Many implementations fail because design and change are poorly managed, says Sanjay Srivastava, chief digital officer of Genpact. In the rush to get something deployed, some companies overlook communication exchanges, between the various bots, which can break a business process. "Before you implement, you must think about the operating model design," Srivastava says. "You need to map out how you expect the various bots to work together." Alternatively, some CIOs will neglect to negotiate the changes new operations will have on an organization's business processes. CIOs must plan for this well in advance to avoid business disruption.
A variation on this type of tool is for testing of web sites. Here, the "interface" is the web page. However, such a framework utilizes entirely different techniques because it is rendering HTML and listening to DOM Events instead of operating system events. Headless browsers or solutions based on Selenium Web Driver are normally used for this purpose.
During a recent consulting assignment, a tester told me he spent 90 percent of his time setting up test conditions. The application allowed colleges and other large organizations to configure their workflow for payment processing. One school might set up self-service kiosks, while another might have a cash window where the teller could only authorize up to a certain dollar amount. Still others might require a manager to cancel or approve a transaction over a certain dollar amount. Some schools took certain credit cards, while others accepted cash only. To reproduce any of these conditions, the tester had to log in, create a workflow manually, and establish a set of users with the right permissions before finally doing the testing. When we talked about automation approaches, our initial conversation was about tools to drive the user interface. For example, a batch script like this:
In my organization, we've taken automation to the extreme, and we automate every test we believe will yield a good ROI. Usually, this means we run automation tests on all delivered features at both sanity and end-to-end levels. This way, we achieve 90 percent coverage while also maintaining and growing our test automation suite at all stages of the application lifecycle.
Pets Your pets should enjoy the benefits of home automation as much as you do. Connect a food dispenser to make sure they’re always fed on time. Set up a schedule for locking and unlocking the pet door to keep unwanted critters out. And know by just checking your phone whether they’re in the house, out in the yard, or digging up the neighbor’s flowers.
Some knowledge workers will step up to even higher levels of cognition; others will step aside and draw on forms of intelligence that machines lack. Some will step in, monitoring and adjusting computers’ decision making; others will step narrowly into highly specialized realms of expertise. Inevitably, some will step forward by creating next-generation machines and finding new ways for them to augment human strengths.
Set schedules are helpful, but many of us keep different hours from day to day. Energy costs can be even further reduced by programming “macros” into the system and controlling it remotely whenever needed. In other words, you could set up a “coming home” event that turns on lights and heating as you’re driving home after work, for example, and activate it all with one tap on your smartphone. An opposite “leaving home” event could save you from wasting energy on forgotten lights and appliances once you’ve left for the day.
For example, CUNA Mutual’ s pilot program focused on automating transactional activities for its claims adjusters. Not only did the pilot meet the strategic goal to increase capacity without increasing headcount, it also gave claims adjusters time to be more strategic in their assessments of claim payments and denials and allowed the finance team the opportunity to be more strategic in executing their process. This level of satisfaction is a rarity for many IT applications. Meeting expectations may be easier for automation and robotics given they often have a clear process to automate and a measurable business case.
“In the new state, every time a customer places an order, it is instantly created in the accounting software. It is then sent to the warehouse to be fulfilled. Once fulfilled, it is automatically converted to an invoice that can be sent out to the client. This gives the executive team real-time visibility into what has been ordered, what is unfulfilled, what has been shipped, and when the company has been paid. All of this data is available on any internet-connected device and requires zero human intervention. Needless to say, the executive team loves the new insights!
In general usage, automation can be defined as a technology concerned with performing a process by means of programmed commands combined with automatic feedback control to ensure proper execution of the instructions. The resulting system is capable of operating without human intervention. The development of this technology has become increasingly dependent on the use of computers and computer-related technologies. Consequently, automated systems have become increasingly sophisticated and complex. Advanced systems represent a level of capability and performance that surpass in many ways the abilities of humans to accomplish the same activities.
With automation, processes can perform in ways that optimize the amount of human support needed. This shift—moving the burden of processes from humans to technology—has the potential to redesign the way work gets done within an enterprise. Simple automation of processes can eliminate errors, reduce biases and perform transactional work in a fraction of the time it takes humans. And with the application of artificial intelligence, these point robotic process fixes have now evolved into intelligent interactions and processes.