Intelligent Automation: The Complete Guide To Digital Transformation

Automate
December 16, 2019
8
min to read
Ryan Douglas

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Today’s business environment demands that organizations reduce costs while still addressing the needs and expectations of tech-savvy clients. Intelligent automation (IA) is an ideal way to accomplish these goals. Not only does this cutting-edge technology boost business output and improve overall quality, but it also better utilizes existing company talent. Organizations that embrace intelligent automation can provide superior customer experiences and streamline operations for maximum efficiency. 

This article will describe what intelligent automation is and the various components that are part of it. We’ll also discuss the benefits of IA and provide use case examples of how and when it can be used. Wrapping things up, we’ll summarize where IA technology is heading and how organizations can take advantage of this game-changing opportunity.

 

What is Intelligent Automation?

intelligent automation

Intelligent automation is one piece of the puzzle known as digital transformation and functions in much the same way as you might imagine. Commonly referred to as IA, intelligent automation leverages the power of people and machines working together to improve business output. Although the term denotes a single platform or system, IA is, in fact, many different individual processes combined under one roof. 

At its core, IA is based on Business Process Management (BPM) - a long-standing method to synchronize users, systems, and data in the most efficient way possible. And while the concept of BPM has been around for decades, intelligent automation takes the process one step further by harnessing technology to do much of the legwork of everyday business operations. 

While utilizing BPM could be as simple as revising a manual task to improve inefficiency, IA is rooted in technology. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is used to streamline operations and provide robust analytics and basic decision-making and data processing capabilities.  

One of the key attributes of intelligent automation is the way that it can combine disparate systems across an organization into a single, cohesive unit. By using various platform integrations, data flows effortlessly throughout each system which reduces the need for human intervention or oversight. 

Intelligent automation is a more advanced form of what’s commonly known as Robotic Process Automation (or RPA). This software code can “mimic” human behavior by capturing on-screen activities as data is being processed. We’ll discuss RPA more in a moment but first, let’s talk about why using intelligent automation is so important.

  

What Are the Benefits of Using Intelligent Automation?

As we mentioned, intelligent automation is a unique tool in your digital transformation arsenal. IA is designed to boost productivity, enhance operations, reduce errors, and make better use of existing company talent. All of which combine to improve customer experiences and increase brand stability. 

Another advantage of implementing IA is how it greatly reduces labor shortages and provides improved company deliverables. Intelligent automation helps organizations eliminate repetitive, redundant tasks that often weigh employees down. 

Not only does this produce significant cost and time savings but it also allows employees within these organizations to do more meaningful work. Once these repetitive tasks are taken off their plate, workers have more time to focus on strategic decisions, developing new strategies, and making improvements to existing business processes.

Intelligent process automation’s high-tech, low-touch technology can be integrated into everyday business processes to create higher efficiency, boost productivity, and make better use of company resources.

IA improves customer experiences by providing faster response times and is ideal for large-scale, repetitive tasks that interface with multiple in-house systems. 

What Services Does Intelligent Automation Include?

artificial intelligence and automation

Intelligent automation is an umbrella that covers many different types of transformation technologies. As previously mentioned, IA’s foundation is built upon business process management (BPM) - the methodology used to coordinate people, systems, and the data that flows in between. Another key component of this productivity chain is RPA - Robotic Process Automation.  RPA is a type of software code which can reduce manual labor by completing repetitive tasks with little or no user intervention. 

However, the driving force behind IA is the use of Artificial Intelligence - the rapidly evolving science of bringing human intelligence into decision-making for machine environments. When properly configured, artificial intelligence allows systems to “think” and incorporate logical reasoning in much the same way a human being would.  

A perfect match for tasks like understanding patterns found over multiple interactions, making simple decisions using rudimentary intelligence, and compiling analytics data to predict future requests. All of which work together to provide a better customer (and employee) experience.

Intelligent automation also includes other groundbreaking technologies such as machine learning, language processing, and visual recognition capabilities as well. These forms of business intelligence can help streamline existing operations and allow for a more comprehensive decision-making process.

