Bristol meet-up on AI and Cloud services to Robotics

Published by Ben Morris on

An interesting talk on 7 May 2019 from Darren Mee, a Partner at RSM, heading up their management consultancy practice. He gave a great overview of robotic process automation, machine learning and natural language processing.  

Darren provided a fascinating overview of robotic process automation, and highlighted its benefits, particularly where the tasks are repetitive. The capability relieves people of the burden of manual entry, cut and paste tasks, form filling and standard process flow type work. He provided an example of an engagement on RPA where a team of 70 working on repetitive activities was reduced down to 20, with the 50 surplus people being redeployed onto customer facing roles. He suggested that it could be a sticking plaster to resolve a particular problem  or could also be a long term solution to addressing some of the challenges that were historically solved by SAP and Oracle etc.  

When asked about the biggest area of resistance he suggested that IT departments tend to push back the greatest. But noting the relative low barriers to entry organisations are more focused on  proof of value rather than proof of principleHe also suggested that organisations shouldn’t try and automate a bad process.  

In Darren’s experience machine learning offers a huge amount of potential but it hasn’t yet had widespread adoption within the industries in which he is working. Rather than replacing humans he believes that it augment decision making. Work quality and the level of insights that are derived from data will improve. 

He covered a series of case studies of speech recognition and object detection, highlighting that the former is now on a par with human performance and the latter is now exceeds it.  

I asked Darren what the tipping point was for widespread adoption. He suggested that it is when the economics stack up, with a high confidence. It needs early adopters and pathfinders, often in aligned industries, to make the case. He suggested that by pooling this experience we are able to make a stronger case for change more quickly.  

A member of the community suggested that it would take a culture sift within projects to make this happen. He suggested that client relationships in projects tend to be short termAnother suggested that with adversarial relationships, there is a fear that they will use the data against them. He suggested that projects are temporary and unique. Although the output is different, the functions of project delivery, such as procurement, risk management and scheduling have patterns which will shape future projects.   

Martin’s introductory slides from last night can be found here:Presentation to BDPA 7 MAY 19 (1)

Martin Paver is CEO/Founder of Projecting Success. In Dec 2017 he saw the opportunity to transform how projects could be delivered through the application of advanced data analytics and founded the London Project Data Analytics meetup, which has expanded throughout the UK and has grown to a community of ~3000 people. He delivers strategic and tactical solutions that integrate project management and leading edge data science and analytics.

Please leave comments and feedback. Many thanks.

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