The humbotic imperative

Published by Mike Bentley Ben Dollar Jeba Dharmaraj and Stephanie Levitt on November 30, 2017.

The rise of robots in organizations has given rise to two schools of thought: those who believe that robots will replace humans and those who believe that robots will help humans perform better. Our view is that the world has reached a tipping point where robots and humans will prosper in a symbiotic partnership. It's time to start thinking, "Can a bot do this task for me?"

To understand how we got here, we have to look back at how humans reacted to the approach of our productivity limit. In the face of diminishing returns to human productivity, we have resorted to the creation of tools and technologies that replace physical work and increase the effectiveness of work to overcome limitations. The invention of the steam engine that led to the industrial revolution massively increased human productivity in the 20th century. Productivity began to stagnate at the end of the millennium, but already over the past two decades, the digital revolution and robots have had a greater impact on human productivity than the steam engine has ever been able to make.

In the digital revolution, we have adopted advanced technologies and established a symbiotic relationship with machines in our daily lives. We willingly share data and bypass human interactions to enable the machines we have created to provide cheaper, better and faster results. We interact with software-driven cashier robots in supermarkets and share our purchase history and preferences with machines, just to avoid a long queue. We store credit card details on our phones for convenience and comfortably reveal our precise geographic location for a quick return home from a stranger. It's no longer just about consuming information from software robots to get the best insurance quote or the cheapest hotel rate; we have now learned to collaborate actively and fuel artificial intelligence. Navigation applications rely on data provided by humans to improve their traffic forecasts to speed the way to our destination.

As people increasingly trust machines through their day-to-day interactions, organizations increasingly rely on robotic automation, software robots, virtual assistants, and tools to help them get the job done. artificial intelligence to mimic human action. For example, Rethink Robots presents its bots as "labor multipliers": robots with a digital face that can learn new tasks by demonstration rather than reprogramming because their sensors learn to mimic human behavior.

In another example, Poppy® is a robot used to automate detailed steps in the creation and submission of London Premium Notice Notes (LPANs) to a centralized repository of the marketplace. insurance. Before the introduction of Poppy, the treatment of a batch of 500 LPAN took several days. After Poppy was trained to automate part of the process, the processing time was reduced to about 30 minutes, with negligible error rate. Poppy was greeted rather than feared by operations staff, who asked that Poppy be trained to undertake other processes. Similarly, Amelia's IPsoft is a virtual agent meant to converse with customers to collect information and resolve their queries faster and more consistently than one person could.

With this new man-machine dynamics, it has become much easier to introduce new technologies for people to adopt. Intelligent machines and intrepid humans take this symbiotic relationship to a level that has unimaginable potential for productivity growth.

Redefining the relationship between the human and the robot

While robots can replace some of the functions humans can perform, there are two areas in which we humans are unmatched and irreplaceable: being creative and making sense. Employees can be consumed with chores by heart rather than running at their highest potential. In a sense, they mimic robots. The advent of software-driven robots creates an opportunity to enable humans to do a job that is uniquely human and to increase overall productivity in new ways through the effective execution of tasks. Robots can handle work by heart, freeing their human teammates to get more involved in the meaning of their work. This can lead to less job monitoring with more informed real-time analytics information to find creative ways to increase production. These symbiotic working partnerships with software-based robotics create a unique opportunity for human development.

We have reached a point of inflection in the evolution of technology, where organizations can no longer afford to delay investment in retooling their organizations to maximize the benefits of these symbiotic relationships. Companies will only be able to realize productivity gains from these new symbiotic partnerships and business models if they skillfully manage the human side of automation, in what will be a very different organization. As companies introduce the automation of software robotics, they need to mobilize their key employees, managers, and customers to redefine jobs, career paths, workforce management, and social contracts. Executives need to think carefully about how to match people and machines, keeping in mind that many decisions made today will affect the composition of the workforce. , productivity and profits for the years to come.

Organizations specifically designed to enable humans and software-driven robotics to work together to effectively deliver a shared workload are what we call humbotic TM organizations . Now is the time for organizations to invest in maximizing productivity derived from this new symbiotic relationship between humans and robots – by building a humbotic organization.

Construction of an effective humbotic organization

Humans are already working in symbiosis with machines outside the workplace. For organizations to extend this relationship to the labor market, they must go beyond the deployment of the latest digital technologies or offer the best technical training to their workforce. They should focus on creating the prerequisites for a human-robot partnership through good organizational structure, task design and talent. By leveraging the familiarity and comfort that people already have with robots outside of work, companies can create work-like relationships to achieve the organization's strategic and productivity goals. These organizations should consider hiring, promoting and rewarding people who are already working in symbiosis with robots, as evidenced by the trust, commitment and collaboration with them at work.

Courage against the machine

Outside the workplace, people have built strong bonds with robots: they learn from each other and collaborate innately with robots. It's time for organizations to be courageous in allowing employees to take advantage of this man-machine relationship and assess their position on humbotic maturity. Their goal should be to explore how they can drive exponential growth and productivity as a truly humbotic organization. It's only a matter of time before humble organizations become the norm and robots become the new breeding ground for talent.

Mike Bentley is General Manager of the Human Capital Department of Deloitte Consulting LLP. He leads technology adoption programs and change management methodology that transform change is usually delivered to our clients.

Ben Dollar is a director of the Human Capital practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP. He focuses on organizational design, talent management and process improvement, especially in the manufacturing industry.

Jeba Dharmaraj is a leader specialized in the practice of the Digital Enablement of Deloitte Consulting LLP, leader of worktreams at the national level for the Digital Enablement learning, role "humbotics" mapping in position, and industrial solutions for consumer and industrial products.

Stephanie Levitt is responsible for the human capital practice of Deloitte Consulting LLP, leading strategic change programs focused on the science industry of life in the health sector. "Humbotics."

Contributors: Jesse Addison, Marisa Bricca, Anna Denton

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