Replacement of Plain Old Telephones (POTs) by smartphones, fax machines by emails, pagers by text, in-store shopping by online shopping, and more are all examples of the inevitable impact of technology on our lives and the way we do business. It is becoming obvious that the new technologies should be embraced, not resisted.
The latest wave of these emerging technologies delivers Intelligent Automation (IA) solutions that play an important role in the implementation of a Digital Transformation strategy - a strategy that is embraced by businesses around the world in response to demands from today’s digitally-oriented customers; as well as the need for productivity and optimization in managing businesses in a highly competitive and global environment.
2 Most Essential Technologies that Power IA Solutions
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) are the most essential technologies powering AI solutions. AI and RPA are rapidly changing everything in our personal and business lives.
Many enterprises have repetitive tasks that are performed manually by their employees every day such as order processing, customer profile updates, claims processing, etc. As the volume of workloads increases, they are forced to add more manual labor, which may not be cost-justifiable. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can automate such repetitive tasks and empower companies to cost-effectively manage large or fluctuating workloads. RPA does not necessarily replace employees, but it can augment the work of each employee to be more productive in processing larger workloads.
Additionally, AI can empower RPAs to become Intelligent Process Automation (or IPA), analyzing and automating more complex tasks that require AI-based analysis of data to reach certain decisions.
RPA Solutions Provide a Variety of Options in Automating Processes
Attended, Unattended, Hybrid RPA
RPA can automate repetitive tasks either autonomously and without any human intervention (Unattended), with human interaction (Attended), or a combination (Hybrid).
Unattended RPA automates processes without human intervention. The workflow is created by a process manager and activated based on a schedule or the occurrence of an event. It usually runs on a server and in the background, independent of human involvement.
There are certain processes; however, that cannot be entirely automated, hence, Attended RPA can be used to automate certain segments of the process. Attended RPA interacts with humans at certain points of a process that need to be intervened by an employee. Attended RPA increases the productivity of employees and eliminates errors by automating certain portions of a workflow previously executed manually by employees.
Attended and Unattended RPA can work together as a hybrid to maximize the automation and productivity.
Rule-Based or AI-Powered Analytics-Based
RPA’s process automation can be rule-based for evaluation of structured data used in the workflow and when decisions can be made by applying rules to such structured data. For example, if the city of residence is placed in a structured field, rules can be applied to evaluate the city in a known field and make decisions. Analytics-based RPA is powered by AI-driven analytics and is an Intelligent Process Automation (IPA). It has the ability to analyze unstructured data and discover actionable knowledge, intent, categories, named entities, or sentiment in order to make decisions.
Pre-Packaged or Customized Process Automation
Pre-packaged RPA offers a plug-and-play solution for a pre-defined process automation. An example of a pre-packaged process automation is Automated and Adaptive Intelligent Real-Time Routing to intelligently automate the routing of customer services calls to the most-optimized point of service. Another example is a Desktop Transaction Automation, which is an Attended RPA, that runs on an employee’s desktop and interacts with the employee to optimize his or her performance. Pre-Packaged RPAs do not allow changes to the workflow by users.
Customized RPA, on the other hand, provides users with a no-code platform to map, create and customize the workflow of their processes using drag-and-drop desktop tools without any need for software engineers. Custom workflows can be tested or placed in production, in which case, the workflow can be activated based on user-defined schedules or triggered by an event. No-Code Platforms have become popular due to their capability in customizing a variety of processes rapidly and without generating software codes.