymore.”

Removing repetitive, manual actions and freeing employees to work on higher-value, strategic aspects of the business will be essential to the delivery of this scalability.

2. Artificial intelligence won’t eliminate inefficiency

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic and will continue to be in 2018. But this won’t be the year that big businesses put AI at the core of their operations and processes. Quite simply, with the current lack of large-scale use cases for machine learning, there’s a lot of blind optimism driving its potential enterprise applications.

What exists is primarily still in the R&D and testing phase, which means it’s still a long way off from having an impact on how a business is run. 

Neil Kinson, Chief of staff at Redwood, says: “This year, when thinking about the future of artificial intelligence, businesses were quick to view it as the answer to their problems. However, in reality, it could be 12 months away, or it could even be five years, before organizations are able to fully capitalize on the technology.”

Instead, businesses should focus on streamlining every process from the ground up for efficiency and to make sure each one is delivered in the best possible way in terms of both time and resources.

3. Core strategic advantage will deliver over buzzword hype

While the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and machine learning may dominate in enterprise buzzword bingo, the one thing that can truly help businesses deliver against the expectations of shareholders is getting a grasp on what robotics means in the context of automation.

Key to that is understanding the value of next-generation, back-office robotization.

Devin Gharibian-Saki, Chief Solutions officer at Redwood, predicts: “Currently, back-office processes are made up of defined rules, steps and activities. This makes it difficult for businesses to understand what exactly they consist of, and therefore how best to manage them. Many organizations, therefore, see technologies such as AI and IoT as a way to gain necessary insights into their business, but should really be focusing on doing this in other ways and not simply relying on technology that has yet to reach its peak.”

Looking to nascent technologies like blockchain or artificial intelligence as a way to gain a competitive advantage and reduce errors will be a pivotal moment for businesses — and one that’s not too far away.

Such technologies are not going to have a huge impact in the next year alone. However, Gartner predicts that, by 2020, some 20% of businesses will dedicate employees to monitoring and guiding neural networks.

Before these technologies come to fruition, it’s necessary to ensure that every operating advantage is squeezed of its full potential.


Categories:   Automation   Robotics   Robotic Process Automation  
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