Other parts of this series:
- Financial services firms have yet to tap the full potential of intelligent robotic process automation
- Managers set to benefit as robotic process automation systems learn how to give smart advice
- Managers hail intelligent machines but have doubts about their own skills
- Managers’ mistrust of intelligent machines could stall the rise of workforce automation
- Business leaders must inspire and equip their managers so they can work effectively alongside intelligent machines
Advanced robotic process automation (RPA) promises to deliver substantial improvements in the performance of managers. These “intelligent machines” can provide quick, reliable and detailed advice that will enable managers to make better decisions in often complex situations.
Our research shows that business leaders recognize the potential of this new technology and are enthusiastic about its ability to raise the competence of their managers. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, 84 percent of managers believe these systems will make them more effective and their work more interesting. However, many managers lack the skills to properly take advantage of the changes in the workplace caused by the arrival of intelligent automated assistance. Moreover, they often lack trust in the ability of intelligent machines to provide accurate and effective guidance.
Business leaders need to take action to overcome these obstacles if they are to realize the benefits of intelligent new-generation RPA applications. Our research has identified three steps essential for the successful roll-out of this technology.
Revise human capital training, coaching and assessment. To thrive in a workplace integrated with advanced RPA systems, managers will require a combination of technical expertise, such as analytical reasoning and business acumen, as well as interpersonal skills that encourage teamwork and promote innovation. Existing human capital structures are unlikely to promote this mix of skills and aptitude. Recruitment objectives must also be modified. Some managers may be unable to adapt and will need to be replaced.
Inspire managers to work differently. Business leaders must inspire their managers to embrace new ways of working. They need to convey their enthusiasm about the potential of intelligent machines to improve the performance of their managers and also make their work more interesting. As well as promoting intelligent machines as trustworthy advisors and guides, leaders must also present themselves as credible and knowledgeable advocates of change. Our research shows that organizations with trusted leaders can implement and accelerate change without first educating employees about the details of the transition. This suggests that managers are more likely to support the introduction of intelligent machines if they trust the leaders who are promoting their introduction.
Chart a course into new territory. The business possibilities of cognitive computing are only beginning to be explored. The roadmaps have yet to be drawn. Leaders and their managers must be willing to experiment and innovate to get the most out of this emerging technology. By exploring potential applications and launching pilot projects, organizations can learn about where and how to introduce intelligent machines into the workplace. Leaders need to foster a successful union of managers and machines that promotes efficiency and creativity and results in long-term business growth.
Intelligent machines will deliver enormous benefits to organizations with the foresight to recognize their potential, and courage to embrace this new technology. Far from replacing competent managers they will enable them to work smarter. And enjoy themselves more while doing it.
For further information about the potential of intelligent RPA and cognitive computing have a look at these links.