Digital workers are a relatively new concept, with the biggest advantage being their artificial intelligence enhanced capabilities. Rather than relying on humans to accomplish tasks, a digital worker can carry out processes without human supervision.
Digital workers can provide human-like assistance and handle tasks in ways that humans would find difficult to do, thus improving the automation possibilities of an organization. In this article, we will discuss what a digital worker is and how they improve automation.
Table of contents
- What Is a Digital Worker?
- Benefits of Digital Workers
- Best Practices for Creating a Digital Worker Profile
- Challenges With Digital Workers
- Launching a Digital Workforce
- Bot vs Digital Worker
- Wrapping Up
What Is a Digital Worker?
A Digital Worker is a virtual employee who augments and enhances human productivity by combining artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotic process automation (RPA) and analytics in order to automate a range of business functions.
Digital workers can be found in almost every industry and profession, including customer service, graphic design, writers, and programmers. They use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to connect with clients and customers; they also use cloud-based collaboration tools like Google Docs to communicate with team members.
The concept of a digital worker has been born out of advancements in Intelligent Automation (IA) and digital transformation initiatives across industries. At its core, a digital worker is a software bot or system that can perform tasks that a human worker would typically do. The capabilities of a digital worker extend beyond basic, rule-based tasks to encompass more complex processes, thanks to the power of intelligent process automation. This includes capabilities like cognitive understanding, decision-making, and learning from experiences, much like a human worker would do.
Automation technologies, such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML), form the backbone of a digital worker. They work in harmony on an Intelligent Automation Platform to deliver automation tools that can emulate human actions, learn from data, and make informed decisions. The automation journey of an organization often involves deploying these digital workers to handle repetitive, mundane tasks, thereby freeing up human employees for more strategic and creative tasks. The benefits of automation in this context are multifold – increased efficiency, reduced operational costs, and improved accuracy, to name a few.
Digital workers can significantly enhance the employee experience, leading to increased engagement, productivity, and satisfaction. By taking over routine and mundane tasks, digital workers allow human employees to focus on higher-value and more rewarding work, fostering a sense of achievement and satisfaction. Digital workers can operate round-the-clock, allowing for increased productivity and flexibility in business operations. Overall, the integration of digital workers into the workforce signifies a pivotal step in an organization’s digital transformation journey, creating a symbiotic relationship between human employees and their digital counterparts for mutual success.
Several factors have driven the rise of digital work:
Mobile technology – Smartphones have made it easier for people to work from anywhere and at any time.
Cloud computing – Cloud computing offers instant access to files stored online, so you get access when and where you need it.
Social media networks – Social media sites allow you to market your business or interact with others without leaving your home office.
Also Read: AI And The Future Of Work
Benefits of Digital Workers
Digital workers are the backbone of today’s modern workforce. Whether you use digital workers for data entry, software testing, web & mobile design, or any other service, they have proven more cost-effective and efficient than an in-office employee. Here are some benefits of digital workers.
With Digital Workers, businesses are able to create virtual employees that are ready to be deployed directly into the fabric of work, as technology combines RPA, AI, and machine learning together in order to create virtual employees able to work in any office environment.
Lowering your costs can be one of the most important reasons to consider hiring digital workers. With a wide range of skills available at your fingertips, and automation laid out you can hire an individual to complete a particular task at a much lower cost.
The advent of digital workers has led to a significant shift in the dynamics of the workplace, notably affecting employee engagement, productivity, and satisfaction. Digital workers, powered by advanced automation technologies, can handle repetitive tasks and complex tasks with speed and accuracy that far surpass human capabilities. This has a two-fold effect. Firstly, it frees up the human workforce to focus on more strategic, fulfilling tasks, leading to increased engagement and satisfaction. Secondly, the efficiency and speed of digital workers can boost overall productivity, allowing businesses to accomplish more in less time.
Improved customer experiences stand as another substantial benefit of deploying digital workers. With their ability to work round-the-clock and manage large volumes of tasks without fatigue, digital workers can provide quicker and more efficient customer service. They can also offer personalized customer experiences by leveraging data analysis and predictive analytics capabilities, something particularly valuable in today’s customer-centric business landscape. This seamless blending of digital automation with the human touch can significantly enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.
To fully harness the power of automation and realize the positive impact of digital workers, it’s crucial for organizations to choose the right automation partner. This involves selecting a partner that not only provides robust automation solutions but also understands the specific needs and goals of the organization. The implementation of digital workers must be strategic and tailored to the organization’s unique business model and processes. When done correctly, the integration of digital workers can propel the organization’s growth trajectory, yielding significant improvements in productivity, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement. This confluence of technology and human effort paints an exciting picture of the future workplace, one where digital and human workers coexist harmoniously to drive business success.
