Lately, I've been hearing some people refer to the incoming wave of labor-replacing, process-enhancing automation as a "digital workforce," which suggests some type of side-by-side pairing with the human workforce, just as contingent workforce gets paired with full-time workforce.

asimo-photo-from-honda-news-release-site-3.jpg Photo: Honda

Whether you or not you like these new semantics, the constellation of technologies that are birthing the digital workforce are a force to be harnessed, and if applied with forethought and entrepreneurial spirit, may open up new horizons for companies and their carbon-and-water-based human employees.

Such is the perspective taken by Justin Watson, David Wright and Marina Gordeeva, all with Deloitte UK, and authors of a recent report[1] based on a survey of 400 executives and finds a majority, 53 percent, have initiated efforts to embed Robotic Process Automation (RPA) [2]into their enterprises. This is expected to increase to 72 percent within the next two years. However, there is a surprising source of resistance to RPA initiatives.

For anyone who follows surveys closely, there's always a tendency for executives to check the "yes" box for whatever the latest hot technology trend is taking place. What is often the case, however, is these respondents don't want to feel left out, and are referring to some kind of limited or pilot project taking place within their organizations.

The Deloitte authors acknowledge this, noting that RPA may be something everybody aspires to, but isn't ready to scale across enterprises. "Levels of implementation remain similar to those reported last year, and only three percent of organizations have managed to scale RPA to a level of 50 or more robots," Watson and his co-authors state.

RPA has great support -- except from, of all places,

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