The last decade brought sweeping changes in the workplace as the rise of cloud technology paved the way for employee interactions to break free from office spaces. With cloud-based tools like Slack and OneDrive, workers can now collaborate in real time across great distances and time differences. Remote work has gone from a rare privilege enjoyed by less than a tenth of employees to a normal part of workplace culture. The pace of change shows no sign of stopping in the 2020s. In this decade, though, it'll be driven by a different burgeoning technology: process automation.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the automation of repeatable and redundant, rule-based human action through the use of software bots. These software robots are installed on a user's machine or as a standalone self-managed automation, that can amimic a worker's actions and replicate these activities on their own. Once the bot has performed its designated tasks, they can then report, notify, or handoff to another bot. While RPA provides a breadth of opportunities for organizations to streamline mundane tasks and reallocate resources to focus on more complex endeavors, one of the biggest obstacles to adopting this technology is human nature itself. In any workplace, there are those who embrace change and those who reject it.
Today's leading organizations are using machine learning–based tools to automate decision processes, and they're starting to experiment with more-advanced uses of artificial intelligence (AI) for digital transformation. Corporate investment in artificial intelligence is predicted to triple in 2017, becoming a $100 billion market by 2025. Last year alone saw $5 billion in machine learning venture investment. In a recent survey, 30% of respondents predicted that AI will be the biggest disruptor to their industry in the next five years. This will no doubt have profound effects on the workplace.
The job description of "freelancer" once conjured images of a workplace mercenary, someone hired for a specific task and a specific time. After the work finished, the freelancer moved to the next job. Many millennials view a freelance lifestyle as the ultimate dream. Time freedom and location flexibility are benefits of the freelance role, and many millennials want to be their own boss. But the freelance lifestyle is a viable career option, especially for millennials.
With current technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics being democratized in everyday applications, the IT industry has almost successfully transitioned into the Digital Era. When talking about digitization, one idea most industry leaders agree upon is that automation is the need of the hour. Along with other new age technologies, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) too has made a mark in the IT industry and according to Gartner 85 percent of big organizations will have deployed some form of RPA by the year 2022. While RPA is meant to bring about efficiency and reduce errors made in mundane and tedious work done manually by humans, it does give rise to the question of will there be a loss of jobs in the IT industry due to democratization of RPA. Automation, a popular emerging technology has an assured place in the future of global businesses.