What Exactly Is Robotic Process Automation

 

While most companies understand that embracing automation is smart business, many leaders are only beginning to grasp the nuances of what is available today. Even as robotic process automation (RPA) garners more attention, not everyone fully understands what the technology can do.

 

If you are one of the many who is wondering what RPA entails, here’s what you need to know.

 

What Robotic Process Automation Is

At its simplest, RPA is a form of business process automation that takes advantage of next-level artificial intelligence (AI). It creates a mechanism to remove manual tasks that are highly repetitive and tedious from the hands of your staff, creating a way to increase overall efficiency.

 

At a deeper level, RPA is a technology that allows humans to create software that can accomplish specific tasks within existing applications, such as processing a transaction, triggering responses, leveraging data, or communicating with other systems. It makes the most of both APIs and user interfaces to fully automate a business process from end-to-end.

 

RPA also have the ability to combine the work of a human user with the software, creating more potential service capabilities. These solutions are often considered hybrids, but embrace RPA at their core as a means of boosting productivity.

 

What Robotic Process Automation Isn’t

RPA isn’t necessarily a method for reducing staff requirements or eliminating certain professions. Instead, it’s a technology that empowers employees to focus on tasks that genuinely necessitate a human touch, such as customer-centric activities or those that require creative thinking.

 

While it may help lighten workloads, RPA is more often seen as an opportunity to reassess staff priorities and realign their duties and objectives to make the most of the new paradigm. Employees can be more productive or branch out into new arenas, creating pathways for growth that can benefit both the workers and the company as a whole.

 

The Benefits of Robotic Process Automation

Typically, RPA allows monotonous tasks to be handled by a technology instead of your workers. Often, these are some of the most hated duties in the company, so allowing them to be managed by a machine can actually boost morale.

 

Additionally, it gives your staff the ability to focus on more revenue-generating, customer-centric, or innovative activities. This can enhance productivity and profitability while also providing a business a competitive edge over companies that have yet to embrace the power of the technology.

 

Ultimately, RPA can be a valuable tool for any company, particularly those who leverage it to enhance productivity and create the needed space to promote innovation and discovery or provide better support to potential and existing customers.

 

If you would like to know more about robotic process automation or are seeking an IT professional with RPA experience to help implement the technology in your company, the experienced staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

3 Unlikely Traits that Extraordinary Tech Leaders Have in Common

 

There is often some level of debate regarding which characteristics truly define great leaders in a company. Some assume that subject-matter expertise is the most critical while others think that decisiveness is imperative.

 

While both of those can provide value, there are some unexpected traits that many of today’s greatest tech leaders share. By working to cultivate these in yourself, you can excel in your leadership role and make sure your team is primed to perform to the best of their capabilities.

 

With that in mind, here are three unlikely traits that extraordinary tech leaders have in common.

 

  1. The Willingness to Trust First

Many managers assume that trust needs to be earned. Similarly, they feel that a single misstep on the part of another is justification to make them re-earn trust, even if it is a relatively minor infraction.

 

This approach can create a contentious situation, leading employees to feel they need to either show-off to showcase they are trustworthy or walk on eggshells to avoid harming the relations. However, if you give trust freely to your team, they usually rise to the occasion and may even exceed your expectations.

 

By believing in your staff and their abilities quickly, you demonstrate your confidence in what they can do. This can significantly boost morale, increase productivity, and potentially spur innovation, especially if you create a safe environment for the expression of ideas.

 

  1. Understanding the Power of Humility

Some managers believe that humility is a character flaw. They assume that it’s a sign of meekness or low self-esteem, largely because, to be humble, one must be open to recognizing their own shortcomings.

 

However, contrary to popular belief, humility is rarely a sign of weakness. In reality, humble leaders are more adept at building meaningful connections with their team and colleagues and are also more willing to help when the need arises, ensuring the success of the group during trying times.

 

Humility also means being able to admit your mistakes, a sign of accountability, or recognize when someone has a better idea than you. This creates an environment where your team learns to trust and respect you, enhancing the overall dynamic.

 

  1. A Penchant for Active Listening

Too many managers fail to listen actively. Instead of genuinely absorbing the information as it is given, they simply wait for their turn to speak, formulating their response before they have heard all of the details.

 

When you are an active listener, you are able to discover what others need with greater ease. You’ll also be more open to their contributions in general, ensuring that you don’t overlook an amazing idea simply because you weren't receptive.

