Another example is automation in human resources (HR). You can automate the recruitment and employee onboarding processes. In many companies, job descriptions and applications are not stored in a central location, while the screening and interviewing process is based on your current employees’ accountability, meaning that the process may be inconsistent and could open up your business to possible hiring bias. Onboarding can also vary among employees.
McKinsey & Company estimates that about half of all business processes — including yours — can be automated. Automation could save your business a lot of money, but you may be wondering what processes to start with and what is even possible. First and foremost, review the strategic and operating drivers for improvement. Then look for the processes. Rote and repetitive tasks are one obvious place to start.
Robots are here to stay. The faster you harvest their potential, the faster you create a competitive edge for your business. Robotic Process Automation delivers direct profitability while improving accuracy across organizations and industries. Enabling RPA to handle any processes will not only transform and streamline your organization’s workflow. It will allow for superior scalability and flexibility within the enterprise, doubled by fast, tailored response to specific needs. Software robots are easy to train and they integrate seamlessly into any system. Multiply them, and instantly deploy more as you go. They constantly report on their progress so you can go even bigger and better by using operational and business predictability, while improving strategically.
Over the past year few years, we’ve heard about robots coming for our jobs. Each time a self-checkout lane opens at the nearest grocery store, some start to panic. And although we’ve already had a glimpse into how automation is going to be beneficial to us all, it isn’t completely met with open arms. Still, I think there are a few job categories, or perhaps better defined, "Career Personas," that will thrive with automation.
When we reviewed the original Wyze Cam, its performance, features, and very affordable price earned it our Editors' Choice award. With its latest iteration, the Wyze Cam V2, the folks at Wyze Labs made some improvements, including motion tracking, enhanced audio capabilities, and a more powerful CMOS sensor. It's still the smallest home security camera we've tested and an incredible bargain at $19.99.
When it comes to business process automation efforts, our experts from around the web give several recommendations for how to get started. Some say that the projects are only successful if you initially approach them from the position of the desired outcome. Others recommend automating first, then figuring out the processes. Some claim that a full map and model of your processes are required prior to any automation. Experts also extol the virtue of having your business leaders on board, even as part of the team. Finally, they emphasize that you should improve all your processes (not just the automated ones) to maximize usefulness. In other words, garbage in, garbage out.
Phenomenally successful and for good reason, MyFitnessPal app makes it incredibly easy to log your meals and snacks, either by searching for them or scanning product barcodes. It has a huge database of more than 5 million foods and you can save and re-use your logged meals. The app allows you to set goals and displays simple but clear graphs to give you a visual report of your progress. You can also connect with friends and family for extra encouragement, join forums and swap tips with the community.
First, you need the right tools. Second, you need qualified testers who need to be trained. Third, you need to invest time and effort in automation infrastructure and to develop tests on top of it. Developing automated tests is a software development effort itself. Tests need to be designed, coded, and validated before you can really put them to use. But the biggest effort comes just when you think you're done.
Just getting started? Try choosing a single device that you want or find useful and learn how it works. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be ready to add compatible devices to enhance the functionality of the ones you already own. Consider things you’ll likely interact with on a daily basis, like smart bulbs, smart plugs, or smart thermostats. These are great starter devices for home automation. You can also shop our Smart Home Bundles for sets of compatible smart devices designed to fit your home automation needs.
The most successful RPA implementations include a center of excellence staffed by people who are responsible for making efficiency programs a success within the organization, Viadro says. Not every enterprise, however, has the budget for this. The RPA center of excellence develops business cases, calculating potential cost optimization and ROI, and measures progress against those goals. "That group is typically fairly small and nimble and it scales with the technology staff that are focused on the actual implementation of automation,” Viadro says. “I’d encourage all IT leaders across different industries to look for opportunities and understand whether [RPA] will be transformative for their businesses.”
Robotic process automation (RPA) is about more than automating your processes. RPA uses algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and bots to perform higher-level functions. A type of BPA, RPA has evolved from the combination of AI, screen scraping, and workflow automation. Where BPA aims to automate processes to work in concert with people, RPA attempts to replace the people in the processes and replicate human behavior with technology. RPA uses software robots (bots) or AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities.
“When we refer to automation frameworks, it is easiest to understand with the functional testing areas,” says Kandukuri. “You are providing commonly used methods to improve the efficiency of automated tasks. With limited knowledge of how the test case is set up, a tester can fall back on the framework to refer to simple statements and implement the test cases.”
I think we can all agree that automation is a critical part of any organization's software delivery pipeline, especially if you call yourself "agile." It's pretty intuitive that if you automate testing, your release cycles are going to get shorter. "So, if that's the case," you might say, "why don't we just automate everything?" There's a good reason: automation comes with a price.
