Authors: Sven Van Hoorebeeck & Isabelle Desmet
Intelligent automation (IA) is a relatively new concept, but it is actually a blend of 2 well known technologies, namely Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The combination of the 2 has a tremendous impact on the way organizations operate. Therefore, IA potentially will be the biggest wave of the digital transformation era – and it is happening right now. Let us deep dive on how IA can be a catalysator for change in operations and back-office functions of both small and large organisations.
The impact of IA on your way of working
Automating repetitive, time-consuming tasks frees up people’s time and often leads to cost advantages. Job loss is a consequence that pops into many people’s minds. But reality teaches us it is the content of the job that in fact changes. A job consists of many individual tasks, and IA will automate a subset of these tasks but will leave the more versatile, value adding tasks for the worker to complete. So, implementing IA in your company is an incentive to approach jobs, and the way on organisation functions, in a totally different way.
IA is able to automate interactions with different systems – using vision (e.g. OCR, ICR), language (e.g. NLP) or cognitive models (e.g. machine learning) technologies. The number of actions users need to make to retrieve and process information is minimized, therefore improving productivity. However, using these new technologies is not just about the traditional focus on cost savings and increasing efficiency. It also means you can keep more processes in house, so you have more direct control and security. Control can be gained thanks to the scalable nature of IA. Most organizations do not have a constant stream of business all year. During peak periods you could upscale and hire people, but the search and the onboarding takes time, and you want your operations remain efficient. This is where IA comes in as it provides instant access to extra 'manpower'. The market can also take a different turn and the volume of transactions can decrease. With IA you can scale back without having to let anybody go as you can tailor the running to your needs and ensure operational stability.
Wide range of value-creation possibilities
IA furthermore consolidates information as it is an end-to-end solution that captures and integrates different data types coming from different kinds of applications (images, audio, chatbot conversations, free text emails…). This makes it easier to process and analyse data and share information from process start to finish in a seamless and integrated way. Excel remains a powerful tool, but manually creating reports with tables and all sorts of formulas will not make you survive the current digital transformation wave.
Everyday work can either be automated or be performed faster as all necessary data to treat a case will be gathered in one place. With IA, employees can now take their time to treat unhappy flows or special cases. In other words, we notice an increased focus on true value-adding tasks. Customers with special requests now receive the attention they deserve. There is more time to pick up the phone and call an unsatisfied client instead of sending out a standardized message. You deliver more valuable and accurate information in a faster way to those concerned. Your organisation you will be known for having an enhanced, customer-friendly brand image.
Additionally, there is more time for professional development, ideation… making teams more dynamic. In place, this leads to increased happiness among employees and an improved morale. That is what we are all looking for, right?
Would you like to know more about intelligent automation? Or are you looking to implement intelligent automation in your company? Feel free to reach out to Isabelle Desmet or Sven Van Hoorebeeck for an open conversation!