Better, faster, cheaper—in a world of on-demand digital convenience, we want it all. And so do our customers.
Intelligent process automation (IPA)—a combination of low code, process owner-friendly automation and adaptable machine learning technology—is making better, faster, cheaper more practical than ever before. Applied to routine tasks typically executed by a human user behind a keyboard with a mouse in hand, IPA is reducing the waste, inefficiency and repetitive stress injuries (both physical and mental) associated with dull, routine high-volume work. Tasks like re-keying information from a print or digital document, filing digital documents or routing them for approval, are all handled effectively by intelligent process automation applications.
Unlike their less intelligent and less flexible old school, rules-driven automated solutions, IPA doesn’t depend on an IT person or developer to make changes to its workflow rules to adapt to exceptions. Designed to function more effectively in the real world, where ‘stuff happens,” IPA applications take input from a human process owner who takes over the mouse and keyboard to show intelligent bots how to perform tasks outside their rule set.
An example might be an invoice with an incorrectly entered invoice number or vendor ID. IPA systems can look up this information automatically within ERP or document management system databases. But what if it can’t find what it’s looking for and gets stuck?
A human operator has to make a decision that falls outside the rules. But, by applying machine learning to this kind of problem, an IPA application can monitor and record the mouse clicks and keystrokes of a human operator. By applying pattern recognition, it can learn from those recording actions, then modify its algorithm. So, the next time it encounters the same problem, it can find the right information and make corrections or modify workflows accordingly.
In other words, rather the requiring an engineer or IT professional to recode or reconfigure a workflow, IPA applications rely on the process owner and does its own reprogramming. It can do so over and over again, essentially learning on the fly.
In this way, IPA solutions for processes like vendor invoice or sales order handling can be implemented out of the box to handle upwards of 80% of use cases, then adapt to real world conditions on the fly.
Process owners can automate more quickly and get results. IT isn’t buried in change orders. Customers and/or vendors get their needs met more efficiently. Everyone wins.
There’s just one problem left: WHICH process problem to tackle first. And the most likely answer is, It depends.
Taking AIIM at IPA If we look at industry surveys, like those from AIIM, we can see what process owners tell us about their pains. Recent AIIM surveys bear out some common themes. Accounts payable and records management continue to be hot spots for process automation.
But they’re the tip of the iceberg. Accounts receivable, contract management, employee or vendor on-boarding, job applicant tracking, and customer on-boarding are all processes with multiple decision points, lots of documents and data and lots of pains to solve.
IPA Platforms, like Artsyl’s transformation platform and ActionSuite IPA applications are designed to make it easy for customers to simply take their pick. They integrate with back end business systems, feeding them data that they extract from unstructured print and digital business documents—automatically, with minimal human intervention.
Automating those tasks alone boosts the efficiency and accuracy of any process. Doing so in a way that is scalable, flexible and mostly independent from IT means that the cuffs are off when it comes to eliminating process bottlenecks.
Using AP and vendor invoices as an example, process owners can rely on IPA to eliminate manual invoice/order matching, approval routing, general ledger coding, data entry and document handling. Data and insights gathered from this process flows efficiently to executives, giving them greater visibility to critical business KPIs, including cash flow. For vendors, it can mean more timely payments or at least greater visibility into the payment process, promoting better business relationships.
As industry surveys continue to suggest, AP vendor invoices or sales order automation may be a great place to start. It depends on where your organization is feeling the most pain and has the greatest opportunity to reduce costs and improve business performance.
Most companies tend to start there, with the lowest hanging fruit. The great thing about IPA platforms and their adaptability, is that one adventure in automation can lead to another, with new insights, best practices and opportunities for improvement leading to another.
To explore how intelligent process automation can help accelerate operations and boost performance for your organization, contact your Artsyl Technologies representative.