The world is changing at a fast pace. With technology at our finger tips, we are able to do just about anything these days. Society is using more and more automation in every day tasks, and we are relying on computers to handle those things we simply no longer have time for.
Seyfarth Shaw LLP, a pioneer in the legal industry for utilizing business process improvement technology, made the decision last week to license robot technology from Blue Prism. The software owned by Blue Prism can automate processes that will enable an individual to interact with more than one computer program simultaneously, essentially interweaving multiple programs and make these accessible all at once at the click of a button. This will mean “exponential gains” in productivity, and therefore, higher returns, says Seyfarth chair emeritus, Stephen Poor. Using robots was Poor’s idea, like many of the firm’s innovation moves. He researched the products offered and attended conferences where he saw the tools come to life. After ultimately hiring a consulting firm, Robotic Process Automation Implementation (RPAi) Inc., to figure out way in which robots could be used most efficiently in Seyfarth’s operations, Poor was ultimately led to Blue Prism.
London based Blue Prism Group plc has 200 current customers, which include well-known banks and accounting enterprises, and creates software that it claims can automate just about any human task with the use of robots. The company’s term for robotic replacement is “the digital workforce”. The robots are trained by humans first, by moving through the steps that will eventually be fully automated. Humans move information between computer programs until the robots “have the process down” and can do it on their own. They essentially learn the tasks at hand “through a user interface designed to allow any employee to create an automated task,” claims Pat Geary, Blue Prism’s Chief Marketing Officer. This is the first time robotic process automation will be used in a large law firm.
The licensing comes after Seyfarth had already been using robots to minimize its client onboarding process. These bots were successfully able to decrease onboarding time from 35 minutes to just 4 minutes. Poor hopes the new technology will also help his company extract new and existing client data and scan through contracts. Essentially, the robots will be utilized to perform a variety of repetitive, mundane tasks which would cause the human mind to spin, and use of the robots will substantially decrease training costs associated with hiring human help.
“The law of software robots is: If a person sitting at a computer can do it, then you can pretty much train a software robot to do it,” Geary says. However, he does mention that the company has yet to see where robots have replaced human employees. So far, they pose no threat to their employment. Instead, more high level, intricate tasks are usually left to human help. Robots have been integrated into workflows so that employees can be reassigned to more complex projects.