What is intelligent automation?
Intelligent automation is the evolution of robotic process automation. At its core, intelligent automation is the intersection of digitization, RPA and artificial intelligence (AI). Where RPA addresses manual, structured and repetitive tasks that a bot can mimic and automate, intelligent automation introduces reason and cognition to digitize and structure inputs. As a result, intelligent automation can make judgement-based decisions without human intervention.
Before a company can capitalize on intelligent automation, it must first digitize its paper-based data because AI relies on large volumes of data to learn and be most effective. When a part of a process is paper-based rather than digital, the capacity for AI intervention in that process is limited.
5 benefits of intelligent automation
The example above shows how intelligent automation can automate an entire business area. In the past, only a single process would be within the scope of robotic process automation.
With increased scope comes the opportunity to realize new benefits from your automation, including:
1. Fraud prevention: Intelligent automation can be leveraged in fraud prevention due to the use of key AI tools, such as machine learning. Machine learning uses extensive data to autonomously learn patterns, predict outcomes, and act without being explicitly programmed with specific tasks. With large amounts of user data, intelligent automation can:
- Efficiently perform analytics and calculate risk in real-time,
- Monitor for suspicious payments,
- Verify transactions with greater accuracy than a human would be able to, and
- Notify account holders of suspicious activity in order to stop fraud in its tracks
Leveraging intelligent automation for fraud prevention will increase trust and overall reputation with customers, ensuring everybody from the company to the user wins.
2. Improved customer service: Chatbots or conversational AI are prime examples of how intelligent automation can improve the customer experience. Even the most basic chatbots can handle thousands of customer inquiries, reducing call-center wait times and increasing customer satisfaction.
- The AI leveraged in this form of intelligent automation is natural language processing (NLP). NLP uses statistics and learning algorithms to analyze textual information to understand the meaning, sentiment, and intent. For example, in the customer service context, a customer can raise a support ticket with a chatbot in the form of free text. This text is then processed with NLP to determine the level of urgency in the request and the sentiment (e.g. frustration). Then, the interaction is managed according to severity and priority.
3. Improved process efficiency: Intelligent automation can dramatically reduce process handling times, significantly improving process speed and customer satisfaction. Intelligent automation also generates useful data which can be input into a business intelligence software for enhanced process analytics and management information to pinpoint areas of improvement.
- Intelligent automation solutions incorporate machine learning algorithms to gather, organize, track, analyze, report, and store valuable data. This data can then be used to improve existing operations, address and correct issues in a timely manner, accurately forecast needs, and develop best practices, all ensuring greater process efficiency.
4. Improved quality: Intelligent automation reduces the risk of transactional errors, including erroneous data inputs, mistakes in rule application and missed steps, to improve overall data accuracy and data-driven decision making.
5. Expanded scope: The combination of digitization, RPA and AI significantly increases the number of processes that are in scope for automation. These technologies enable an organization to automate more of an end-to-end process, sometimes even the entirety of a process.
Savvy organizations are already leveraging intelligent automation in its varied forms to gain a competitive advantage. Intelligent automation enables easier access to relevant data, more informed decision-making, and the streamlining of processes. The result is improved customer service, higher efficiency, fewer errors and instances of fraud, and an expanded scope for automation initiatives.