Robotics

Robotics Is Here and Already It's Changing Everything

Automation is much more likely to change jobs than eliminate them.
Robotics Is Here and Already It's Changing Everything
Image credit: Daniel Ingold | Getty Images
Guest Writer
President, Redwood Software
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Robotic process automation is becoming an integral part of how businesses operate, and these solutions are making employees both more efficient and effective. PwC estimates that companies can automate approximately 45 percent of workplace activities. By 2024, robotics process automation is forecasted to be a $3.5-billion-dollar market in North America alone.

However, robotics won’t just change operations -- process automation will change everything from the boardroom to education. The rise of RPA will pave the way for a new role in the C-suite: the Chief Robotics Officer. It will open up new training and career opportunities, providing a critical source of employment across all levels of the organization.

Related: Be My Valentine: Robotics Relationships 101

The rise of the CRO.

Over the years, there have been a number of changes to the c-suite. From the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) to Chief Data Officer (CDO), the executive bench is expanding to meet the ever-changing needs of businesses everywhere. As more companies recognize the need for automation of manual tasks across departments it will be important to have proper oversight, and therefore a Chief Robotics Officer (CRO).

The role of the CRO is already taking hold in the startup market. Humatics, a developer of microlocation systems, and Scorpiox, a drone-as-a-service platform, both have executives with the title CRO. According to Gartner, within two years up to 10 percent of large companies will have a CRO. In the coming years, look for the role to grow exponentially as more established corporations take notes from the scrappier, more flexible startup companies.

Robotic process automation will free companies to change how day-to-day tasks are performed and, in the process, the fundamental way employees work. As with many technology changes, employees may fear for their jobs. That's when having a CRO is critical. The CRO -- part operations, part HR, part IT --  is a forward-thinking strategist charged with spotting automation opportunities while getting employees the training opportunities they need to adapt effectively. The CRO will straddle multiple departments to serve as a liaison between human and robot. This position will be indispensable as more companies turn to automation to maximize productivity.

Related: How to Be a Winner in the Consumer Robotics Revolution

A retrained workforce.

The fear is that RPA will decimate the job market, leaving the vast majority unemployed. That’s simply not the case. RPA will create greater opportunity within the workforce for employees to be retrained and up-level their skills to perform more strategic duties. Luckily, employee fear is shifting to optimism: a recent study from MIT Technology Review found that 94 percent of workers in the U.S. believe that they are unlikely to lose their jobs to automation. Nonetheless, while employees are becoming more confident that their jobs are safe, it is uncertaint just how much their jobs will change.

There is plenty of opportunity for those who are willing to take a proactive and collaborative approach. Employees no longer bogged down with manual tasks can use that time be more strategic and, ultimately, more valuable to the organization. Smart employees will seek retraining for new skills through continuing education classes, and employers will offer company-sponsored options to accommodate them. Some employees will find ways to sharpen the strategic skills that they were originally trained for, allowing them to step into the roles they were hired for before the mundane and manual tasks took over.

Related: Don't Worry So Much. Robots Are Mostly Doing the Work People Hate Anyway.

The opportunity is not just for people with a college degree.

There is no doubt that there is a skills gap in technology, and while confidence is growing that most jobs won’t be displaced by robots, it’s inevitable that some will. By nature, all revolutions cause displacement, and the 4th Industrial Revolution is no different. However, savvy employees who sense their data entry roles will soon be absorbed by software automation can still come out of the revolution on top. Soon, employees specially-trained in process automation will be able to manage and optimize the software that once threatened their jobs.

With the growing trend of fast-paced coding bootcamps that promise to retrain people in a matter of months and entire academies chock full of RPA resources, it will be easier than ever for workers to upskill themselves.As more resources become available, RPA specialists will emerge to slowly-but-surely fill the tech skills gap without the need for a four-year college degree. The best part is that workers across the board will safely escape the mundane roles that are better suited for robots.

As more companies look to automate routine and repetitive tasks, workers everywhere will reap the benefits. Not only will the days of being saddled with boring, monotonous work be gone, new opportunities will emerge. From the c-suite to emerging careers within software automation, RPA will shift roles and education models to provide valuable jobs to people everywhere.

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