ActiveOpinions – RPA in Service Operations


A new series of opinion articles, addressing the challenges and innovations in the world of Digital Operations Management

Edition 10 – Robotics in service operations, a question of balance?

When labour arbitrage first became popular, many companies didn’t worry too much about the productivity of the offshore labour force doing their back office work. It’s cheap, right? What does it matter if it takes two people out there to do what one person does back here if they are a quarter of the cost?

Of course this argument only held as long as you were the only operation in your sector that is offshoring. Once everyone was doing it, then the margins became critical again, and being more productive – even in a low-cost economy – re-emerged as important.

We should remember this lesson as we begin to increase our investment in RPA and AI: the productivity of this (potentially) cheaper processing resource will matter – if not so much now then certainly when everyone is employing RPA to do similar tasks within the same services.

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