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Automation boom seen vital for growing Thai businesses

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Bangkok--9 Nov--PwC Thailand
Thai organisations are shifting to greater automation to transform daily office tasks, while reskilling their workforce to prepare for the changing job market, PwC Thailand says.

A rising trend is reflected by increased adoption of "digital workforce", a software which automates simpler routine human tasks such as robotic process automation (RPA), higher-level intelligent process automation (IPA), even more advanced artificial intelligence (AI) – all at varied stages.

Incorporating automation capabilities is no longer an option, but a priority – if these companies were to drive productivity, reduce costs and improve overall efficiency and better response time, according to Consulting Leader Vilaiporn Taweelappontong.

"Digital workforce is increasingly reshaping the nature of people's work in a big way," Vilaiporn said.

"They're the software that help to carry out simple, more mundane tasks usually performed by humans. So far, the integration of digital technology has augmented jobs more than displaced them. But instead of getting all worried about it, I believe that businesses and human employees must be ready to co-exist and live with this sea change of disruption."

Major adoption of RPA has already emerged across various industries, Vilaiporn said. In fact, many companies have started with RPA proof of concepts or are at the stage of deploying robots.
A recent study by PwC estimates that 45% of work activities can be automated, and this automation would save $2 trillion in global workforce costs.

Like RPA, IPA is another form of digital workforce. A set of technologies assist human workers by performing repetitive and manual tasks but with a capability to learn from human activities and improve over time, Vilaiporn explained.

These bots or robots can perform simple analysis and correlate data to come to a conclusion. However, human capabilities are still required to make the final decisions or handle any type of exception.

AI is the highest level in the automation. Bots are able to learn, improve, and make the best decision within a set of given parameters. The bots drive process and decisions, humans augment the decisions and set the overall parameters.

One example includes a chatbot, or a digital assistant, that can communicate to customer and handles service requests. This technology is expected to reach its full potential over the next three to five years.

"Adopting automation in business isn't only about spending a lot of money on technologies. It's about communicating, developing and enabling their employees to change and building that successful digital transformation and culture within the organisation. Workers, on the other hand, need to add new skills or retrain to protect their jobs and that learning is a lifelong journey."


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