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Book Club: IAOP's Outsourcing Magazine, Summer Edition
PULSE Magazine takes you deep into the outsourcing industry with the latest ideas, advice, knowledge, and best practices, turning the conventional upside down with stories designed to engage, inspire and challenge you. With editorial content from the leading thinkers and doers in the outsourcing industry, you’ll have the know-how, tools and resources to succeed as a new professional in today’s global economy.
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Robotic Process and Cognitive Automation – The Next Phase

Authors: Mary C. Lacity and Leslie P. Willcocks



Written by the leading scholars in the field, this book examines real-world implementations of service automation technologies using Robotic Process Automation and Cognitive Automation tools. This newest, detailed research finds that RPA adoptions are accelerating, maturing, and scaling in global enterprise. The research covers multiple industries, applications, and shared services, and uses case studies to establish action principles and how to mitigate automation risks. The book devotes six chapters to the first enterprise-worthy cognitive automation tools that use machine-learning algorithms to process big data, often in natural language form, and provides compelling and incisive, evidence-based action principles on getting value from cognitive investments; Surprisingly, CA has nearly 20 unique action principles compared to RPA. The final chapter provides an in-depth analysis of the effects of automation on human work; as a spoiler alert: there will be a lot more human work than many predict!


Why We Like It:

Technology has been a key driver for the outsourcing profession.  Evolutions in computing and telecommunication technologies have fed the growth of outsourcing globally. Even though human factors have been and will remain a key component of outsourcing, robotic process automation and use of cognitive technologies will alter how humans will be engaged in the outsourcing profession. These technologies are already changing the profiles of outsourcing engagements and service providers.  Leaders in industries ranging from financial services and pharmaceuticals to transportation are already investing in evaluating and implementing these technologies in their own shared services as well as directing their providers to embed them as part of the solution.



“There is enough ‘misunderstanding’ in interpreting technologies of robotic process automation (RPA) and cognitive analytics (CA). Continuum of RPA and CA can positively impact how outsourcing services are created and provided. We, as outsourcing professionals – customers, providers or advisors – need to thoroughly study these technologies and be able to understand and implement them for the benefit of our customers. This is the third book in the series and I contend that these books are the bibles of our profession and should be on our bookshelves with worn-out pages and underlined concepts. Mary and Leslie have been two of the most popular presenters at IAOP Outsourcing World Summits and are noted for their unique approach to making deep concepts easy to relate by providing practical research examples. So is this book.” – Jag Dalal, COP, Chief Advisor, Thought Leadership IAOP

“What makes this book so ground-breaking is the way it debunks and dispels much of the hype and fear surrounding automation and AI. The result is a must-read book for anyone interested in the future of work.” - Alastair Bathgate, Group CEO of Blue Prism

“Lacity and Willcocks have long been the experts on robotic process automation, but now they’re focusing on their attention on more intelligent machines. If you care about the impact of cognitive technologies on your organization you should start here.” – Thomas H. Davenport, Distinguished professor, Babson College and Research Fellow, MIT

Book Topics:

Building on two previous studies, the new book, published by SB Publishing, presents findings from 85 case studies from a range of organizations, which are using automation. Over 600 automation providers, clients and analysts were also surveyed as part of the study.


As the authors describe it, they have conducted research on service automation to answer three questions:

  1. Why are clients adopting service automation?
  2. What outcomes are they achieving?
  3. What practices distinguish service automation outcomes?

Robotic Process Automation and Cognitive Automation: IAOP PULSE Outsourcing Magazine

Available formats: Print and digital versions.


For more: Visit


From the Author: “Future net job loss as a result of automation is much overstated,” says Professor Willcocks. “The deployment of these technologies will take a lot longer than many assume. Meanwhile shortfalls in productivity, dramatic increases in the amount of work we have to do, and skills shortages – amongst other factors, for example, job creation – are being seriously underestimated”.


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