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Mobility, Sensors, Robotic Process Automation and the Principle of Acceleration

If you have spent any time working on IT projects you would have heard the comment, "The system is only as good as the data."  It's an accurate statement, and one I want to expand on in this article. Many system designs fail in the face of reality.  Reality is often a cloaked term for implementing a digital solution in a physical world without a sufficient understanding of how the physical world operates.  This is where sensors make such a positive contribution today.

Sensors fill in the blind spots in our systems and operations.  Where previously we operated on conjecture or false assumptions, sensors provide real data on how the real world functions.  Operating on real data allows for a different approach and IT strategy.  One that utilizes artificial intelligence or in more complex processes a solution known as robotic process automation. These automated processes or solutions know exactly what to do in a complex process given specific data.  Robotic process automation offers operational speeds and levels of accuracy never before possible while humans were in the loop.

In a world of ubiquitous mobility, businesses must learn to operate in real-time.  Marketing, sales and commerce must operate in real-time.  Think LBS (location based service) where retailers want to inform their customers, via SMS of nearby discounts or special offers.  If there is a delay the customer has likely moved on. Payments must operate in real-time.  Real-time is a speed deemed impossible just a few years ago and remains a future goal for most companies.  Today, however, with mobile devices and real-time wireless sensors updating complex systems management solutions, it is often the humans in a process that are the sources of speed bottlenecks. Think about how slow a credit or debit card transaction would be if every transaction ended up in a human's inbox to review and approve before it could complete.  That would stop global and mobile commerce. The credit and debit card processes have long ago been automated. Enterprises are now feeling the pressure to automate more processes to enable an operational tempo than runs at the speed of mobility.

What does it take to automate and run at real-time operational tempos?  It takes accurate data that has not expired on the shelf.  It takes IT infrastructures capable of supporting real-time transactions and processing speeds.  It takes defining decision trees, business rules and processes to the level where they can be coded.  This will then enable artificial intelligence to be added and utilized.  Once enough artificial intelligence is supported it can be connected together into a complete process for RPA (robotic process automation) to be supported.  Now you have a chance at real-time speeds.

In summary, accurate and real-time data, especially in a physical environment, will require sensors to fill data blind spots and replace data that has expired on the shelf.  This is just one of the many ways enterprises can take advantage of the IoT (Internet of Things).

Mobile apps and users are driving the demand for real-time interactions and information, which in turn requires changes to business processes and IT - digital transformations.  This increases the demand for real-time IT infrastructures and processes which will increase the demand for IoT and robotic process automations. In economic circles this is known as the principle of acceleration. If demand for a product or solution increases, then the percentage change in the production capabilities of these products or solutions will increase even more. In other words, if income increases, there will be a corresponding but magnified change in investment.
Mobile technologies are having an acceleration effect across enterprises today.  This effect is driving digital transformation initiatives toward reaching the "real-time" benchmark that will require more enterprise IoT and robotic process automations to achieve real-time speeds.

Kevin Benedict
Writer, Speaker, Senior Analyst
Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

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More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict serves as the Senior Vice President, Solutions Strategy, at Regalix, a Silicon Valley based company, focused on bringing the best strategies, digital technologies, processes and people together to deliver improved customer experiences, journeys and success through the combination of intelligent solutions, analytics, automation and services. He is a popular writer, speaker and futurist, and in the past 8 years he has taught workshops for large enterprises and government agencies in 18 different countries. He has over 32 years of experience working with strategic enterprise IT solutions and business processes, and he is also a veteran executive working with both solution and services companies. He has written dozens of technology and strategy reports, over a thousand articles, interviewed hundreds of technology experts, and produced videos on the future of digital technologies and their impact on industries.