Service Automation and The Robot Age In Business

UMSL Business’s podcasting series “In Your Business” always features interesting people, who are experts in their fields, willing to share their expertise with broader audiences. For the latest podcast UMSL Business interviewed Dr. Mary Lacity to talk about the robot age, service automation, and how these systems impact business processes.
Dr. Mary Lacity is a Curator’s distinguished professor at UMSL, and a Visiting Scholar at MIT CISR. She has held visiting positions at the London School of Economics, Washington University and Oxford University. She is also a Senior Editor on editorial boards of multiple high profile trade publications on information technology, and most recently she co-published “Service Automation: Robots and the Future of Work” together with Leslie P. Wilcox from the London School of Economics.
Dr. Lacity touched upon an array of topics during the interview. First, she explained that the new types of service automation technologies appearing now are going to vastly impact the delivery of business services in future. Throughout her career, she has studied three different types of service automations, such as robotic process automation (RPA), cognitive automation, and blockchain technologies (e.g. bitcoin). Dr. Lacity gave an overview of each of them in the interview and explained how they interact with the existing systems.
Dr. Lacity also explained that instead of anticipated job losses which many people expect to happen as a consequence of automatization, such technologies deliver a triple win of value to business organizations and their multiple stakeholders, including customers and employees. What robotic automation really does is “taking the robot out of the human” and letting employees focus more on the added-value tasks instead. Dr. Lacity also spoke about thirty action principles that each organization needs to follow in order to get the triple win of value and what is necessary to be done to avoid erroneous applications, which can lead to negative results.
When talking about the importance of research and data analysis, Dr. Lacity talked about quantitative and qualitative research methods, how she applies them in her work and how she collects data. In the interview, she mentioned that she doesn’t believe in the technological determinism. Instead, she believes in a strong human agency, and the human ability to choose how to use all these contemporary tools to better customer service and to better mankind.
The interview was overall very informative with many great key topics when it comes to the business aspect of how certain things operate.  Go here to listen to the complete interview.