IT Automation: Increasing Efficiency of Technical Workplace Processes through Software Automation Tools; How Robotic Process Automation Is Shaping Employee Jobs And Work

Koirala, Asim, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Seabrook, Bryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Morrison, Briana, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia
Vrugtman, Rosanne, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia

IT automation is the use of software projects done by developers and engineers to
perform repeatable processes. This is being implemented by businesses to enhance productivity,
reduce costs, and achieve consistent outcomes. For my technical research problem, I will explore
my work as a software engineering intern in Freddie Mac’s IT department. This company is an
example of a business that wants to prove its value and keep up with modernized methods of
automation to capture all the benefits that come with it. Transitioning into my STS research
problem, I will explore how the utilization of robotic process automation (RPA) by corporations
in the United States is affecting employee jobs and the type of work employees do. RPA is a
powerful tool that companies are using to compete with one another, and there is a lot of context
and discussion around it here in the United States. I will explore the perspectives and agendas of
the company leaders who are implementing this technology and the views of the employees
regarding how their work is changing.

My capstone project is about an automation project I did over an internship. The IT
industry involves many repetitive technical tasks to complete, some of which are long and need
to be completed at inconvenient times by valuable developers and tech analyst employees.
Software solutions that automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks can reduce time spent,
improving efficiency and profitability. By utilizing software automation tools, frameworks and
platforms, I was able to implement and deploy solutions to enable repetitive tasks to be
completed with little manual employee effort. In addition to the main build automation tool,
Apache Maven with Java, I used REST APIs, Autosys and Postman, an API platform. Through
these tools, I was able to complete an automation project that automated the generation and
filtration of security reports and emailed them out to the correct individuals. This would be done
on a schedule on a computer server without any human effort involved. The major outcome from
this automation was that employees could focus their efforts on more unique, complex and
fulfilling work. Future work that may be needed includes software maintenance, monitoring,
testing or modification. The work is dependent on changes in deliverables and available
technologies to the team and department.

My STS research subject is about the effect of robotic process automation (RPA) on
employee jobs in America. Automation has been around for a very long time, and due to human
innovation and a desire for optimization in productivity and efficiency, RPA is being developed
and is becoming widespread. My research question is as follows: How is RPA being
implemented in corporations and affecting employee jobs? In my research question I want to
explore how RPA is being implemented in various companies throughout America and how that
is, causing job loss, creating new jobs, causing retraining, how jobs are changing for employees,
and how employees have to learn to work with the RPA technologies their companies are
adopting. I am using the Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) framework to support my
research question. The leadership and management in corporations, along with R&D and
scientists and engineers, are the group of individuals who are shaping the technology of RPA.
Due to their effort and decision making in RPA technology, there is an effect on the rest of
society, mainly the employees and their jobs which is what I want to explore in my research
paper. I want to find what these effects are and what aspects are positive or negative. I also want
to explore what we are to expect moving forward with RPA which is relevant to society and

Working on both my capstone project and STS research gave me a holistic learning
experience about technology, automation, and society. My capstone project was mostly technical
as it involved me programming and creating a software solution for an IT team. However, it did
not give me the complete picture on the significance of my work. Doing the STS research paper
was the other half and it showed me the value of technology and engineering in society and how
something like automation and RPA has different meanings associated with it depending on the
group that is interacting with it. The STS research also allowed me to learn more about the
ethical practices of working with automation technology. From being hands-on in an automation
project for my Capstone to learning about the broader social and ethical aspects in my STS
research gave me a valuable experience in learning the mutual shaping of automation technology
and society.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Robotic Process Automation, RPA, Job replacement

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Technical Advisor: Briana Morrison

STS Advisor: Bryn Seabrook

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