by Eduard Alexandrian, Co-founder 4Secunde
Software robots ultra fast developed. Does the future look like this?
Certain facts that support this: Investments of over 1 billion dollars in 3 companies in the RPA (ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION) industry. The 20th century received the nickname “The Century of Speed”. If we think about how technology has evolved in only 20 years of the 21st century, we need to invent a new term for this period.
Where does it come from? Speed is calculated as Distance/Time. Time is the only constant, nothing can bring us more but, maybe, just the feeling of more. Which, however, it’s very difficult to achieve and just some a of us know how to live with the feeling that we have more time. Lucky them…
It is actually the distance that really makes the difference.
Practically talking, what does the distance mean? The number of files processed, the quantity of data, the number of operations.
Who is now doing much of these operations?
A human being.
A human being who is increasingly difficult to find, who wants to work as little as possible with maximum benefits, who also takes vacations, who can get sick, who does not want to do any kind of operations. We do not discuss how the Y and especially Z generations are related to work.
How many times did you hear: “I don’t want to do robot tasks anymore”?
That’s natural, I would say. Robot tasks are for robots.
That was immediately understood when it came to physical robots, which we actually see. No one is surprised that a car factory has a fully automated production line, that a warehouse can be fully automated or that the mail is already sorting the letters automatically for a long time.
Then why don’t we understand it as easily that the repetitive work we do on a computer can be automated too?
Do we copy data from one Excel to paste it to another? A robot can do it, very easy.
Do we gather data from multiple sources to make a report? A robot can do it, very easy.
Do we have several old systems that are not compatible, but which are very secure, each one of them? We put a robot between them and it make them work together.
Basically, you can automate any process that happens in an application that does not need an objective decision of a human being, but only a list of rules.
This could be done by this moment too, you will say, programmers have been writing such software for a long time.
I would almost say yes, but with current technologies, certain barriers are overcome:
- The development time is much shorter – because it is “programmed” on the basis of blocks similar to the concept of lego or prefabs. If you want a block with the function of window/door/wall, you already have it there, prefabricated by the software manufacturer, it does not have to be designed by zero by each constructor. The assembly speed is much higher than the one of designing a product by zero.
- Most repetitive operations are done using the interface of a program, not the backwards, in the databases case. Thus, there is no access limitation to secure databases or any data compatibility limitation. If a man can do something using the interface, it means we can also train a robot to do it.
ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION (RPA) – A 15-YEAR CONCEPT, WHICH IS KNOWN FOR JUST 4 YEARS, WHEN IT RAISED THE CRITICAL MASS OF FUNCTIONALITIES AND VISION CONFIRMATION
The company, initially a Romanian one, UiPath, is the one who brought in front of us the concept of RPA. It succeeded it because it presented the product in the phase where the customers needed it to assemble something to get results and the company managed to attract the attention of the investors. A SEED funding of $ 1.6 million 5 years ago launched this initiative. Four more rounds followed in 4 years, Round A – $ 30M, Round B – $ 153M/$ 1.1B valuation, Round C – $ 225M/$ 3B valuation, Round D – $ 568M/$ 7B valuation.
How do we, at 4Secunde, proceed to help people to understand this phenomenon? We propose a series of 2 interactive meetings, with the seniors of each department that can be obviously automated (Accounting, Human Resources, Customer Relations). In the first meeting we discuss the concepts, examples of tasks we are automating and tasks automated so far, some internal processes that seem to be automated and, in the second meeting, held after 7-10 days, we return to discuss the topic after a period of time that is sufficiently large to allow the information to be crystallized and to make connections between the things discussed.
If I have aroused your curiosity you can write me at eduard.alexandrian@4Secunde.ro and ask me any question. I will send you some videos with robots that we have already developed, to give you an idea about the current state of technology and to put this in the context of your business, which, however, you know best.
And now, the most commonly asked question. What will people do if we replace them with these robots? Will they lose their jobs? We say no. They will further specialize and will bring added value to their job and companies while “letting the robots do robot work”.
Until next time, good luck with everything you do.