Is 100% automation really feasible – and do I want it?


By Neil Kinson, Chief of Staff, Redwood Software

Fewer errors. Repetitive tasks eliminated. Speedier execution of processes. These are among the promises of ‘end-to-end automation’ or ‘100% automation’. But the shift can still be a daunting prospect for a company without prior experience.

Concerns around a lack of process oversight and audit requirements, or vulnerability to errors going unnoticed, are entirely avoidable. In some cases, they’re based on interactions with more primitive RPA tools.

Consider the path to 100% automation as analogous to regular cars evolving into self-driving cars.

The early days of RPA are like the current generation of autonomous vehicles. Tesla’s semi-autonomous ‘Autopilot’ system is the desktop screen scraper of the automotive world – it provides some useful assistance but isn’t flawless (there’s still the occasional Autopilot-engaged accident) and isn’t truly autonomous, as a human needs to keep oversight at all times for safe operation.

However, we can imagine that not too far from now, Tesla and others who offer self-driving cars, will be truly capable technically of fully autonomous operation. But for them to be accepted, people need to have confidence in their ability to drive safely 100% of the time, however short or far the journey may be.

That’s where we are now with tools like our own Redwood Robotics™ solutions. They’re entirely capable of delivering end-to-end automation across business units, geographies, different platforms and beyond, but if you aren’t yet ready for a deployment that large, they work just as efficiently in smaller, more limited scenarios – and still provide an easy route to scaling in the future.

Some people believe that because traditional RPA tools don’t deliver 100%, end-to-end automation, they’re a ‘safer’ choice. But don’t confuse inefficiency for control and oversight. Additionally, UI-based tools can be complex to deploy and manage in a live environment, which often proves a challenge when it comes to increasing automation levels in the future.

So perhaps the question of whether you want 100% automation right now isn’t the best way to think about it.

Instead think about whether you would you buy a car that was only capable of making short journeys? Probably not. You know that sooner or later, you’re going to want or need to take it further than you initially imagined.

To see how Redwood Robotics™ solutions can help you on your journey to 100% automation at your own pace, get in touch with us below.

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