Four Principles of Automation in Workplace

Four Principles of Automation in Workplace

When it comes to Robotic Process Automation (RPA), management has to choose the best implementation strategy, decide which processes to automate first, how to train personnel, and, finally, build a plan for scaling automation in the future. With all of these tough decisions we gathered fundamentals that will be useful to anyone considering digital transformation of the workplace with RPA.

McKinsey conducted a study to investigate the potential that automation technologies hold for jobs, organizations, and the future of work. The research suggests that 45 percent of the activities people are paid to perform can be automated by adapting automation technologies. Notably, it is a common misconception that automation affects only low-skill roles. The research revealed that even the highest-paid positions, such as senior executives, financial specialists, and others, have a significant number of daily assignments that can be automated.

They found four fundamental ideas elaborating on the core insight that the road ahead is less about automating specific jobs than it is about automating the actions within positions and redefining roles and business processes.

1. The automation of tasks not jobs

In many cases, automation technology can already match, or even exceed, the median level of human performance required. For instance, Narrative Science’s artificial-intelligence system, Quill, analyzes raw data, and generates a human author wrote the natural language, writing reports in seconds that readers would assume. Amazon’s fleet of Kiva robots is equipped with automation technologies that plan, navigate, and coordinate among individual robots to fulfill warehouse orders roughly four times faster than the company’s previous system. IBM’s Watson can suggest available treatments for specific ailments, drawing on the body of medical research for those diseases.

2. The redefinition of jobs and business processes

According to our analysis, fewer than 5 percent of occupations can be entirely automated using current technology. However, about 60 percent of duties could have 30 percent or more of their constituent activities automated. In other words, automation can change the majority of tasks, which will require the necessary job redefinition and a transformation of business processes. 

Mortgage-loan officers, for instance, will spend significantly less time inspecting and processing rote paperwork and more time reviewing exceptions, which will allow them to process more loans and spend more time advising clients. More about automated loan origination processes. Similarly, in a world where the diagnosis of many health issues could be effectively automated, an emergency room could combine triage and diagnosis and leave doctors to focus on the most acute or unusual cases while improving accuracy for the most common issues.

3. The impact on top-management

McKinsey estimated that assignments consuming more than 20% of a CEO’s working time could be automated using automation technologies. These include analyzing reports and data, preparing tasks for employees, and reviewing incoming documentation. Conversely, there are many lower-wage jobs such as landscapers and maintenance workers, where only a small percentage of tasks could be automated with the technology available today.

4. The future of creativity

Capabilities such as creativity and sensing emotions are core to the human experience and also challenging to automate. The amount of time that workers spend on activities requiring these capabilities, though, appears to be surprisingly low. Just 4 percent of the work activities across the US economy require creativity at a median human level of performance. Similarly, only 29 percent of work activities require a median human level of performance in sensing emotion.

While these findings might be lamented as reflecting the impoverished nature of our work lives, they also suggest the potential to generate a more considerable amount of meaningful work. This could occur as automation replaces more routine or repetitive tasks, allowing employees to focus more on tasks that utilize creativity and emotion. Financial advisors, for example, might spend less time analyzing clients’ financial situations, and more time understanding their needs and explaining creative options. Interior designers could spend less time taking measurements, developing illustrations, and ordering materials, and more time developing innovative design concepts based on clients’ desires.


Companies and governments will obviously need new ways of mitigating the human costs, including job losses and economic inequality, associated with the dislocation that takes place as companies separate activities that can be automated from the individuals who currently perform them. But after all, automation provides tremendous opportunities for people to focus on critical, strategic, and analytical tasks leaving routine, repetitive, and rule-based assignments automated. With ElectroNeek Enterprise RPA, you can be sure that document audits, email responses, daily or weekly reports are always done 100% accurately and on time.

To learn more about the use of ElectroNeek RPA in your workplace, reach out to our automation experts.

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