Improved Quality Of Work
The quality of work produced by digital workers is usually better. They have access to tools that make it easier for them to do their jobs well, such as software programs and other technologies that help them achieve greater results faster in an automated manner than if they were working without these tools.
With a remote workforce, you can scale up or down as needed without hiring new employees or laying off existing ones when your business needs to change, as long as your processes are well defined and set. This can save you money and make it easier to meet customer demand during seasonal spikes in sales.
Reduced Employee Turnover
When employees work remotely, they’re less likely to leave their jobs because of travel challenges, to business understanding as your processes and automations are set — which means you’ll see lower turnover rates and increased productivity over time, as well as fewer costs associated with hiring and training new employees who don’t stick around long enough to become productive members of your team.
Improved Quality of Service
One of the main benefits of digital workers is that they can provide better service than humans. This is because software does not get tired and needs breaks or vacations. It can work around the clock, so you don’t have to worry about taking time off when you need them most.
Another benefit of digital workers is that they can give customers an experience as close to human interaction as possible. This means that if you want to offer the same level of customer service as a company like Amazon, this is a great way to do it.
Best Practices for Creating a Digital Worker Profile
Though there are several steps in an effective recruitment process, the digital recruitment platform should probably begin with creating and deploying a digital worker profile. Maintaining a digital worker profile can help you manage talent acquisition and improve performance if your company has more than a few employees. Here are some best practices for creating a digital worker profile.
Assign Appropriate Security Access and Privileges
It’s not enough to just put your employees’ contact information in a digital worker profile. You also need to assign each employee the appropriate security access and privileges to perform their job duties. The simplest way to do this is by creating a user account for each employee. This allows you to grant different levels of access based on each user’s role. For example, some employees might view all team members’ profiles, while others may only be able to view their profiles. It would help if you also considered assigning different types of users within the same company. For example, if you have multiple sales teams, creating separate accounts for each sales team may make sense, so they don’t need access to the entire company directory.
Minimize Risk by Separating Duties
Workers are the least expensive, most flexible, and fastest way to get work done. But they do not have the same level of security and control as employees. They also don’t have the same access to corporate resources, which can be problematic if they need to access sensitive information stored on systems associated with their company’s business processes.
To protect your company’s sensitive information while still using digital workers, you must create a separate profile for each worker. This will allow you to control what information they can access and when they can use it. You can also limit their ability to perform certain tasks within the system if necessary.
Build-in Regular Security Audits
Security audits are important for any organization but are especially critical regarding digital worker profiles. The reason? A security breach can expose sensitive information about employees — including their email addresses, phone numbers, and social media accounts — which could be used for malicious purposes such as identity theft or fraud.
To keep data secure, organizations should conduct regular security audits by conducting vulnerability scans on their systems and applications and penetration tests on their databases and networks to uncover any potential weaknesses in their systems or processes. During these audits, they should also make sure that all users have strong passwords that are not easily accessible by others (e.g., not stored in shared spaces).
Challenges With Digital Workers
The digital workforce is made up of workers all around the world who work independently and try to fit within your processes, automations.
Knowing When to Use Digital Workers
In the digital age, organizations across various sectors, such as financial services, are increasingly turning to Intelligent Document Processing and other advanced automation technologies to optimize their operations. Digital workers have proven particularly useful in scenarios that involve repetitive, rule-based tasks that are otherwise time-consuming for their human counterparts. However, knowing when to deploy digital workers is crucial for maximizing return on investment and improving key performance indicators.
A common issue faced by financial services and other sectors is handling large volumes of documents and data, such as in regulatory requirements or fraud detection. Here, digital workers can be invaluable. For instance, they can process vast amounts of data swiftly and accurately, identifying patterns and anomalies that might be indicative of fraudulent activity. They can also automate entire business processes that involve compliance checks, eliminating the risk of human error and significantly reducing the time taken. This is especially valuable in sectors like financial services, where decades of experience have shown that manual processes can be prone to errors and inefficiencies, disrupting the status quo.
Another scenario where digital workers are particularly beneficial is when there are skills shortages or high volumes of manual labor. For example, businesses that are grappling with a dearth of data analysts might deploy digital workers equipped with machine learning capabilities to analyze and interpret complex data sets. Similarly, organizations with high volumes of manual processes might introduce digital workers to automate these tasks, freeing up human labor for more strategic, high-value tasks. The potential impact of such initiatives extends beyond operational efficiency to enhancing digital experiences for customers and employees alike. In summary, digital workers have emerged as valuable tools in today’s digital economy, capable of driving significant business impact when deployed strategically.
Getting Buy-in From Executives
Executives often have no idea what digital workers are capable of and may not understand why their company should invest in them. This is especially true if your company has never used digital workers before. You’ll need to educate your executives on the benefits of using digital workers and ensure they understand how they’ll benefit from doing so.
