More businesses are turning to technology to strengthen relationships both within and outside of their organisations.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are changing the way businesses engage with staff as well as their clients and customers.

Both RPA and AI rely on automated bots that run on programmed instructions, with the use of bots in the workplace transforming client and staff engagement, through:

  • Staff morale: employees spend more time engaging with clients/customers or working on interesting and complex tasks
  • Accuracy: bots are less likely to make errors or typos
  • Compliance: bots will follow programmed rules without deviation
  • Consistency: routine tasks are repeatedly performed the same way
  • Reliability: bots will complete a task any time of day and without interruption
  • Speed: bots can complete a task 4-5 times faster, improving efficiency.

There are, however, some differences between RPA and AI bots.

RPA bots

Process automation is software that can be programmed to conduct repetitive tasks across applications. It operates with existing software and essentially eliminates the need for an employee to perform a repetitive process within the business. It’s best described as a bot that works ‘behind the scenes.’

HLB Mann Judd Sydney recently welcomed its first digital employees. ‘Harry’ was built to assist the firm’s audit and assurance division while ‘Anna’ is a resource available to the entire firm. Both bots were built by the firm’s transformation team.

The bots operate on the Microsoft platform and staff can interact with them through an app or chat. Harry’s role in the audit team is to conduct several repetitive tasks required during a client engagement. These include downloading ASX announcements for listed clients, regulatory database searches, and drafting and formatting documents for review by senior staff and partners.

The introduction of Sydney’s digital employees has freed up the firm’s staff to spend time engaging with clients and focusing on the more technically challenging aspects of an engagement.

AI bots

AI takes automation to the next level. AI bots are required to put two and two together. They use different technologies to comprehend, learn and act with human-like intelligence.

The success of AI requires a collaborative effort between humans and machines. AI bots must be trained and monitored to accomplish specific tasks, process large amounts of data and recognise patterns in the data.

AI is considered the ‘front office’ bots in an organisation as they interact directly with the client. AI will collect information and provide a simple solution. For instance, voice assistance, smart metering, GPS mapping, predictive text, or chatbots.

Importantly, a digital employee or bot should not be considered a replacement for human intelligence. It’s recommended businesses undertake a process review to identify processes within the business that are both repetitive and time-consuming for staff. The added support of automation within an organisation may just help the human-side of the business to flourish.