The influence of intelligent automation in our personal lives as consumers and at work as producers continues to grow in ways that are both subtle and profound. Today, we take many of these innovations for granted, as 24x7 real time interaction has become the status quo when it comes to how we purchase goods, gather information and create relationships. In most cases, the software or ‘machine’ component to those transactions and interactions are virtually invisible.
New innovations like AI and machine learning take that invisible assist to boost performance, efficiency and responsiveness to a whole new level—one that sometimes can seem scary, overwhelming or difficult to conceive. That’s one of the challenges that come with overly-hyped new innovations: making them tangible, practical and actionable.
So, while intelligent process automation (RPA), machine learning and AI continue to grab headlines and make for compelling call-outs at trade events, many business decision makers are still struggling to make sense of it all and sort the hype from the reality.
At Artsy, we’ve made it our mission to sort the hype from the reality. It’s part of our broader strategy for helping our partners and customers to make the complex simple. We apply technologies and techniques to automating common business processes in ways that maximize flexibility, scalability and simplicity, creating practical solutions that take the pain out of day-to-day operations.
In that context, we look to intelligent automation, machine learning and AI to help achieve the same kinds of things many companies have achieved WITHOUT those technologies—specifically, the minimization of dull, non-value-add tasks like keying data into an ERP or ECM system, manually sorting through emails to save and upload attached documents or batch scanning paper files.
So what’s so exciting and different about a world where software can learn how to do these tasks? Why all the hype about intelligent processes?
The answer lies in HOW automation is implemented and delivered today. In a nutshell, it takes far less time and effort from IT staff and developers to implement these systems. And once they are in place, process owners have far more control and independence, with far less ongoing IT maintenance and support required.
Here are a few examples of why this matters
Intelligent process automation introduces all sorts of opportunities for cost savings and innovation beyond the use cases we’ve come to expect because it defines the equation for ROI when is comes to process automation. In the past, using less flexible and less intelligent techniques, only high volume, very routine tasks could be automated in a way that made business sense—meaning that the solution has traditionally been to hire people to do low-skill, low pay work rather than automate many manual tasks. Now, with process intelligence, there is an opportunity to scale down to those lower volume tasks that introduce inefficiency and error and eliminate some very dull work for our employees.
Very rote, routine tasks of a relatively lower volume became fair game thanks to ‘dumber’ but flexible and easy to implement automation like robotic process automation (RPA). RPA is essentially “macros on steroids.” Which is to say that you can use RPA technology and techniques to record a human operator’s mouse and keyboard actions, then automate and repeat those steps. There are LOTS of ways to achieve the same results without RPA—but RPA makes it easy, without the need for an engineer or IT person to write a bunch of complex code.
That’s great for dead simple tasks where there isn’t a lot of variance or exceptions to the rules. But once you introduce a bunch of variables and things get too complicated, RPA runs against some limitations. And that’s where we need to add some intelligence to the equation. So, rather than having to record more steps, insert some triggers or logic to address multiple scenarios or sequences, intelligent process automation introduces another new approach—the ability to learn and adapt based on recordings of human interactions when an exception occurs.
Adding process intelligence does NOT mean replacing human intelligence when it comes to managing a business process. Instead, it means implementing a system that doesn’t rely on hard-coded or configured rule sets that have to be manually updated every time an exception occurs. Machine learning is the name used to describe this kind of self-learning and adaptable technology. That doesn’t mean that there is an all-knowing AI at work behind the scenes. It simply means that, with machine leaning, your “dumb” bot can now change its behavior just by inserting a new, recorded set of actions into its algorithm without the need for any coding.
IPA basically combines machine learning techniques with RPA’s low code/no code automation approach, so you get a system that is simple and cost effective, but also flexible and adaptable in ways that old school automation was not. One of the big benefits is that you can get a system up and running more quickly and it doesn’t have to be perfect out of the gate. You may still have some corner cases and process exceptions to address manually when you get started, but that the system can learn from human user intervention and adopt new steps into its algorithm along the way.
In practical terms, that means you can take a platform like docAlpha from Artsyl and get up and running to tackle 80% of your use cases out of the box. Then you can continually refine and improve along the way to get closer to 100%. Human operators do more hand-holding up front, but as the system adapts and evolves, your process owners become more hands-off and simultaneously increase their confidence in the system.
Automation of complex processes like document handling and data entry using intelligent process automation delivers all kinds of benefits beyond cost savings and process efficiency, too. Companies get more timely access to the data they need to apply to business rules for approval routing and coding. They get better visibility to financial KPIs like G/L accruals, and have better control over cash flow.
Getting from “the way things have always been done” to a future where things are done in the mosrt efficient way possible is achievable quickly and cost-effectively.
You can learn more by checking out the Artsyl Resources page on our Web site, then request a discovery/demo call with an Artsyl solution representative to dig into the details.