 

Ultimately, the three characteristics above are often hallmarks of great IT managers, making them worth developing if you want to create the best environment possible. If you would like to learn more about the traits that define extraordinary tech leaders, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with a member of our knowledgeable team today and see how our leadership expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Why So Many Developers Hate Open Source

 

Open source may seem like the greatest thing since sliced bread to some developers, leading to the growth of a healthy and expanding community of highly involved professionals. However, some developers appear to actively avoid open source, shying away from the larger communities and avoiding projects that embrace open source code.

 

While it may seem odd that a highly skilled developer would give open source the cold shoulder, there are numerous reasons why this happens. If you are wondering why so many developers avoid open source, here’s what you need to know.

 

They Are Intimidated

Surprisingly, many developers are actually intimidated by open source. While starting anything new can be scary, many worry that they don’t have the right skills to contribute effectively.

 

This sense of doubt around their abilities leaves them fearful. Often, the idea of being criticized by their peers, especially those with significant experience in open source, makes joining these communities particularly daunting, and many opt to stay away entirely.

 

However, many of the communities are actually incredibly open. People willingly share their advice and are often more than happy to help. Typically, there’s a feeling of everyone facing a challenge together, but developers only discover this after they make the leap.

 

They Don’t Know Where to Begin

Another common issue surrounding open source is a lack of clear pathways on how to get started. Finding a point of entry isn’t always easy, especially because the communities are vast and many of the discussions are long-standing, filled with notes and contributions.

 

Figuring out where to start contributing isn’t intuitive. However, in many cases, the best approach is just to jump in and put yourself out there. Every contribution can provide someone with value, so there really isn’t a reason to wait for a “perfect moment” that probably will never arrive.

 

They Need More Support

While companies are asking developers to do more with open source, not all of them are providing their staff with the support they need. It takes time and resources to make the most of open source, so ensuring that workers have what they require is essential to success.

 

Similarly, many businesses shy away from open source until it is extremely well-vetted. This means, even if an employee finds an amazing solution, management isn’t open to discussing it unless it is already widely adopted. The lack of interest ends up discouraging some developers from diving deeper into the world of open source, creating a scenario where missed opportunities are almost guaranteed to occur.

 

Ultimately, open source options are nearly always worth exploring. However, developers need to learn to set their fears aside and simply jump into the conversations while companies need to focus on being open-minded about what these solutions could potentially offer. Then, and only then, will more professionals and organizations be able to realize the potential of open source.

 

If you are interested in learning more, the team at The Armada Group would be happy to answer your questions. Contact us today to speak with one of our skilled staff members and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

The Five Best Tech Podcasts You Shold Already Be Listening To

 

There are tons of tech podcasts available today. Figuring out which ones are worth your time and attention can be challenging as few professionals have time to give everyone a try to narrow down the list.

 

Luckily, there are a few that stand out from the pack. While they are each incredibly unique, they all provide value to tech professionals looking to take a deeper dive into current events, emerging technology, career management, the impact of gadgets on daily life, and much more. If you are looking for a tech podcast to add to your playlist, here are five worth exploring.

  1. Accidental Tech Podcast

Known as ATP to its fans, the Accidental Tech Podcast features three developer hosts who dig into everything from industry news to emerging products to programming languages. Their high-level of expertise give them credibility, and their passion for the topic keeps things exciting. Plus, they speak like a group of best friends, making you feel like you are simply part of the gang.

  1. Clockwise

A podcast with a distinct formula, Clockwise always features a round-table discussion. Along with the two hosts, two industry guests present their thoughts on a range of tech topics. The show never gets long-winded, as every podcast is limited to 30 minutes or less. This means you can enjoy insights about some of today’s most interesting and, at times, controversial subjects in a highly digestible format.

  1. Rocket

The first and most popular tech podcast featuring an all-female set of hosts, Rocket discusses technology and geek culture. Their discussions on anything from tech to video games to comics are genuinely as enjoyable as they are informative.

  1. Back to Work

This podcast focuses more on employment topics than IT specifically, but it is still incredibly valuable for tech professionals who want to keep their career on the right track. The discussions encourage you to really take a realistic look at your job and how you do it, providing tips and insights on key subjects like productivity, communication, tools, workplace barriers, and more.

  1. Analog(ue)

A unique take on the tech podcast genre, Analog(ue) focuses on the human aspect of technology, including how today’s gadgets impact daily life, for better or for worse. It provides a unique perspective on the impact of technology and may give you insights that can help you determine what products may be beneficial to your lifestyle as well as those that may do more harm than good.

