Going Robotic – is it time?

Is it too soon to consider robotics for your business?

If you know robotics are the future but can't visualise yet how a robot could improve your business, you’re not alone.  Especially since most of us aren't in the business of a) tracking life on the ocean floor; b) search operations or c) homing in on moving objects. These are but a few duties robots now excel at. They perform better than humans according to recent studies by US universities. (See ScienceDaily.com for more on this).

Robotics will add value to your business

So, it's unsurprising many of us aren’t doing any serious planning for robots in our workplace. We simply can’t imagine which roles they’d perform better than a human could.

That said, “How exactly will a robot add value to my business? Is a great question, asked regularly,” says, David Godfrey, CEO at iConnect. And naturally there’s also the question of cost. Godfrey explains.

Robots aren't cheap

The cost depends on the technologies you're working with and budget available. Licences to run and support one robot on an annual basis, are around R100 000. And this is outside the scope of the initial configuration and development costs. So, the functionality and spin off benefits a robot will offer your business, must be worth the spend.”

Don’t let all this put you off though because no-doubt there’s huge potential for robots to take a business into the extraordinary. Here are some first steps to working out whether your business should be thinking more seriously about robotics in the short, mid or longer-term:

Examine potential areas in your business

1. Identify areas in your business where a robot can fulfil specific functions such as:

  • App testing and monitoring (IT)
  • Process management (Finance and HR)
  • Invoice generation (Operations)
  • Document management automation (Operations)
  • Data migration (IT)
  • Healthcare patient self-check-in (Customer Service)
  • Financial report Generation (Finance)
  • Inventory management (Manufacturing and Inventory Management)
  • Employee on-boarding (Human Resources) and
  • Data validation from internal and external sources (Sales)

2. Pinpoint where robots are most needed. For example, where one could be configured to do admin tasks, decrease the average employee’s workload, which allows them to focus on more pressing matters. (Tasks like capturing information into a system manually spring to mind). To establish what these tasks are, begin by asking each employee to list all the tasks that often prevent them from getting onto their actual work.

3. Devise a solution where an outsourced partner provides you with Robotics as a Service (RaaS) and describes examples of where robots now take care of admin-related tasks. In banks for example, where a chat-bot can now interact first with a client to gain enough information from them, before channelling them to the employee who'll deal with their query. Similar solutions that match the specific admin-related tasks relevant to your business, can be devised for you by this partner.

David Godfrey

CEO

iConnect SA (Pty) Ltd

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