Vivek Thakral, Artificial Intelligence and Information Security Leader, GE
Vivek is Digital Technology professional with over 17 years of experience, majority of which is with General Electric company. He partners with business leaders to drive productivity benefits across Cybersecurity, Finance, Supply Chain, and Operations by improving processes via Artificial Intelligence technologies. These days, the bulk of Vivek’s bandwidth has been dedicated to the Automation Foundry, an organization missioned to solve business problems such by implementing solutions like Robotic Process Automation, Machine Learning, Process Mining, Chatbots, Customer Collaboration. Vivek spearheaded start-up of the Automation Foundry in early 2018 by building his first pair of software robots - Max (Customer Billing automation) and Olive (Good Receipts automation). The foundry ended the year deploying 50 robots that saved 95,000 man-hours annually. Vivek was born in New Delhi and have lived in twelve cities across India, China, Italy, and the US. He enjoys adventure sports, river rafting, camping and horse-back riding.
Robotic process automation (RPA) framework equips you with the skills to develop software robots (bots) to automate the business process and tasks. RPA came into practice a decade ago, and it is gaining momentum in the current technological landscape. RPA traces its roots in the financial industry in the U.K. It is commonly used in the financial and insurance organizations. However, new developments in the past couple of years have marked its entry into industrial companies executing the business processes within the enterprise resource planning (ERP) ecosystem. ERP hems in the entire supply chain components, namely—manufacturing, engineering, and operational functions, of a company. Our strength lies in building emerging technology solutions to solve business problem such as cash management, inventory turn, cycle-time, field services, etc. that ensure a high return on investment.
RPA adds value proposition to firms’ offerings
RPA is more like a package solution these days as it binds process automation and scans documents through optical character recognition technology (OCR). Our user-friendly RPA solutions are embedded with process mining technologies; the process mining tools enable users to determine which process steps should be automated. Our RPA solutions are thriving on the UI front-end since it helps the user to navigate through applications and it can be easily integrated into middleware databases and external vendors like OCR.
RPA is the key to ramp up business productivity and boost efficiency by reducing manual errors and improving inventory management
Share your thoughts on next-generation RPA solutions
AI-powered RPA, a formidable combination has paved the way forward for enterprises to improve productivity, as an organization, and we consider RPA as digital workers that enable us to scale new heights with greater efficiency. RPA can be put to use for multiple purposes; it is stable and reliable. RPA is embedded with inbuilt motor skills that enable it to perform mundane tasks repetitively with imposed standard rules. Integration with voice-enabled devices adds capability of touchless operations such search a raw material via voice command while the human is occupied with other mechanical task. Integration with OCR adds vision capability to read or scan a document and convert it into the text document. Integration with machine learning capability enable the bot or digital worker to analyze historic transactions and predict future success or exceptions. This is something I am implementing at my organization, apart from that; I would say intellectual processing is the need of the hour to carry out financial transactions.
RPA and shuffling job roles
In my opinion, RPA cannot replace humans; it would carry out the repetitive tasks on our behalf so that we can spend more time on decision making. We can negotiate with customers and get more business while RPA can execute transactions like cash collection and cash application on behalf of humans, thus complementing each other. This, in turn, will generate more employment opportunities as we need skilled professionals to train new joiners to work with RPA. Professionals will train employees to derive the maximum benefit from constantly monitoring and scaling the activities. So, in my opinion, no organization should replace its employee base with RPA completely. If companies leverage RPA and also hire professionals who can work with this technology, it will drive productivity and higher efficiency in the company. Enterprises should rather deploy RPA as their assistants to boost turnaround, and design the blueprint keeping RPA upfront.
Implementation of RPA across all industries
RPA is the key to ramp up business productivity and boost efficiency by reducing manual errors and improving inventory management. Automation is the center of excellence or a shared solution to all business problems. To maximize customer satisfaction, firms across all industries, namely—finance, banking, medical, healthcare, manufacturing or logistics industry should streamline process automation with RPA. C-suite executives like Chief Automation Officers or technical experts know how to make the most of robotics and machine learning to reduce manual labor. Prior to automate, the Lean Six-Sigma process experts tremendously add value to revamp outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in business processes.
RPA is likely to diminish headcount in the near future
Employee engagement at work is crucial as they are the ones who deal with customers to spot and fix problems within a business directory. Employees are pivotal to the growth of an industry, and as I mentioned earlier, RPA accelerates employee performance. RPA is not necessarily reducing the headcount, but RPA is defining the chosen responsibility to quicken up the pace of decision making.
What is your take on the future of RPA
The enterprise space has a lot of processes that require complex settings, and heavy lifting to work seamlessly, and present-day RPA platforms address these issues. The technology is crucial to develop automated bots; it allows for the applets to follow commands and perform tasks flawlessly while being extremely scalable. All you have to do is implement the technology in the right environment for it to function. Vendors are offering platforms for developers to design RPA for generating seamless outputs.