It's Time To Upskill Your Digital Workforce

It's Time To Upskill Your Digital Workforce

How smart is your digital workforce? Many organizations are now deploying digital workers, or software-based labor that emulates human job roles by performing end-to-end activities using AI-based skills. And they're expected to increase by over 50% in corporations over the next two years.

Digital workers are deployed through robotic process automation (RPA) tools, advanced cognitive capabilities and process redesign to automate simple, repetitive tasks. But leaders are quickly finding out that these software robots cannot automate more complex tasks involving unstructured documents.

This is a big issue. End-to-end enterprise automation spans a wide array of functions and content-centric processes rife with unstructured content, from invoices to credit and loan applications to claims and bills of lading. Digital workers have to process and make decisions on complex documents much like their human counterparts, requiring the "upskilling" of document processing capabilities.

To overcome this shortcoming, decision makers within enterprise Centers of Excellence need to look at upskilling digital workers and automation platforms with the right capabilities so that digital transformation initiatives have a real impact. 

Why do automation platforms need additional skills?

Just as human employees need relevant skills to perform certain functions, so do digital workers in order to automate specific use case workflows and document processing within them.

In the digital world, a skill is a capability that complements automation platforms and enables them to solve problems they otherwise would not have the capacity to automate. It can be achieved through complementary technologies that offer cognitive and reasoning skills.

In fact, as reported by Future of Work News, RPA needs cognitive learning to truly succeed. Solutions that provide software robots with new skills help drive automation initiatives that are integrated, intelligent and able to be scaled across every facet of the enterprise. The bottom line: Skills make digital workers smarter.

What skills do digital workers need?

One of the most important skill sets software robots can have is cognitive skills. These skills enable automation tools to transform unstructured content into meaningful, actionable information and provide the intelligence to understand and make decisions based on that content.

For example, these additional skills added to automation tools can provide vision, understanding and insight for continuous learning when processing unstructured data trapped in invoices, contracts, customer communications, purchase orders and proof of identity/ability to pay documents for onboarding.

Powered by machine learning, these intelligent content skills can digitize any type of data, learn thousands of different document types, know which data points to extract, discern if any information is missing and enable digital workers to send data through a business process, seamlessly looping humans into the review and decision-making process.

In essence, content skills expand the robot’s ability to perform a broader set of repeatable tasks more efficiently and accurately and are used to augment the staff’s daily work. Without these skills, digital workers cannot automate business-critical workflows that involve unstructured content.

Digital workers can be further trained for higher-value use cases that involve diverse document types, such as those found in finance (e.g., contracts, taxes, invoices, pay stubs, IDs, etc.) and industry-specific documents (e.g., banking, insurance, and transportation and logistics).

Beyond content skills, digital workers can be equipped with process skills that combine classification and extraction skills with business logic to create multistep business process flows to address more complex process requirements. This enables digital workers to better handle exceptions to process workflows (e.g., a missing W2 form from a loan application) with minimal human interaction.

Where can automation leaders find content skills?

Many online enterprise marketplaces are emerging where business users and the emerging citizen developer can find a catalogue of hundreds of these cognitive skills that are pretrained and ready to go for a variety of document types. Marketplaces are ideal for users who don’t necessarily have or need a technical background or in-depth understanding of machine learning.

In a marketplace, business users can access advanced automation capabilities on demand and easily design and publish the skills that are most relevant for their business functions. With these no-code/low-code solutions, business analysts can easily create and build skills and then make these skills discoverable by an intelligent automation platform, such as RPA, business process management (BPM), electronic content management (ECM), chatbots and other systems of engagement and mobile applications.

Marketplaces are offered by a variety of intelligent automation platform providers and typically provide solution frameworks, connectors, custom process activities and business rule code snippets that can be combined to make skills readily consumable solutions.

Where can these skills be used?

Content skills are becoming significantly important as automation initiatives are increasingly moving from back-office functions to front-office operations, including customer engagement. 

In back-office operations across any organization, one of the most impactful processes to upskill digital workers with is invoice and purchase order processing. The more accurately and faster purchase orders can be paid, the more ROI you’ll see to the bottom line.

In customer engagement, content skills can enable the seamless processing of onboarding customers and services involving application forms and proof of identity and income documents. Wherever automation platforms are used and are stymied by semistructured and unstructured data, digital skills can make digital workers perform better. 

Accelerating Digital Transformation Initiatives

Businesses are turning to automation solutions to enhance efficiencies, maximize resources and speed up service levels. As enterprise leaders wake up to the realization that stand-alone automation solutions can only do so much, complementary skills are becoming indispensable.

By upskilling your digital workforce with intelligent document processing, you can make more intelligent business decisions and seamlessly automate the workflows that are critical for maintaining business continuity and customer loyalty.


Author: Anthony Macciola
Source: Forbes

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