Robots and Their Impact on Outsourcing

Science fiction has long tried to predict how robots will eventually infiltrate the world as we know it, taking care of everyday tasks and replacing human busywork.

Such items as sorting, compiling, and distributing goods can easily be accomplished by non-humans, as many modern processes have shown. But what does this mean for outsourcing? Will automation completely replace the need for human workers?

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The Human Touch

The answer is much too complicated to merit a simple “yes” or “no.” Rather than walking, talking, humanistic robots, businesses today are facing a transition from process automation, which removes a need to have a physical presence on the manufacturing floor.

When software can eliminate the need for a human to serve as a middleman, a product or service can be created at a fraction of the cost.

However, software still fails to provide the level of human logic required for certain processes. While software might reduce the need for a person to conduct a mundane, repetitive task, a person will still need to be involved for many higher-level processes.

In other words, gone are the days when a bank will require a teller to manually sort through payments each day, but humans will still be needed to determine whether a customer qualifies for a loan, provide high-quality customer service, and manage the “human” aspects of banking.

Here Come the Robots

In his article, Here Come the Robots: The Emergence of Robotic Process Automation and the Beginning of the End of Outsourcing As We Know It, Frank Casale states his belief that robotic process automation will have a dramatic impact on outsourcing as we know it today. Businesses will be able to immediately save 25-40 percent on labor costs by making the switch, Casale states, which will be attractive to budget-conscious companies.

The good news is, these changes will be gradual over the next decade or so. During that time, ISSPs have a prime opportunity to help outsourcing service providers become more sophisticated in their offerings to take over those processes that require the human touch.