If you haven't considered how intelligent automation will impact your industry and company, start now. Automation is going to impact every industry and every business in some way, first as a competitive differentiator and later as a matter of economic necessity.
The average consumer has been interacting with bots online and on the phone for years. However, bots are now reviewing contracts faster than lawyers can and solving scientific problems that have taken scientists decades to solve.
Some vendors already claim that their software can replace salespeople or data scientists, although management and technology consultants tend view automation as "assistive" because humans and machines excel at different things. The manufacturing industry has proven that machines are better at rote, repetitive tasks than humans because they can do the same thing a bazillion times without getting tired or bored, or needing a break. However, machines are also better at pattern recognition than humans, which describes one of the core things researchers, consultants and even journalists do.
Perhaps intelligent automation would be easier to understand if its growth path were linear, meaning that it would replace tasks that don't require a lot of intelligence or skill first, and then move up over time to tasks that require increasing levels of skill and knowledge.
That isn't the way things are shaping up, however.
"Outsourcing and offshore manufacturing affected certain categories of jobs and there was job creation in other areas and that played out over a decade," said Todd Lohr, a principal within KPMG's Technology Enabled Transformation practice. "The problem here is this is going to happen faster than other transformation. It's non-linear, and it's going to affect all job categories."