Hybrid digital workforce: The future way of working


There is huge focus in the business process services (BPS) industry on using robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) to create a hybrid digital workforce to drive increases in productivity and add value, but what does this actually mean on the ground?

According to published findings, a third of global jobs may be lost to robots by 2025. Typically routine jobs requiring little skill or decision making are the main targets, but actually even complex jobs can be broken down into simpler tasks. Robots make fewer mistakes and work around the clock, and they don’t require a monthly salary or a health plan, making them commercially attractive. However, they still require a qualified human to oversee their output, but a job of simple oversight can be seen as dull and uninspiring.

A more optimistic view is that the robots will complete the routine, simple, low skill jobs and consequently humans will have more time to focus on more complex tasks and value add, including decision making based on data analysis and interpretation of the data. These sorts of tasks require more creativity, critical thinking and problem solving skills, making them more rewarding in the process.

A hybrid digital workforce blends human resources, robots and cognitive systems.

The Future Way of Working

Operational management typically includes planning and decision making, organizing staffing, directing, motivating and controlling. In addition, managers must anticipate change and adapt to stakeholder needs, so how do they achieve this in a digital age?

Operational managers must be able to adapt to stakeholder needs, with more demand for quicker and better performance, while supporting business growth and maintaining quality. To achieve this leaders need to utilize the total available workforce, both human and robot, to plan, organize, motivate and control, to ensure client outcomes are met.

What will change are the tools available to operations managers to manage the workload. They can use technology and analytics to drive resource allocation and open up the possibility to schedule work outside normal working hours; for example robots scheduled to run at night, or more workers working from home outside of the normal 9-5 office hours. The provisioning process becomes much more complex, but leaders can get ahead of the game through building their own knowledge and working with the right suppliers.

Embracing this ‘people plus machines’ approach rather than ‘people against machines’ will help operational managers achieve success. It requires a cultural shift, which starts with the responsibility for managers to educate themselves and provide guidance and motivation to their teams. Acting as change agents to help employees accept work in a hybrid environment is critical to being a successful manager in the future way of working.

Victoria Leavold is a BPS solution architect at DXC Technology. She has over 25 years of experience in delivering finance and accounting services. A certified PMI project manager, she has lead solutions and finance transformation projects that deliver business value to DXC Clients.

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