"This app is basically a personal nutritionist. It comes with a variety of recipes and food options to not only help you track your calories daily but to lose weight. It has a user friendly interface where you can get suggestions on foods to eat, join an online community where you can interact with others and you can search thousands of foods to get ideas of healthy eating. I love this app."
The origins of test automation start with the computing industry. The book, Automated Software Testing: introduction, management, and performance, notes that the history of automated software tests followed the evolution of software development. Software testing in the era of large database systems that supported scientific and government programs meant that a finite amount of test procedures could test a complete system at the end of the development cycle. With the rise of personal computing, the methods for testing software changed to keep up with increased demand for new software applications and new product features.
A report cited in the book found that software developers in the 1990s routinely missed ship dates and deadlines. The pressure to reduce costs and keep up with the demands of a rapidly changing market is now dependent on faster software development. With growth and competition in commercial software development came new technology that changed software forever. The new graphical user interface (GUI), networked personal computers, and the client-server architecture demanded new development and testing tools.
Where do you begin with a BPA project? How do you identify which processes should be automated at the beginning? Companies should select the processes by first looking at their strategic needs. In this way, companies should ask themselves what will make them more competitive in the marketplace. For instance, you may be concerned with getting goods to market quicker (or first) or decreasing the price of your products by improving your margins.
You can also find ways of experimenting with home automation that don't cost anything at all. Many smart devices offer demo modes within their apps that'll let you get the gist of things before you buy anything. Taking things for a test-drive can help you decide whether or not the product fits your needs, and it might also inspire a few new ideas for how you can put it to use.
A final example of automation is for customer support. SiriusDecisions reports that about 64 percent of a salesperson’s time goes to administrative tasks instead of selling, and 73 percent of customer support professionals say that the most challenging part of their job is managing time and workload. Automation can minimize the burnout for these professionals by enabling them to concentrate on the higher-level functions that touch your customers.
Of all the food trackers I tested, MFP has hands-down the largest database of foods it will automatically fill in nutrition information for you — to the tune of 5 million foods, according to the MFP web site. Every food and ingredient you can think of is pre-loaded, so you’ll be doing minimal manual data entry, if any at all. I’m sure there’s something out there that MFP doesn’t have stats on, but so far, everything I’ve searched for is in there and populates with one click. My Lemon Cookie Collagen Protein Bar was in there, but not the other apps I tested.
Augmentation, in contrast, means starting with what humans do today and figuring out how that work could be deepened rather than diminished by a greater use of machines. Some thoughtful knowledge workers see this clearly. Camille Nicita, for example, is the CEO of Gongos, a company in metropolitan Detroit that helps clients gain consumer insights—a line of work that some would say is under threat as big data reveals all about buying behavior. Nicita concedes that sophisticated decision analytics based on large data sets will uncover new and important insights. But, she says, that will give her people the opportunity to go deeper and offer clients “context, humanization, and the ‘why’ behind big data.” Her shop will increasingly “go beyond analysis and translate that data in a way that informs business decisions through synthesis and the power of great narrative.” Fortunately, computers aren’t very good at that sort of thing.
Despite the talk that automation will end up taking our jobs, I believe that, like every other major revolution, it will create even more opportunities. People will be able to thrive in their existing roles because they have more time or in new roles that are being discovered. These categories aren’t all consumer facing roles. Some are—and you’ll be able to tap into brain power to improve your business, but some can be employee focused where you can find talent to help your employees grow. Let’s discuss three job categories that will thrive with automation.
RPA provides organizations with the ability to reduce staffing costs and human error. David Schatsky, a managing director at Deloitte LP, points to a bank’s experience with implementing RPA, in which the bank redesigned its claims process by deploying 85 bots to run 13 processes, handling 1.5 million requests per year. The bank added capacity equivalent to more than 200 full-time employees at approximately 30 percent of the cost of recruiting more staff, Schatsky says.
Automated testing expanded with Agile principles because testing in a repeatable manner that is secure, reliable, and keeps pace with the rapid deployment of software is required for this environment. In their book Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams, authors Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory claim Agile development depends on test automation to succeed. They emphasize the team effort required for test automation and recommend automating tests early in the development process. Also, the development of automation code is as important as the development of the actual production code for software. The “test-first" approach to development is known as Test-Driven Development.
The Nest Learning Thermostat has built-in Wi-Fi so you can remotely control the temperature from phone, tablet, or PC. This latest generation also has a larger display and a few more sensors than its predecessors, in addition to geofencing support and a furnace monitor. If you find it a bit too pricey, Nest also offers the Thermostat E, which has most of the same smart features for $80 less.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Automation: Adding AI to integration software enables decision-making where your technological support is humanlike. The system would make decisions on what to do with the data, based on what it has learned and constantly analyzed. For example, in manufacturing, AI automation can significantly reduce supply chain forecasting errors.