What Are Some Examples of Intelligent Automation? 

Intelligent automation works best in systems already employing BPM and wanting to reduce manual process bottlenecks by adding RPA. These organizations also want to include hybrid decision-making capabilities by allowing machines to tackle problems without requiring human intervention.

A well-designed automated intelligence program can become a model of self-sufficiency. Implementing these technologies requires very little user training, removes the hurdle of distracted employees, and can easily catch mistakes that humans frequently overlook. 

IA’s programming codes are based upon established company rules and guidelines. Thus, these machines work methodically through assigned tasks double-checking each element as they go. While most processes run seamlessly, the software has the ability to automatically alert employees should human intervention be required.

Insurance Process Automation

Insurance Process Automation

For insurance companies, Intelligent Automation is helping to process new applications and claims in a fraction of the usual time. But it’s not just about being faster - automation is designed to make business output better. 

Manual data entry and manipulation are assignments that are notorious for mistakes. No matter how skilled the employee, humans simply get tired sometimes, have bad days, or experience lapses in judgment. In industries where accuracy and compliance are key, these kinds of mistakes can lead to disaster.  

Because intelligent automation removes the possibility of human error, system outputs are more comprehensive and extremely reliable. This type of auto-verification minimizes operational risk and all but alleviates time-consuming manual verification processes. 

The result - data integrity is maintained, and existing company talent is free to work on higher-value ROI projects.

Sales Process Automation

Sales Process Automation

IA technologies are also changing how organizations manage sales operations as well. Automation is a natural fit wherever large amounts of data must be processed, files moved, or customer records updated. Once properly configured, these database changes happen automatically without requiring user intervention. 

This streamlined method of data processing can expedite transactions and create better response times for customer inquiries. 

A great example of using IA is creating digital feedback loops for customer interactions. Think of the many chatbots we encounter online for e-commerce transactions. They’re usually one of the first things we see on websites and often guide us through our encounter from start to finish.

Human Resources Automation

Human Resources Automation

Intelligent automation also has a tremendous use case in human resources and recruiting operations. This form of automated intelligence helps candidates and recruiters get the assistance they need whenever it is convenient for them. By using the analytics data gathered from each conversation, brands can improve their offerings as time goes on. User feedback from questions allows IA to “learn” how to improve and provide more value for future interactions.

It doesn’t matter if that feedback is positive - or negative - IA can use it to make better decisions moving forward. As the sample size continues to grow, the customer experience will only get better.

Is Intelligent Automation Easy to Implement?

Companies looking to invest in IA often wonder what it takes to get started. Fortunately, intelligent automation requires minimal infrastructure investment as most services reside within the presentation layer. This means that IA solutions can sit on top of existing processes and be implemented rapidly without requiring extensive training or major infrastructure changes. 

In most cases, automation solutions are cloud-based SaaS products that require little (if any) in-house support. Moving these solutions to cloud formats also improves redundancy and eliminates the need for software licenses or updates on local devices. 

What Is RPA?

robotic process automation


Although we’ve mentioned RPA (Robotic Process Automation) already, it is a core element of IA and warrants its own discussion. RPA is a software code that's used to mimic the behaviors of users through their connected screens and web pages. 

Once a user shows the software robot how to perform a task, the “bot” memorizes the series of steps it took to get there. These robots then replicate these same actions on future data and save employees from having to do all the work themselves. 

RPA technology can find, evaluate, and input data into systems based on existing business rules. There’s no “thinking” involved as bots work off of clearly defined if/then workflows so inputs and outputs are highly predictable. Only information that is valid (and properly formatted) will be accepted for use. 

Otherwise, errors are thrown, and responsible employees notified. 

Robotic Process Automation is ideal for labor-intensive, repetitive tasks with predictable data formats and processes that rarely change

RPA takes manual, repetitive tasks off workers’ plates and automates them quickly and easily. No longer bound by mundane work, employees are free to focus on complex assignments that require thought, concentration, or a personal touch. The type of assignments that employers value and want out of their workers in the first place.