Implementing Bots That Work
There’s no question that bots can help you automate tasks and make your life easier. But the problem is that most of them don’t work. One of the biggest challenges with digital workers is that there are so many different types of bots on the market, and it’s hard to know which ones will work for your business. The key is finding a bot that has been tested by hundreds or thousands of users and proven reliable.
Scaling Your Automation Programs
Once you find a bot that works, you need to make sure that it scales properly to handle larger amounts of data or more complicated processes as your business grows over time. This means making sure that your bot has enough storage space for all of its data, as well as having enough computing power on hand to process all of those inputs in real-time without any lag time between inputting them into the system and getting results back out again (which would cause delays in productivity).
Launching a Digital Workforce
The digital economy is disrupting businesses in every industry. Companies that are not preparing for this shift will be left behind. To compete, companies need to develop a digital workforce that can deliver their products and services in new ways.
The digital workforce is not just about technology; it’s about the people who use it and how they work together. A successful digital workforce uses technology to get work done in new ways — collaborating with colleagues worldwide, working in virtual teams, and creating products that offer continuous value to customers. The best teams are agile, cross-functional, and collaborative.
Developing a digital workforce requires new skills and mindsets from employees at all levels of an organization. Here are some tips on how to make this transition:
Make sure everyone has access to the tools they need to do their work. This includes things like hardware (laptops and tablets), software (Microsoft Office 365), and the Internet (WiFi). You also must ensure your employees have access to data to complete tasks more efficiently — customer records or customer service inquiries from social media channels like Twitter or Facebook Messenger.
Hire the right people. Make sure you’re hiring people who know how to work remotely and have experience working in this environment. If possible, ask candidates about their experience with remote work during interviews so you can gauge how easy it will be for them to transition into this type of role if hired.
Set clear expectations for remote workers from day one. It would help if you made sure that everyone understands what’s expected of them working remotely, so there aren’t any misunderstandings or missed deadlines later on down the line. Don’t assume that just because someone works remotely, they’ll always be available 24/7 or follow all company policies — set boundaries early on, so there aren’t any issues later on down.
Digitalization is transforming the world of work and, with it, the nature of work itself. In addition to changes in the physical workplace, it brings about new ways of working, new forms of organization and management, and new employment relations. The digital workforce is becoming more common in many countries across the globe because it offers companies an opportunity to cut costs while improving productivity. According to a recent study by Oxford Economics, some 25% of companies in Europe have already implemented a digital workforce or are planning to do so.
Bot vs Digital Worker
In contrast, software robots, referred to as bots, are task-oriented; while Digital Workers, which are built to work alongside human employees, can perform complete business functions from beginning to end. You can automate a task by using a bot. The use of a Digital Worker can enhance any job function.
Also Read: How do you teach machines to recommend?
A digital worker is a virtual employee or freelancer that automates work processes. This allows business owners to delegate basic, repetitive tasks to less critical employees, leaving more experienced employees to focus on what they do best. Businesses can optimize their human resources while increasing their efficiency and profitability by choosing the right employee for each task and honing their skills.
Digital workers, leveraging intelligent automation, are dramatically transforming a wide array of business operations across industries. In sectors as diverse as insurance, construction, healthcare, and retail, these digital agents are supplementing the capabilities of human workers, automating tasks that range from accounts payable in finance departments to employee onboarding in human resources. By using machine learning models and accessing skills not always readily available in human employees, digital workers offer unprecedented accuracy and efficiency, reshaping the 21st-century workplace.
The impact of this accelerated transformation extends far beyond corporate efficiency and productivity growth. It is redefining business costs, customer retention strategies, and demand for workers. Digital Workforce Productivity Training Solutions and Maintenance Solutions are empowering business teams and external systems to harness the power of automation, without requiring significant additional investments. These smart services ensure the seamless integration of digital robots into existing workflows, enhancing not just the performance of individual tasks, but the efficiency of entire business processes.
As digital workers become more commonplace, it’s crucial to remember that they are not intended to replace human workers but to augment human performance. The abilities of machines should be seen as complementary to human intelligence, each having unique strengths that, when combined, can offer the best outcomes. For instance, while digital workers can handle large volumes of repetitive tasks quickly and accurately, human workers bring creativity, strategic thinking, and interpersonal skills to the table. Therefore, the future lies not in choosing between human and digital workers, but in leveraging both to create a symbiotic workforce capable of navigating the challenges and opportunities of the digital age.
Massi, Marta, et al. Digital Transformation in the Cultural and Creative Industries: Production, Consumption and Entrepreneurship in the Digital and Sharing Economy. Routledge, 2020.
Scholz, Trebor. Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory. Routledge, 2013.