NO HANDS ON DECK

Aliasgar Muchhala Expert in Residence

THE PRINCIPLE

Assume full, hands-free automation as the default for all new Technology Business processes.

"Advances in AI and intelligent process automation make us fundamentally rethink the human-factor in any aspect of business, while the scarcity of human skills and resources adds a renewed sense of urgency to the pursuit. Some dream of an entirely hands-free enterprise. But we should not move so fast – just yet. For now, let’s benefit from autonomous technology: make it your first choice for all new processes and learn about a renewed “hands off deck” approach, by not doing."

THE ANTIPRINCIPLE

Apply AI and intelligent automation to marginally improve existing manual, human-dependent processes; firmly keeping all hands on deck!

THE CONTEXT

By all means, let’s take Copernic’s advice, and reverse our perspective. We should no longer add snippets of automation and AI to established, human-driven processes, only pretending to enjoy the meager benefits of stepwise optimization. It would be like creating the ultimate horse and cart, applying innovative technology to it (maybe the latest lightweight carriage), and then being genuinely disappointed when it loses in a drag race with a Tesla. Grafting human intervention onto fully automated, AI-centric business processes should be the exception – not the rule. That way, we get maximum impact out of intelligent automation. And it may be the only way too, as human resources and skills are scarcer by the day. Hire AI as your main resource, while virtualizing and augmenting your human talent. Learn from your IT teams, who are already surfing the wave of AI-boosted automation and apply what you learn to your Technology Business processes.

LIVE THE PRINCIPLE

  1. Transform your IT automation platform into a fully connected business operations platform, bringing together all underlying business events.
  2. Mine your processes: insights enable action; by capturing and analyzing process data, you find the best opportunities for breakthrough automation.
  3. Challenge the heritage: even the most established business rules and best practices should be reconsidered for relevance in the era of autonomous systems.
  4. Think autonomy levels: similar to the 5 levels of autonomy for self-driving cars, you can apply different ambition levels in the move towards a hands-free enterprise.
  5. Keep it human-centered: even if no humans are involved, the ethical and emotional checks and balances of the organization must be carefully managed at all times.

THE OPENINGS

  • Easy gains can be made with Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Although this merely optimizes existing processes, it still is a tangible step forward.
  • Processes that are unsafe to humans, consume excess energy, or are particularly error-prone may be viable early candidates for a hands off-deck initiative.
  • Use hands-free technologies for processes that require scarce skilled resources, not only to have a viable pilot ground, but also to effectively deal with the challenge.

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