To take advantage of a digitally-connected, remote workforce, enterprises should use digital workers, such as robotic process automation, chatbots and virtual assistants, to do repetitive work or data analysis while employees focus on decision-, direction- and emotional tasks supported by the digital workers, suggests digital workforce technology company Clevva co-CEO Ryan Falkenberg.
"To make the most of our employees’ time and skills, we need to look at a different way of engaging people and take a new attitude to digital workers. Organisations need to prepare to ramp up their digital workforces to enable employees to be more creative and innovative and think up new ways of doing things that improve the organisation and the value it offers its customers.
"What was ‘right’ three months ago is no longer viable. We are being forced to rethink our values, assumptions and rules. We are being asked to come up with new, innovative ways to operate as a global society within a constrained planet. These decisions continue to be better made by humans, and enterprises should assign the direction-giving tasks and decisions to humans," he says.
Similarly, complex emotional tasks should be undertaken by humans. Customers are not just led by logical decisions, but are influenced by emotion and intuition. There remains a deep emotional layer that humans have a greater ability to tap into than automated systems, which is why leadership remains a human endeavour.
Repetitive, process-driven work should be done by digital process specialists, which allow the automation of front- and back-office processes without changing operating systems.
"Digital processes are designed to ask the right questions, offer the right answers, gather the right information and perform the right system actions, similar to human workers, which ensure processes are correctly applied," says Falkenberg.
More complex data analysis and predictive work should be performed by intelligent analytics systems, often called artificial intelligence (AI).
The sheer volume of data makes it very difficult for humans to stay on top of things. Joining the dots, when data is located in multiple places and is often unstructured, is work that AI thrives on, as is learning from patterns and being able to better predict outcomes, he says.
"As a society, we have an opportunity to embrace automation, and to liberate humans to think more, reflect more and care more. To do this, we need to give more of the ‘doing’ work to digital workers. This work has numbed human brains and kept us operating in a state of unconscious auto-pilot for too long."