The Pareto principle states that 20% of our time when used effectively could lead to 80% of the results, therefore we can use the rest 80% to do more menial activities. This is the epitome of productivity and many authors like Tim Ferris believe we need to only work for four hours per week to produce the results we want. However, there is not even one billionaire who only works for a few hours per week, instead they are the ones that suffer a lot of health problems because they spend a lot of time working.
In an article written by Steve Palominio, the director of financial transformation at Redwood Software he believes that “Robots will empower finance professionals to switch to the 80/20 model, where 80 percent of time will be spent in analysis and just 20 percent on production”.
Steve argues that the digital-robots will be able to automatize to a 100% all the activities that people in the sector need. From connecting databases (SAP, ORACLE) to synchronizing the customer data of the ERP to integrating processes beyond the User Interface. His portrait of the advantages of robots in the workplace puts the automation as the best tools for finance professionals because they could free time on repetitive task and they could focus in analysis.
Let’s think about this scenario for a moment. In that utopian world the databases are connected, there will not be human error, and finance experts could rely do what they are known for, offering advice based on the data they gather. That sounds great, I want that. Finally, my technical problems will be solved by a robot, finally they were not being technical issues, compatibility problems will be a problem of the past and SAP will finally work well with ORACLE.
But one thing is dreaming of robots as our saviors and helpers and slaves and the other is understanding that new technology will always bring new challenges. Fortunately, we are living in a world where everyone can build a new product, fortunately we don’t have a unified system to manage our lives and unfortunately they were will be always compatibility problems between different technologies. It is like when the mail was integrated into our office activities, for some people is one of the most efficient tools but for others is really a nightmare because it distracts them. I remember the boom of “Bring your own device (BYOD)”, where companies will create products and services so you can use your smartphone with the systems of the company. But still this is a big challenge because unless everyone is using the same version of Blackberry (Yes some companies still are using them and Research in Motion (RIM) still exist). There are a lot of issues with the different versions of the operating systems of your Android or Iphone and the software deployed at our organizations.
So my dear Steve, I want that future too. I’m looking forward to that scenario. But I’m also conscious that those technological problems will never disappear and is a commitment from the workers to spend time trying to find out how to optimize their time using the available systems. That means it is necessary to stay up to date in the features of the new database, ERP and corporate system so we can know how to use it effectively and create our own Pareto principle.
So my dear friends, what we can do till that utopian tech future arrives is to analyze how we can take advantage of the tasks automation functions that different technologies are offering us.