Modern telcos have not yet eliminated all need for manual intervention in their operations …but they are working on it.
Telstra has recently flagged its intention of automating its internal procurement and supply chain processes in job advertisements seeking Intelligent Process Automation (IPA)-savvy applicants, especially those with experience of Blue Prism software.
Blue Prism, a specialist in Robotic Process Automation (RPA), boasts of itself as delivering the “world’s most successful digital workforce”, automating “high-risk, manual, rules-based and repetitive tasks” and radically improving “agility, efficiency, accuracy and compliance”.
Phew! And radically reducing labour costs as well.
According to industry analysts, Kinetic Consulting, the cost savings of replacing an Australian “back office” worker (i.e. someone who performs “rules-based” and repetitive tasks) with an artificially intelligent software robot could be as high as 90 per cent.
Even offshore workers won’t be able to compete, with RPA providing the same functions at around 50% of those workers’ costs.
Meanwhile, industry newsletter it News reports that nbn is also advertising for senior staff to drive IPA adoption across all its internal processes. It intends to establish an internal “hub” to coordinate IPA-based initiatives as they are rolled out through the company.
Such initiatives are early signs of the wave of automation that is set to hit workplaces around the world over the next few years. As always, telco is one of the sectors to experience these trends first, but the coming tsunami will leave few industry sectors untouched.
It will require a more considered and coordinated national response than is visible on the policy horizon to date.