Leaders across many industries face pressure to reduce the cost of business operations while remaining innovative and providing excellent customer service. Intelligent automation allows businesses this ability to scale and streamline operations while continuing to address the needs of an increasingly tech-savvy customer base.
However, with so many terms around automation, intelligent automation (IA) is still a confusing topic for many. How does IA move beyond bots to allow a business to reach new levels of efficiency and quality?
What is intelligent automation?
Intelligent automation (IA) is the merging of both automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Also known as intelligent process automation, the term does not describe a single technology, but rather a toolset consisting of robotic process automation (RPA), digital process automation (DPA), and AI technologies like machine learning and natural language processing.
Breaking down the pieces
An operational strategy centered on intelligent automation requires every component to work together, leveraging the strength of each technology. A closer look reveals why each component is just as important as the last, and why AI alone won’t get the job done.
#1. Robotic process automation (RPA)
Robotic process automation (RPA) is the automation of repetitive, rule-based tasks. Software bots can accomplish tasks like scraping documents or the web for data, collecting marketing statistics, or fulfilling change of address requests.
While RPA is a popular solution in businesses today, it is not a holistic process automation technology. Robotic process automation will only get the job done provided tasks are typically repeated in the same way all the time, using structured data and requiring few exceptions to standard rules.
#2. Digital process automation (DPA)
Whereas RPA can help with rote tasks like data migration, digital process automation (DPA) automates large-scale processes across the business. Rather than simplify tasks, digital process automation orchestrates the flow of work from one resource to the next.
Deploying RPA and DPA together allows for exception handling, so you can route approvals and other necessary manual tasks to the right person. You can integrate business systems across the company and meet a wider scope of automation needs.
Choose a digital process automation platform like K2 for a visual drag-and-drop designer that makes it easy to scale processes enterprise-wide. K2’s platform also offers analytics so you can drive continual process improvement.
#3. Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies
Artificial intelligence includes things like natural language processing and machine learning to complete a range of tasks that would typically require human insight. Beyond automation of tasks, AI allows for automation of decision-making without the need for employee oversight.
For example, artificial intelligence can allow for the use of a voice interface that quickly interprets intent, using natural language processing to understand context. With machine learning, IA can intervene in processes, learning how decisions are made by “watching” human workers complete tasks and finding trends and common exceptions.
Examples of IA in business
Whereas business process automation platforms can trigger workflows to help people make decisions, intelligent automation allows for complex decision-making without human intervention.
Many enterprises are leading the way with intelligent automation, finding ways to scale processes and focus on providing a better experience for customers and clients. Examples of intelligent automation in business include:
- Finding discrepancies in insurance claims, credit applications, and other forms.
- Preventing fraud by detecting and blocking potentially fraudulent payment information.
- Automatically flagging potential security threats for human review.
- Forecasting based on analytics to improve budget and talent planning and decision-making.
- Interacting with customers and employees for personalized answers to many common questions.
The future of intelligent automation
As intelligent automation becomes a more accessible option for businesses beyond tech and across industries, where do we go from here? Will intelligent automation replace human workers?
While it’s true that intelligent automation can replace many tasks that previously required human decision-making, it’s certainly not the end of corporate jobs. Adding this level of automation allows employees to focus on innovation.
Businesses that implement intelligent process automation have the opportunity to continuously optimize processes while focusing on providing better customer service and a more innovative product. For example:
- Intelligent automation can automate things like answering questions or processing returns, so your team can focus on more complex customer issues.
- You can free up IT resources to move away from process issues and focus on other aspects of the job.
- All in all, you can empower your people to focus on change and innovation, in order to make a larger impact on your company goals.
Where to start
If your company is interested in intelligent automation for a holistic digital transformation, we recommend you start with a digital process foundation.
With K2’s digital process automation platform, you can optimize processes enterprise-wide and gain visibility into workflows to find bottlenecks and roadblocks. DPA makes it easy to scale, integrating all your business systems so you can add RPA and artificial intelligence as the need arises.
For more information about K2’s digital process automation platform, or to learn about integrating RPA and AI, contact our team or request a demo today.