Significant cost-cutting measures across departments and forced worker absenteeism is tending to slow down processes, business outcomes, and overall productivity. The positive aspect of the enforced quarantine measures and worker restrictions is that businesses are now beginning to allot a considerable chunk of their shrinking IT budget towards investments in AI and Machine Learning.
As remote working quickly becomes the new normal, especially for the technology sector, many enterprises are convinced by the short-term and long-term benefits of diverting resources and capital expenditure towards AI and cloud based business communication, work management, and collaboration platforms. The idea is to do more with less: limited manpower, restrained workplaces, and cost constraints.
The global economy stands to gain $15 trillion by 2030 through investments in AI alone (Sizing the Prize, PwC’s Global Artificial Intelligence Study). It’s no wonder that organizations are increasingly focused on conducting AI training programs for employees while educational institutions are offering various AI based learning models as part of their coursework.
AI coupled with RPA has the effect of emulating human actions to get work done. An RPA bot programmed to perform basic repetitive tasks based on preconfigured algorithms and actions, is now powered by AI and Machine Learning— on encountering a new, unfamiliar task, the bot learns the actions of a human operator, who intervenes to perform that task the first time. AI and Machine Learning help the bot self-learn from human actions and perform all subsequent tasks autonomously, greatly reducing the need for any human monitoring.
This is what companies need the most in these uncertain times when human engagement, as we know it, is restricted.
A combination of these transformative technologies with RPA, known as Intelligent Process Automation (IPA), has the power to conduct business operations even with limited manpower and financial resources. Intelligent Process Automation, in fact, increases the level of commitment and communication between employees, vendors, and customers, with higher than average cost savings, operational efficiencies, and productivity.
A simple Intelligent Process Automation solution for a typical end-to-end process such as procure-to-pay has the effect of introducing optimization techniques to reduce the overall operational spend. Vendor invoicing is a major step along the procure-to-pay chain and if not done correctly, could cost companies in the thousands in over-payments or revisions. Done correctly, this finance function could change from being a mere cost center to a major strategic tool for optimal cash flows. What are the optimization metrics you can track with vendor invoicing?
This is just one example of what IPA can do for businesses. The opportunities for process improvement with Intelligent Automation along any end-to-end operation, especially the data-&-labor-intensive repetitive functions, are countless.
Organizations have found particular success with process automation in finance functions such as accounts payable, vendor invoicing, sales order processing, and expense management. Intelligent Automation greatly reduces the dependency on manpower.
Automating core functions within an organization will reduce the burden on management during crunch situations and labor shortages. The general administrative efficiency alone could save companies millions while also increasing the amount of work done without needing additional personnel. These are the short-term gains, necessary in these uncertain times.
The agility brought about by Intelligent Process Automation allows companies to dynamically and efficiently adapt to changing socio-economic and market conditions. And if you think about the long-term benefits of intelligent automation, companies will ideally be setting the stage for best-in-class operations with end-to-end visibility, audit trail, and actionable buyer insights gathered from transactional and customer data.
Data is the fuel that drives Machine Learning and pattern recognition. Apart from connecting buyers and sellers on a common platform, results from intelligent automation of end-to-end processes offer ‘post-processing data’ that can be plotted to find ready answers on how well a business is doing and map the long-term performance traits and corrective actions for a company. The benefits of AI are aplenty, and the time to invest in cognitive technologies is now.