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South African Journal of Industrial Engineering

On-line version ISSN 2224-7890
Print version ISSN 1012-277X


PARKER, H.  and  APPEL, S.E.. On the path to artificial intelligence: the effects of a robotics solution in a financial services firm. S. Afr. J. Ind. Eng. [online]. 2021, vol.32, n.2, pp.37-47. ISSN 2224-7890.

As ever-increasing advances in automation and artificial intelligence solutions create more opportunities for businesses to streamline their operations, the key challenges for managers are to identify the appropriate use cases for automation solutions in their organisations and to integrate the solution effectively to meet the objectives of both the firm and its employees. This case study examines the impact of implementing a machine-learning robotic process automation (RPA) solution that is aimed at reducing manual data entry tasks for employees in a financial services firm. The study employed an action research approach to follow a single team in the firm before and after the RPA implementation - a period of six months. The findings showed that RPA improved productivity in the team and created more positive work experiences for employees, as they had more time to dedicate to creative, cognitive, and customer service tasks. The study also found that the roles of employees were being redefined during the integration process, with employees reporting a high potential for broader transformation in the business as a result of the RPA implementation.

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