What is intelligent automation?
Does it use artificial intelligence?
And most importantly, how can I apply it at my organization?
For many business leaders, intelligent automation (IA) is an exciting initiative. It’s thrown around at big-picture, future-looking leadership summits.
“Intelligent automation is the future. It’s the next big thing,” they say. “You can’t compete without it.”
And they’re right. But, while it’s true that intelligent automation can be a game-changer, first your organization needs to understand what it is and how it can contribute to achieving your business objectives.
The fact is, intelligent automation is buzzworthy – and ready to effectively make a difference in essentially any industry, from banking and insurance to healthcare and back-office departments. But before we get to the “how,” let’s tackle the “what.”
Defining artificial intelligence vs. intelligent automation
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the foundational component of intelligent technology; it encompasses many important capabilities, from intelligent automation to the “intelligence” coded into machines and robots. That said, everything artificial intelligence “learns” is from the training data sets we expose it to.
Artificial intelligence is no longer the stuff of sci-fi movies. We’re already using it. From reading images faster in healthcare to predicting consumer behavior in financial services, AI is here.
Now we get to intelligent automation. Think of IA as a child of AI, an offshoot of the foundational technology.
Intelligent automation is based on some AI, but organizations typically deploy it narrowly, for situations like building robust workflows or using learning abilities to anticipate user and customer needs. So, while it is programmed with built-in logic, it also learns as it goes.
In fact, the more you use intelligent automation, the smarter it gets.
5 intelligent automation examples
Intelligent automation can be an important part of your business, but identifying where it can make the most impact is the first step.
For many organisations, leveraging IA starts with their content services platform, which provides a complete view of all the content an intelligent automation solution needs to deploy rapidly and effectively. In this environment, IA can deliver information, reduce costs, improve speed and accuracy and remove bottlenecks.
Let’s take a quick look at fives ways you can put IA to work.
1. Intelligent capture
Intelligent capture is the linchpin of intelligent automation. It not only captures data – even unstructured data like handwriting – but it also actually understands the data and classifies it.
An effective intelligent capture solution will:
- Classify, extract and validate incoming information
- Speed completion of processes
- Cut costs
- Reduce the risk of human error
- Allow for a truly “paperless” workplace
Use case: A US headquartered multinational implemented an Inpute Intelligent Capture solution to streamline their accounts payable (AP) process.
The solution has so far delivered 4,000 hours in resources savings, as well as process efficiencies and increased workflow speeds. In addition, the increased digitisation of invoice processing has helped the company transition to home working and streamline the processing of up to 250,000 multilingual invoices annually.
Want to learn more? Get the details here.
2. Process automation
Most companies have structured processes they can map on a flowchart, meaning they have predictable steps and outcomes. These are the processes you can easily optimize with intelligent automation to deliver meaningful value to the right people.
When done with the right solution, process automation will:
- Route documents for approval, both intelligently and based on rules
- Retrieve relevant contextual information automatically
- Automate rules-based tasks
- Send notifications of tasks and updates
- Intelligently balance workloads
Use case: The Office of the Revenue Commissioners processes large volumes of postal correspondence on a daily basis. As part of their Customer Service charter, Revenue is committed to optimising the turnaround time for this correspondence. PAYE workers are by far the Revenue’s largest customer base, and there is an ongoing commitment to improve service to these clients.
By automating this process with an Inpute solution Revenue case workers anywhere in the country can now access the correspondence from any client at the touch of a button, without the need to refer to a paper file. This creates a seamless work process, removing repitive manual work and mitigating the risk of inaccurate manual data entry.
3. Robotic process automation
Robotic process automation (RPA) is an essential element of a fully realized IA strategy. With RPA, “bots” become a part of your workforce – your digital workforce. By letting bots perform repetitive, high-volume data processes, you free your workforce for higher-value tasks.
A successful RPA solution will:
- Analyze processes down to the click-level quickly, accurately and intuitively
- Automatically document process steps
- Leverage low-code, drag-and-drop tools to quickly and easily build bots and create brand-new automations
- Run unattended or attended automations, ensuring maximum bot utilization and scalability
- Orchestrate your bots using a real-time dashboard for live monitoring and intuitive management
Use case: Administrative tasks are often the first that organizations identify as RPA candidates, but you can apply RPA to nearly any task that follows the same process each time. A leading financial service firm recently sought Inpute Technologies help in automating this long and tedious process. With the use of WorkStream RPA, Inpute were able to help them digitise and streamline their mailroom by automating the storage and routing of inbound mail.
4. Customer communication management
Customer communications management (CCM) is a quick and powerful way to improve both customer and employee experiences; after all, communication is a key to any great organization.
A high-powered CCM system will:
- Categorize, tag and summarize content for easier consumption
- Automatically create and distribute personalized correspondence and customized documentation
- Intelligently route communications to the right people at the right time, in the right format or interface
5. Automated retention and destruction of documents and records
Healthcare, HR, banking and insurance are industries that are increasingly benefiting from automated retention and destruction of
documents due to the extreme amount of records management they require to stay in compliance. If your organization stores information that may be personal, confidential and/or subject to regulations, you need a high-performing records management automation tool.
Look for the ability to:
- Automate all retention tasks including approvals, transfer to storage, legal holds, archival and deletion
- Provide defensible audit trails for the entire lifecycle of your records
- Apply aggregated, updated retention regulations and citations to all relevant documents
- Ensure data within documents stored anywhere in your system is in compliance
- Automate the destruction of documents per regulatory guidelines
Use case: A popular chain of convenient stores throughout the Midwest had an underperforming document retention system that made employee file management labor intensive and inefficient for its 21,000-plus employees.
To remedy the situation, after testing intelligent automation capabilities in its Accounts Payable department, the organization expanded to HR. The solution allowed the HR team to set document retention policies that ensured information was only kept as long as necessary, and with role-based security, the data was safer than ever.
The practical strategy of embracing IA
Intelligent automation and its various practical deployments is a much larger concept than just technological efficiency. It goes beyond dollars and cents, and even business objectives, to touch the very satisfaction of an organization’s employees and customers.
In truth, it is a strategy for improving the day-to-day lives – and subsequently, business outcomes – of the people you need to succeed. So, the next time your leadership team throws around big-picture, future-looking ideas of technological advancements in the name of innovation and growth, think of intelligent automation.
Intelligent automation is here now, and it’s only going to become more essential to the success of your business in the future – in part because our workforce is changing and fluctuating at a speed that must keep up with innovation, but also because it helps us leverage our employees beyond busy work.
This article originally appeared on Hyland.com. Inpute are proud to be a partner of Hyland.
If you’d like to discuss how Intelligent Automation can improve your organisation efficiencies get in touch today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.