7AutomateThe Robots Aren't Coming; They're Here

When was the last time you went into a bank and wrote a check to get cash? Went into a travel agency to book a flight? Created a font to make a PowerPoint presentation? Can't remember? We can't either. All those things that people used to do have been automated away.

Now, look around you in the office where you work. See what Fred's doing? See what Anika's doing? Look at what you're doing. Lots of those things are about to be automated away too.

As we've pointed out repeatedly in the previous chapters of this book, we are riding on the cusp of a huge new wave of automated “white-collar” work that is going to fundamentally change what millions and millions of people all around the world do, Monday through Friday, 9 to 5.

For a manager, automating existing parts of your business with the new machine provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the cost structure of your firm, while at the same time increasing the velocity and quality of your operations.

The automation of the processes at the core of your organization is going to make the last 25 years of Six Sigma, business process reengineering, and outsourcing seem like an overture before the main symphony begins. While each has provided many benefits (and some tears) along the way, all will pale in comparison to the impact of digitizing your core processes. In the next few pages, we cover several aspects of these automation dynamics: what automation actually is, which ...

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