Is Your Job At Risk Of Automation?

Knowledge worker’s jobs will be able to be replaced with automation and it will happen faster than we expect. I think the pace of change will accelerate because new technology is now so easy to adopt in the cloud and innovations are rolled out faster than ever before.

Last week I blogged about Automated Accountants, which was discussing chatbot use cases rather than full automation of a person. However the concept of automating what knowledge workers do today to the point were we really do have a fully automated accountant is something I have been researching too.

I had a twitter discussion with Vinnie Mirchandani (@dealarchitect) about automation as he is authoring a book on the subject.  I agree with him that dirty and dangerous jobs are the first candidates for automation, but I also believe knowledge jobs are good candidates too and it will happen faster than many expect.  In the world of finance we have seen continual adoption of technology to move us from paper based Ledgers to highly automated cloud accounting software with integrated reporting, social networks, mobile etc. I think the pace of change will accelerate because new technology is now so easy to adopt in the cloud and innovations are rolled out faster than ever before.  So automation will happen quicker for those corporations that are already adopting these cloud based business applications.

I came across an interesting article on the BBC entitled Will a Robot Take My Job? which has some nice tools to let you search for your job and determine how likely it is to be automated and despite my earlier assertions I was surprised that accounting professions were so high on the list of those that would be automated.  You can see my summary graphic below

automation

The full report from Oxford University’s Martin School is worth a read as it goes into a lot of detail of skills that are hard for a machine to replicate and those that are easier so you can understand the reasoning behind the ratings.  My profession in software development has a pretty low chance of being automated, I have to come up with original ideas and negotiate and these are things it is harder (at the moment) for machines to automate but it might just be a matter of time.

This will not happen in one shot, but over time more and more tasks will be automated, which is good because it will give is some time to think about the much bigger issue; what do we do now so much of what we as a workforce do is automated?  The common wisdom is the workers will gradually move to work on higher value tasks that cannot easily be automated and drive greater and greater value.  There is a lot of evidence to support this, but that discussion probably deserves a blog post of it’s own.

Focus on User Groups at Oracle OpenWorld

Anyone who reads my blog regularly might be tired of me praising user groups, but I believe it is worth repeating myself.  The type of information sharing you get from user groups is unique and very valuable, it is important for Oracle to support that, be aware of it, but not interfere.  I have been involved with the Oracle Apps User Group via the GL SIG for several years now but I will never push my agenda, I listen, provide information or presentations that are requested and I learn.  Many of my colleagues will tell you the same.  So Sunday is User Group day at OpenWorld and I look forward to seeing a lot of familiar faces and learning something new.  I have a bit of a schedule crunch this year, 12 months ago I committed to run the 5k “Dolphin Dash” School fundraiser with my 8 year old son, I didn’t think for a minute it would fall on the same date as OpenWorld.  So I have to run a 5k at 9am and then dash into San Francisco to present at the GL SIG for 11am, if I arrive in my running gear, still sweating please accept my apologies.  I will stay around for more of the sessions and always I will be active on twitter, so you can find me that way too.

At the GL SIG I’ll be talking about and briefly showing the new Accounting Hub Reporting Cloud Service, which I am very excited about.  You will also hear from Lakshmi Sampath from Dell about SLA on their upgrade to R12.  The full agenda is below, I hope to see a lot of you there.

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Agenda GL-SIG @ OpenWorld 2014 on Sunday, September 28th, 11.00am
Location – Moscone W – 3005

Agenda

  1. Introduction to the SIG
  2. Proactive support presentation
  3. Sponsor message (Excel4Apps)
  4. Lakshmi (SLA on Upgrade @ Dell)
  5. David Haimes new Accounting Hub Cloud Reporting Service
  6. Open questions

We will be joined by our Oracle colleagues to tell us about ProActive support and their leading practices to deliver content and help to the Oracle user community.
Excel4Apps will be helping us by sponsoring the meeting at this conference.

In the past many oracle apps customers have looked elsewhere for their reporting needs – until now – see a preview of “Accounting Hub Reporting Cloud Service”. See how many finance users are using their favorite tools for reporting – Smartview, Cubes, and related functionality to get their financials.  Fusion Account Hub Reporting Cloud Service is a new subscription service provides out of the box integration with EBS R12 General Ledger for reporting.  This session will provide an introduction to the new service, how it connects, works with EBS data, the reporting capabilities available and what it does and does not support.  Come listen to David Haimes, Senior Director, Financials Product Development t alk about the new service.

Hear what Lakshmi Sampath from Dell has to say about their upgrade to R12. The presentation covers the R12 Upgrade Case-Study at Dell providing details on what happens during upgrade to R12 in various subledgers (PO, AP, AR, PA, FA) with respect to SLA. This presentation will also provide details on strategies for data conversion to SLA model during upgrade, and cover critical lessons learned during the upgrade @ DELL.

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Socializing the Finance Department

I have been doing a presentation called ‘Socializing  the Finance Department‘ within Oracle and to our customers and partners for over a year.  It is a way to explain the business benefit of Oracle Social Network being part of the applications platform in our ERP Cloud service and I am finally getting ready to start blogging on this, it will probably be a theme I focus on quite a lot, because it is such a game changer in the way people use ERP applications and get their job done.

In this first post I want to set out by what we mean by social in this context.  We do not mean sharing details of our business process on twitter, or sharing pictures of our babies on facebook.  We do not mean more office parties or chatting about football around the water cooler.  We do mean collaborating with the right people, wherever they, are in the context of my transaction to complete my job.  We do mean having real time visibility into the collaboration happening to complete a business process.  We do mean have an audit trail of the conversations, supporting documents and decision making process that supported transactions in our system, right there embedded as part of the transaction or business process.

In my experience, all of the above benefits tend to resonate very well with customers and they want to see more.  Below is a screen shot from the desktop Oracle Social Network showing the period close process, it should give you an idea of what is to come.

OSN Period Close

Now the pressure is on me to get more blog posts out on this topic.  Comments welcome below…