 

Ultimately, all of the tech podcasts listed above are great additions to any playlist. Consider giving one (or all) of them a try and see which ones resonate with you. If you would like to discover more amazing tech podcasts, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled IT specialists today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Machine Learning Platform

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are increasing their presences in the business world on a seemingly daily basis. These technologies have the ability to automate repetitive tasks, identify trends in unstructured data, and even make predictions that can assist companies with critical decisions.

 

However, organizations can only take advantage of the technologies if they have a system to support it. For smaller companies, designing a proprietary machine learning platform may be out of reach. However, thanks to open source, that doesn’t mean they can’t create a functional solution based on their unique needs.

 

While using the open source approach may seem risky, particularly since you don’t have full ownership over your creation, when leveraged properly, it can actually be the ideal approach. If you are interested in building a machine learning platform, here’s how to make the most of the open source options available.

 

Explore Existing Offerings

When you want to use open source to craft your ideal solution, you don’t want to merely grab the first option you come across. Instead, explore each one to learn its strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to choose the best approach based on your existing systems, coding preferences, or overall goals.

 

Today, there are multiple open source options available, including many from leading technology companies. For example, Salesforce opened up their TransmogrifAI, the machine learning library used in the company’s Einstein AI platform, that works best with structured data. Oracle’s Graphpipe may be a better option for smartphone and IoT device-oriented machine learning models where cloud-based servers are in play. And, of course, there is also a significant amount of machine learning code available from Google.

 

By taking a close look at the open source options that are available, you can identify existing solutions that can help you craft your ideal platform based on your needs and goals. This can be a significant timesaver, ensuring you begin your project in the best position possible.

 

Embrace the Community

When you use an open source approach to creating your machine learning platform, you also gain an additional benefit beyond having access to reliable starting code; you can also leverage the community. Companies and developers on sites like GitHub are more than willing to look over your code, provide suggestions, make tweaks, or even help you find errors.

 

By embracing the community, businesses with small development teams can make progress more quickly, resulting in a more robust solution in a shorter timeframe. Plus, they can help your IT pros learn and grow in the machine learning development arena, allowing them to enhance their skills and knowledge along the way.

 

Ultimately, by leveraging open source, you can build your next machine learning platform quickly and efficiently. If you are interested in learning more about the power of open source, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our development expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Manage a Remote Team

 

As a means of securing the highest caliber of IT talent, more companies are embracing remote teams. Not only does this broaden their available talent pools, it also ensures a person’s physical location is largely irrelevant when it comes to hiring. As long as the employee has access to a reliable internet connection and the right tools, they can be just as productive from practically anywhere.

 

However, if you want to craft a truly remarkable IT team, then you need to manage them properly. Often, this requires company leaders to rethink how they operate, abandoning old paradigms that don’t always work when overseeing a remote workforce.

 

If you want your remote IT team to be as successful as possible, here are some tips that can help you manage them effectively.

 

Delegate Wisely

With remote teams, how you delegate tasks is crucial to your success. Since your employees aren’t physically together, you need to assign activities based on who is most capable of providing the ideal result. This means concentrating more on the quality of the outputs and less on the methods used to achieve them, giving your remote workers the option to select the approach they prefer.

 

Additionally, it means putting a higher focus on accountability. The remote IT team member assigned to the task must take full responsibility for its completion and success, giving them a sense of ownership and potentially creating a source of motivation.

 

Focus on Trust

When you manage a remote team, trust is essential. After all, you don’t have the ability to peek in on their work by simply strolling over to their desk. Instead, you have to have faith they can use their expertise to deliver the desired results, even if they aren’t directly observed.

 

However, with remote teams, you don’t always have the opportunity to build trust before you empower them to take ownership of a task. Instead, you have to extend it first and give them a chance to rise to the occasion, believing they will live up to their end of the bargain practically from the beginning.

 

While this approach can seem odd, it’s a necessity. Micromanaging a remote team is nearly impossible, so attempting to do so will only breed frustration. But, if you empower them with trust, you give them a chance to thrive.

 

Make Success Collective

With remote teams, you are often their touchstone, acting as their primary connection to the larger organization. When your IT team achieves a victory, they may not receive accolades from other members of the leadership team simply because they aren’t in the same physical space.

 

This means you need to help fill that void. Acknowledge and even celebrate group victories often, and strive to show your appreciation for their contributions regularly. Without recognition, your remote IT pros may feel undervalued, and that can harm morale, productivity, and retention rates.

 

By recognizing everyone’s accomplishments, you demonstrate how valuable they are to you, their teammates, and the company, and that can go a long way when you want to craft a successful remote IT team.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are looking for IT pros to join your staff, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to learn more about our services today and see how our workforce management expertise can benefit you.