Artsyl CSO/partner Jeff Moore has been a visionary and a driver for the application of robotic process automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence applied to back office process automation. As we enter 2019, Moore has seen the vision he shares with other process automation advocates come to life within companies of all sizes and industries, by applying these embracing these new innovative technologies through the use of Artyl’s docAlpha Intelligent Process Automation platform and Action Suite of applications.
With reality catching up to his vision, Moore spent the holiday season thinking back on 2018 and taking another step ahead to forecast some trends for intelligent process automation for 2019 and beyond.
The big themes that Moore sees emerging include: a continued shift from front office IPA to back office automation for document-burdened processes; greater practical knowledge and transparency within organizations about how IPA works; expansion of IPA use cases beyond high-volume, high-velocity back office applications to more complex, costly and potentially lower-volume use cases.
As AI evolves from a promise, a concept and a technology into a practical tool for solving business problems, companies will gain more practical knowledge about how it works and will demand more transparency about how it is working behind the scenes to deliver expected results. This evolution from technology to practical, real-world actionable information is a reflection of an overall evolution from IT and tech-dependent processes to those owned and managed by process owners and subject matter experts.
RPA was one of the hottest buzz words in tech for the past couple of years, largely because of its potential to free up resources that were overly burdened by routine, repeatable process that could be imitated and automated by a software bot in a way that didn’t require lots of IT overhead. But RPA without intelligence is limited, handling tasks that conform to the rules, while relying on human operators for intervention to handle the exceptions.
Nowhere is this more true than in the kinds of high-volume, document-dependent operations common to most organizations that represent a substantial investment in otherwise wasteful tasks to handle documents and other unstructured content to drive the kind of downstream process automation that everyone envisions.
To close that gap, companies are increasingly able to leverage machine learning when it comes to high-volume processes in a way that is flexible and adaptable. Moore envisions that 2019 is the year that companies embrace capabilities like those found in docAlpha to learn and adapt based on user input in process, so that the system’s knowledgebase grows and algorithms evolve to more effective capture data from documents, handle them appropriately and more intelligent handle exceptions and errors with less and less need for human intervention.
This is how companies will shift their attention from repeatable tasks within narrow parameters to a broader problem set where more intelligence and adaptability is required.
Initial hype around AI in the workplace focused on front office, customer-facing applications like chat bots. Where intelligent process automation really has an opportunity to scale and have both broad and deep business impact is in automating back-office operations in a way that is highly flexible and adaptable to business conditions. This is particularly true for manual workflows dependent on documents, digital forms and other unstructured or semi-structured content that drive business processes like accounts payable, accounts receivable and other finance-related processes.
As part of the shjft in focus from the front office to the back office, firms that already have embraced IPA for high volume transactional processes common to all organizations like AP invoice processing and customer sales order processing, will have achieved an ROI on the systems they’ve invested in, while gaining a level of competence and insight into the power of this kind of process automation.
With the right tools in place, some initial steps towards a cultural shift in embracing IPA and a potential laundry list of other process problems to solve, companies can start to automate other processes that otherwise lacked the volume or impact to be automated and streamlined in a way that recouped the investment in time, effort and technology.
This is where IPA REALLY begins to pay off in spades, because now a much wider range of process inefficiency and waste can be wiped away, freeing up even more time and giving process owners more time and more power to conduct analysis, forecasting, budgeting and more value-added tasks to drive business growth, customer satisfaction and cost savings.
To learn more about how your company can leverage intelligent process automation to lower costs, boost productivity and achieve greater process control, contact your Artsy account executive at firstname.lastname@example.org.