Helping people work smarter: Our vision for the future of work

August 14, 2020

For as long as there have been businesses, there have been smart, driven people, finding ways to do more business, in less time.

And in recent years, we have developed countless technologies to help, augmenting our human capabilities. We’ve optimized our business processes using BPM methodologies, and, more recently, we’ve automated them with RPA, freeing humans to perform higher value tasks.

Even so, one dimension of productivity has been overlooked: how efficiently people can use the many different IT tools companies have provided.

For good reasons — like complexity, cost and risk — most companies have accepted the fact that the IT systems their employees use at work are clunky, fragmented, and inefficient, when compared to the user-centric ones they now use in their personal lives.

As explained in our previous blog post, Matterway’s mission is to change this.

While many automation technologies, like RPA, focus on taking over rule-based work and shifting employees to higher value tasks, we’re using automation to help employees do those higher value tasks more efficiently.

Here’s how we’re doing it.

Digital ergonomics — how we’re making technological augmentation more effective

Ergonomics, as you probably already know, ‘is concerned with enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness with which work is carried out’.

Digital Ergonomics is simply ergonomics applied to our increasingly digitally enabled workplaces.

It solves problems like these:

  • “I have to look up data from multiple sources, which takes so much time — and then I need to keep all that information in my head”
  • “I have to navigate through many tabs to find important information that’s buried among less important information”
  • “I have to perform tedious steps to carry out my task — like endless scrolling to find tiny fields, that I have to click with my mouse, and that don’t autocomplete”
  • “I have to use too many applications, and they all look different!”
  • “I spend way too much time navigating IT systems, rather than solving problems”

We didn’t invent Digital Ergonomics. It’s something businesses have been thinking about for a number of years. But applying its principles to existing business systems has been too costly, complex and risky a project for most organizations to greenlight.

What we’ve invented is a way to finally put Digital Ergonomics into practice — using powerful automation tools — and get companies from where they are today, to where they should be.

Our solution is the Matterway Ergonomics Platform.

What it looks like in practice

Matterway’s Ergonomics Platform sits between your employees and their IT applications to reduce friction in their daily work. Here’s how it works.

Your employees interact with a simpler, user-centric interface created with our platform, that shows the right information at the right time, makes decisions more obvious and saves them from tedious steps — wherever they are, on whatever device. In the background, a robot uses the various, existing IT systems in real-time — which the robot doesn’t mind. Because it’s a robot.

As well as working across different data sources, the robot automates everything from laborious navigation to accurately completing mundane tasks like double data entry, delivering true user-centericity and as a result, saving valuable time and effort.

The result?

  • Higher productivity thanks to automation and user centricity
  • Simpler onboarding and reduced training costs
  • More transparent processes for greater management insight and easier compliance
  • Happier staff and a more attractive workplace
  • Increased ROI from your various existing IT systems

All delivered in a matter of weeks or months, with no changes to your underlying IT.

The future — excelling with our digital colleagues

Reducing friction using our ergonomics platform shows what’s already possible when humans and machines work together, each playing to their strengths.

But this is only the start. As Davenport and Kirby propose in their article for the Harvard Business Review:

"The strategy that will work in the long term, for employers and the employed, is to view smart machines as our partners and collaborators in knowledge work.”

Those smart machines — and the kinds of assistance they can provide — are going to get more and more sophisticated.

For our platform, this will mean increasingly predictive, proactive assistance. With our automations already assisting employees at their work, we’ll be in a unique position to make that assistance smarter. And smarter. And smarter. While constantly simplifying how they work, allowing them to focus on what truly matters.

What could human/machine collaboration eventually look like, if we keep following this path over the coming years?

Think Tony Stark and his AI, J.A.R.V.I.S. From the support J.A.R.V.I.S. gives Tony, to the seamless nature of their interactions, they’re a great (non-work-related) example of how our digital assistants may ultimately help us focus on what matters, realize our goals and ideas.

Iron Man Mark II Test Flight. Copyright: Paramount and Marvel Studios

Start building that future, today

In their prescient article, Davenport and Kirby challenge the reader to imagine the new opportunities that will created by such enhanced human/machine collaboration:

“What if, rather than asking the traditional question — What tasks currently performed by humans will soon be done more cheaply and rapidly by machines? — we ask a new one: What new feats might people achieve if they had better thinking machines to assist them?”

We believe this second question is more important than the first. And we’re here to answer it. So your business can increase productivity. Change how you work. Leapfrog your competition. And push the limits of what’s possible. Ready to improve, today and tomorrow?

Get in touch.

As originally published on Medium on 20.12.2018,