Archive for February, 2013

Robots might take over the world

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Another balanced opinion piece on robotics across industry sectors, this time from Barry Matthews at UK sourcing consultants, source.co.uk.

Barry argues that it is unclear, so far, whether the rise of robots will have a positive or negative effect on humans but is certain that it will be “transformational”.

Robots will not take over the world

Monday, February 18th, 2013

There is a strong argument that globally, automation increases wealth and creates jobs. Even those that refute this, surely have to admit that automation can reduce offshoring and create jobs in the UK and US. In the case of services industries, this means the BPO sector, and specifically the part of the BPO market that has used “labour arbitrage” to move work to lower wage destinations such as India and The Philippines, for example.

The impact of automation, and particularly robotics is raging around the world at the moment. In addition to coverage in the NYT and The Economist, British Computer Weekly is also joining the debate with this – Will software robots really decrease offshoring and increase UK jobs?

IT – this is how your business colleagues think

Monday, February 11th, 2013

The history of this blog is littered with commentary trying to analyse why Business Operations come from Venus and IT comes from Mars.

If you work in IT, take a quick read of this article, published by an outsourcing analyst (Horses for Sources). Although intended to be aimed at the geeks and suppliers of the sourcing industry, it is also a lesson to internal IT colleagues in how Business Ops thinks, and why IT should focus on using technology to achieve business outcomes, not try to sell the technologies themselves.

You can find the article here: Sourcing no-no’s for 2013.

Robotic Automation: Can service industries learn from manufacturing?

Friday, February 1st, 2013

I gave a speech at Intellect‘s Automate Britain launch on 30 Jan. Here is the transcript.

Intellect Automate Britain Campaign

My name is Alastair Bathgate. I come from a process improvement background. This is me in 1985; in charge of Time and Motion at an NGA and SOGAT82 unionised print factory. (If you want to learn about labour relations in the context of industry automation, take a TARDIS back to the post Eddy Shah 1980s printing industry.)

Having spent so much time stressing over minute improvements in manufacturing, a career move to a bank drew a stark contrast in the apparently relaxed attitude to process efficiency and product quality. I remember an article in the internal staff magazine where a team leader was trumpeting the significant increase in productivity created by the installation of a brand new mainframe terminal, the cost justification for which had taken several accountancy man years and the IT lead time approximately 6 months. The year? 1988. It was the second ever piece of end user computer equipment installed in the 200 FTE savings administration department at Bradford & Bingley. I worked in a fledgling O & M department.

Today, I am CEO of Blue Prism, a British software company pioneering software robotics for the back office. I founded Blue Prism to address the frustration operational managers have in making simple process improvements and the observation that the only way to address the problems was to employ staff…somewhere in the world.

I thought it would be good to start with a little history of robots in manufacturing.

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