More human, less robot. 

Janine Chasmer
Janine Chasmer

The Robots are coming…

Robots aren’t coming to take over the world, they’re already here.  They’re in our smartphones, Alexa’s, Google Home products, recommending our next Amazon purchases to us, measuring our steps….

And they could be our colleagues too; the digital workforce, less interested in stealing your sandwiches from the staff room fridge and more interested in doing all of the repetitive tasks that keep the human workforce away from all of the exciting parts of the job!

Robot colleagues?

If you think of a bot as a colleague, it’s easier to imagine what sort of tasks they could do:  

  • Do you have lots of data in one system that needs to also be in another one, such as lists of open day attendees, or attendance monitoring reports?  A bot could do that data entry job.  
  • Do you need to scan documents for information and enter that information into a system, such as finance invoices, student marks or personal statement indicators?  A bot could scan those and put the information in.  
  • Do you have crunch moments in the academic year where you need extra people, such as Clearing applications, graduation set-up, assessment moderating………?  Yes, a bot could be switched on and off to do those tasks too exactly when they’re needed.  

What’s in it for me?

Higher Education Institutes are crammed with repetitive, manual processes.  It’s in their nature to be super-helpful and put themselves out for their students, so staff take more and more on in the quest to deliver a great student experience.  When we’re working with clients, we often find an army of administrators, undertaking boring tasks, putting up with legacy technology, inefficient processes, and disconnected data, all with the intention putting students first, and often at their own expense.  

But if a bot could take on these tasks, staff would be freed up to do the value-added ones.  They’d have capacity and time to be in the student hub face-to-face or virtually supporting students.  They could use their judgement more effectively, tackle risk areas or help students with important and serious issues.  

Will it work?

Bots don’t care that those tasks are boring.  They don’t get tired, or have weekends and go on holiday, or make errors.  If the process is mature, logic-based, and high in volume or frequency, a bot can learn it and replicate it.  

And unlike complex and lengthy IT projects, bots work with your existing technology, so the project set up doesn’t require intricate IT support or development, or system integration. 

They can be left to get on with tasks (unattended), working to a schedule or trigger, or be ready and waiting for staff to activate them (attended), working alongside staff collaboratively but freeing them up to take on more complex tasks. 

We’re not sophisticated enough for bots

If large-scale digital transitioning is not for your Institute, Intelligent Automation is a great fit, because it works with your existing technical landscape.  Institutes are doing this now; bots are already in the workforce – it’s absolutely possible.  

And if you’re currently undertaking a digital transition, this is exactly the right time to look at Intelligence Automation capability and how it could work for you.  


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More about the author

Janine Chasmer
Janine Chasmer - Principal Consultant

Janine’s career includes 10 years in the not-for-profit sector, specifically within membership, and she leverages her industry expertise and first-hand experience with a wider range of clients, including Membership and Charity, where she provides consultancy on a range of areas including Business Strategy, Customer Experience improvement and process optimisation. In recent years, Janine has applied these consulting skills to the Education sector, supporting HE and FE institutions to improve their applicant and student experience at key phases such as application, enrolment, Clearing and progression. Other projects include Digital and Data Strategy, process and automation, and Student Journey optimisation. She has also worked as a SRM Functional Consultant, using this unique insight of both sector knowledge, and enabling technology to achieve transformational outcomes. Janine is also a regular event speaker and creates and shares industry and sector insights with her network.