A simple example of RPA is copying and pasting account information from one system to another. Such as moving sales intake data to company CRMs or establishing new accounts in customer databases.

Performed manually, this type of work could take hours. But with RPA, each interaction happens in a fraction of the time. As long as the software bots know where data is coming from and going to, they can process transactions indefinitely. And without the need for taking breaks or facing distractions like their human counterparts.

Another bonus is that RPA is incredibly easy to scale. As your organization grows, adding more bots to the equation helps your business to follow suit. This type of flexibility accommodates workload fluctuations without the need to hire or train new staff. 

Once RPA processes are in place, adding more output capacity is like flipping a switch.

 

What’s the Difference Between RPA and Intelligent Automation?

As amazing as RPA technology is, its main weakness is the inability to make decisions. RPA does exactly what it is programmed to do - no more, no less.  If RPA encounters unstructured (or incomplete) data, output results can be unpredictable.  

By contrast, intelligent automation addresses RPA’s faults by including cognitive abilities. Machine intelligence can handle unstructured data and make limited decisions on its own. By analyzing current business rules and evaluating past results, IA can logically decipher what should happen next. 

The “unstructured data” we’re talking about here may include text, images, or other types of file submissions which make up a huge part of business information processing. By using a combination of document-based workflows and artificial intelligence, IA can extract pertinent data from most text and submitted images. 

Intelligent automation is the bridge between RPA and intelligent processing

Intelligent automation supplements rules-based RPA with additional decision-making capabilities. It takes the unstructured data that dominates the modern business landscape and transforms it into usable input for RPA processing. IA also takes the resulting output of these processes and transforms them into shareable formats for use with additional workflow systems. 

What is the Future of Intelligent Automation?

Contrary to popular belief, intelligent automation is NOT intended to replace humans. There is no foreseeable substitute for human intelligence whenever judgment, discretion, or critical thinking is required. It’s just the opposite. 

Intelligent automation technologies are designed to empower knowledge workers by freeing them from many of the common, repetitive tasks that are part of their daily life. By loosening the grip of busywork, employees can focus on higher-value assignments they actually enjoy doing and provide increased value for the organization. 

The most powerful method of using IA is combining robotic efficiency to improve operations while leveraging human judgment to oversee critical business decisions

By offloading low-value tasks, employees have the bandwidth to tackle important projects that often get pushed aside. They also have additional time to interact with customers and build meaningful relationships that promote long-term growth.

Merging automation, artificial, and human intelligence together creates better results. The best attributes of each allow organizations to boost efficiency, improve operations, and provide a better overall customer (and employee) experience. 

How Do You Get Started with Intelligent Automation? 

Intelligent automation technology is indeed powerful, but we’ve only scratched the surface of what it can do. As IA continues to mature, it will incite major transformational changes in regard to how organizations do business. 

This powerful suite of automation tools will save time, reduce costs, and provide for more appropriate use of human capital. Intelligent automation will also generate valuable analytics data to provide insight into how companies can improve operations and better utilize existing resources. 

Simply put:

IA merges the key elements of RPA and artificial Intelligence to automate business processes while including decision-making capabilities

If you’re looking to add intelligent automation to your company, working with an experienced provider makes all the difference. Invisible Technologies is a leader in business automation and providing services in BPM, RPA, and intelligent automation. 

Our digital assembly line strikes the perfect balance of people and machines to deliver high-quality outsourcing services in record time. Our global workforce of vetted professionals and automation technologies can tackle most any sales, recruiting & HR, or business operations tasks with ease. 

Cloud-based services mean there’s nothing to install or maintain and enterprise-grade security keeps your data secure. There are no long-term contracts to sign and you can change your plan at any time. We offer some of the lowest pricing in the industry along with unparalleled service and support.

Whether you are looking to reduce workloads, increase output, or ensure compliance intelligent automation can help. There’s never been a better time to take advantage of the new digital workforce and Invisible is your trusted partner to make it happen.  

Get started by creating a free account, and someone on our dedicated accounts team will get in touch with you. 

Work smart, move fast, and focus on what matters most - with Invisible.

Ryan Douglas

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