Digital Worker or Digital Fluff

Discuss Robotics Process Automation. RPA is a rapidly growing field with 6 figure incomes and an extreme workforce shortage. This sub forum will be used to discuss aspects of RPA as it relates to both scripting languages and RPA software such as UIPath or Automation Anywhere
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Joe Glines
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Digital Worker or Digital Fluff

30 Sep 2019, 14:05

Recently I’ve seen the term “Digital Worker” used to describe an “on-demand, pre-coded collection of bot scripts aimed at an entire process”.
My questions to y'all is:

1) Are Digital Workers a true automation innovation or just a new marketing term?

2) If they are a true innovation, how would you differentiate them from a bot / macro?
Last edited by Joe Glines on 06 Oct 2019, 20:02, edited 1 time in total.
burque505
Posts: 1304
Joined: 22 Jan 2017, 19:37

Re: not all are welcoming "robots"

30 Sep 2019, 14:15

Joe, I can certainly see why not all (in fact probably close to nobody who has a job) are welcoming robots :D But is that the right link? I didn't see the word "robot" in there anywhere, or "RPA" either.
By the way, take a look at ChroPath, it's free and you can automate grabbing selectors. Automating automation :D
Regards,
burque505
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Joe Glines
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Re: not all are welcoming "robots"

05 Oct 2019, 15:14

Thanks- I don't know what happened but that wasn't the right link.

I could not find a way to delete the topic so I changed it. Sorry for the confusion... But please answer my questions in the (new) original post.
SOTE
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Joined: 15 Jun 2015, 06:21

Re: Digital Worker or Digital Fluff

25 Oct 2019, 03:59

Joe Glines wrote:
30 Sep 2019, 14:05
1) Are Digital Workers a true automation innovation or just a new marketing term?

2) If they are a true innovation, how would you differentiate them from a bot / macro?
I see the term "digital worker" as just a marketing term (but a good one) and extension of the older term "digital workplace". Years ago, "digital workplace" was a pretty common term, to describe work that was beyond the traditional brick and mortar buildings that most offices were in. Many people are already familiar with that terminology and the description of people working from home or a distributed workforce, that could include people working for you in other countries. For many companies, it was about cheaper labor, justifying reducing wages, or not paying the rent and electricity of an office. Various companies no longer needed to pay for an office (depending on the type of business), as most or all of their workforce could be working from home or remotely. They just needed to rent a meeting room for whenever they need face to face time. Just like digital workplace was about saving money, digital worker is easily recognized as about savings and profits for various companies.

I think RPA and RDA are still terms that are difficult for people to understand clearly. When you say robot, people are often thinking of a real physical robot or even a Sci-Fi type android, or they have no idea about the meaning of the acronym. The conversation becomes fantastical for some people. Digital worker/workforce is quicker for non-technical types to figure out, and is much more grounded in reality and business. It's a much easier sell, if a company is talking about reducing hours or replacing office workers with computer software programs.

Bot has arguably a negative connotation to it and is often associated with hackers or gamers. Macro is often thought of as a small and simple program that a person will use, not as something sophisticated that will be used to replace flesh and blood workers. Also, people tend to incorrectly think of a macro as something very specific and restricted. Like something just used with Excel or Word.
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Joe Glines
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Re: Digital Worker or Digital Fluff

25 Oct 2019, 08:44

SOTE wrote:
25 Oct 2019, 03:59
Thanks for replying SOTE! I agree with much of what you said.
ahkrpa
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Joined: 16 Apr 2019, 17:34

Re: Digital Worker or Digital Fluff

25 Oct 2019, 14:17

Well this is intruiging. Three of my favorite AHK ‘thinkers’ in the same post. I have followed each of your contributions to the community and we are much better off for them.
My opinions relative to Joe’s questions:
1 – Are Digital Workers a true automation innovation or just a new marketing term?
Neither. Digital means that data contructs and transitions are uniform and therefore do not require external influence as they proceed through tasks in a process.
Automation, which I do for a living, is a short lived phenomenom that will probably run through 2030 as legacy systems finally fade away and are replaced by digital equivalents. Automation is a response to disparate systems and legacy interfaces. In the beginning mouse clicks and buttons were faster than typing; now they are where all of the AHT (Average Handle Time) stacks up.
I write RPA Apps and I compete with RPA Tools. Apps are turnkey integrated automation solutions whereas tools are provided to companies that want their SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) to translate a business process understanding into automation. As of this writing there are 50+ RPA tools in the market from which you can draw your own conclusions.
In either case, once a process is ‘automated’ it is faster and maybe better. It is NOT however, ‘digital’.
2 – If they are a true innovation, how would you differentiate them from a bot / macro?
Variation on previous answer; if something is truly digital then it need not be automated.
A bot is variation on a program. Whether program or bot, they are still software.
A program in Microsoft Windows is typically an executable (.exe) so a macro is a subset of the excel.exe that runs on your system. I write RPA programs (aka Apps) that run in the user systems RAM.
An over simplified way to think about a bot is that it is a program executing a task/process on a separate system. That is why bots need scheduling and such, because they are queued up elsewhere. IMHO it is not accurate to call any program running on your system a bot.
There is a consequence to this architecture. Bots are well suited to unattended tasks that do not require any human (read screen) interaction whatsoever.
As noted, I write programs/apps that run as integrated man/machine automations. I also write programs that run unattended in containers and as services but I still call them programs/apps, not bots.
Again, these are just opinions submitted to an entertaining conversation.
Last but not least, AHK is kickass for RPA.

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