Outsource: Bill, it’s great to see you again here at the SIG Summit. Lots of interesting things have happened recently over at Alsbridge [see our interview with CEO Chip Wagner here]: how have these changes affected what you’ve been doing?
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Robotic process automation (RPA) is a new type of software that acts as a virtual workforce. It is the hottest ticket in the already hype-fuelled world of automation, and some would say that in the next two to three years it is going to become an integral part of your operations – whether in-house, shared services or outsourced. But who is driving RPA? And if the future is RPA, who is going to make it happen so quickly?
Of all the jargon and buzzwords beloved of IT professionals – “the cloud”, “SaaS”, “web 2.0” and an infinity of others – “Big Data” is the most alluringly easy to misunderstand. Whilst big data systems do entail a large volume of data, the real benefits come from the speed (or ‘velocity’) of accumulation, and the array of different types of data (or ‘variety’) that are collected and analysed.
Automation is unquestionably the flavour of the month in business chatter today. Robotic process automation (RPA), and a storm of other smart automation approaches like Artificial Intelligence, are being pitched and perceived as the NEXT BIG THING, akin to the emergence of outsourcing some 30 years ago, and offshoring 15 years ago.
Anyone with even a passing interest in technology will be well used to the claim that a particular IT system – some combination of hardware and software – is "clever technology". Similarly, synonyms for intelligence have been appended as a prefix or suffix by every IT vendor’s marketing department to add an extra sparkle to their latest technology.
The first ever meeting of Artificial Intelligence (AI) experts held in 1956 ended with a declaration from delegates that intelligent computers would be a commonplace in our lives in that decade or soon after. However, progress seemed to be illusory and the disappointment of Expert Systems at the start of the 1980s meant for many business leaders, AI came to mean ‘big hype’.