How Much Intelligent Automation Do I Need?

How Much Intelligent Automation Do I Need?As the value of artificial intelligence continues to grow, many well-intentioned business leaders are rushing to incorporate AI into everything they can get their hands on. But is there such a thing as too much automation? The answer is yes. And it can actually have detrimental effects, including learning diminishment, complacency and even bias. The key is to strike a balance and let intelligent automation become a guide rather than a crutch.

The truth is, when we put too much trust in technology, our own skills can begin to suffer. Then, when something goes wrong, humans don’t know how to react. Today’s airplanes virtually fly themselves, yet pilots still invest hours upon hours simulating flights in order to keep their skills up to par. They know they must be ready and able to respond should something go wrong.

Likewise, there are actual psychological terms associated with how humans sometimes negatively respond to AI. For instance, automation complacency occurs when users cease paying attention to what’s going on due to over-reliance on technology. Automation bias is a phenomenon in which users believe technology, regardless of or despite the actual context. Neither of these situations are things you want happening in your organization.

Of course, this isn’t to say that companies should stay away from AI. To the contrary, as intelligent automation continues to evolve and improve, business leaders are making the wise decision to adopt such technologies to provide them with the competitive advantage they need to survive the next phase of the digital age. Simply put, automation is no longer an option, but a necessity. The goal, however, should be to create human-machine systems that, when designed properly, are greater than the sum of their parts.

A positive arrangement between human workers and intelligent automation should involve the following:

  • Shared goals
  • Complementary/compatible skillsets
  • Excellent communication
  • Cooperation
  • Useful feedback
  • Identification of leadership
  • Holistic viewpoint

Ultimately, the success of tomorrow will depend heavily on the ability for humans and robots to work together as teammates. Only then will you have achieved the perfect balance of intelligent automation and human ability.

Are you ready to experience the power of intelligent automation for yourself? Take Ayehu for a test drive today!

How intelligent automation will impact the employee and customer experience

How intelligent automation will impact the employee and customer experienceRecently, there’s been quite a buzz around intelligent automation somehow leading to the image of some dystopian world in which humans are slowly being forced out and replaced by technology. With the increasingly widespread adoption of everything from smart devices and drones to self-service kiosks and even cars that can drive themselves, many people are becoming equally uncomfortable with the idea of artificial intelligence – particularly as it relates to the workplace.

The fact is, automation isn’t going away. In fact, we’re seeing this technology that in its infancy was only capable of handling simple, repetitive tasks now infiltrating even high-level jobs that would once have been considered off-limits. For instance, rather than making an appointment with your financial advisor, you can now rely instead on software algorithms for investment guidance at a fraction of the cost. And with Gartner predicting that 1/3 of all jobs will be replaced by automation and smart machines by the year 2025, it’s only going to get more complicated.

So, then, it only stands to reason that people in every industry and at every level should not only be aware of what intelligent automation is, but how and when it will ultimately affect them in the end. In simplest of terms, this technology involves the automation of business processes that were once performed by humans. It can be applied to basic, rules-based activities, such as data entry or assembly work. Or, as mentioned in the above example, it can also be used to automate and streamline even high-level, complex tasks and workflows.

What does this mean to the human workforce? Will people have no choice but to sit back, wait and watch as robots take over their jobs and render them obsolete? Considering Gartner’s prediction, it’s obvious that some jobs will, indeed, be eliminated. How many? Well, there are plenty of estimations, but according to a recent Forrester report, we may be looking at the elimination of 9% of jobs in the US alone.

But that doesn’t mean that humans will cease to exist in the future workplace. To the contrary, many experts predict that the workplace of tomorrow will involve the peaceful coexistence of machine and personnel. In fact, Deloitte predicts that the adoption of intelligent automation will actually create some 3.5 million new jobs.

Finally, it’s important to remember that while most of us accept and even embrace automated technology in our day to day lives (think ATM machines, IVRs and other self-service options), there will always be a place for the human touch, especially in the area of customer experience. Intelligent automation can eliminate the day-to-day drudgery and free up front-line personnel to become better critical problem solvers and relationship builders. In reality, customer service will likely never be completely outsourced to robots. It can, should and will, however, be influenced, supported and enhanced by automation technology.

Curious about intelligent automation and how it works? Want to get ahead of the curve and be prepared for the future workplace? Why not try it for yourself today? Click here to launch your free product demo.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

How Intelligent Automation is Disrupting the Future of Work

How Intelligent Automation is Disrupting the Future of WorkWill a robot make your job obsolete? This is a question that is a very real concern to many individuals, and it’s valid to a certain degree. In fact, Gartner has already predicted that one in every three jobs will be shifted from human to machine by the year 2025. In reality the concept of intelligent automation and its ultimate impact on the workforce is nothing new. What’s changed and become more relevant, however, is the fact that this technology is no longer simply a threat to those working in an assembly line on a manufacturing floor. Now, robotic software is making its way into every office and every industry across the globe.

Over the past couple decades, intelligent automation has evolved from basic hardware robotics into the new age of complex, intuitive and smart technology that can be programmed to automate almost any activity, task or workflow. Let’s face it, automation is something most of us encounter several times a day, whether it’s transferring money between bank accounts at the ATM, choosing the self-checkout line at the grocery store or coming and going through an automatic door. It’s only logical that intelligent automation will also be disrupting the workplace. In fact, in many instances, it already is.

Given the combination of artificial intelligence becoming more sophisticated and capable of mimicking any number of rules-based tasks previously performed by humans, and the overall savings it can afford the enterprise, both in terms of time and money, it’s no surprise that companies of all shapes, sizes and industries have adopted intelligent automation to some degree. Many others are waiting in the wings, but it’s just a matter of time before they jump onboard as well. Like it or not,  this innovative technology is reshaping the way we do business.

So what does this mean for work in the not-so-distant future? More specifically, how will affect your job and your career moving forward? Will you be forced out of work and made obsolete as robots take over? Will corporations and enterprises phase out human workers altogether? The answer to that ultimately depends not just on what type of job you perform, but also how agile you are. What many refer to as the race against the machines is likely going to turn into a collaborative effort between the two, with humans and robots working together toward a common goal.

Will some human workers be displaced? Undoubtedly. Will they all? Highly unlikely. In reality, intelligent automation will be a positive thing for human workers, as it will eliminate much of the mundane, repetitive workload from their daily routines and allow them to focus on more intelligence-driven, engaging tasks and projects. Additionally, work will be completed faster, more securely and error-free with a workforce that’s available 24/7. Meanwhile companies can take advantage of knowledge workers and put their skills and experience to better use.

What’s driving the push toward more widespread adoption of intelligent automation, however, isn’t necessarily the businesses that are reaping the benefits. It’s actually society as a whole. As consumers continue to seek instant gratification, desiring to get whatever they want the moment they want it, the need to supply these requests on-demand continues to rise. Human workers simply can’t keep up. Furthermore, employing, training, managing and engaging this type of on-demand workforce is becoming increasingly challenging, if not insurmountable. Robots provide the ideal solution on both sides of the coin.

So where do humans come into play? Well, in the most basic of terms, someone will be needed to manage and maintain the software, applications and other automated functions. As intelligent becomes more of a mainstay, new roles will be developed and in demand, creating additional opportunities to those willing to learn, adapt and evolve alongside technology. In fact, Gartner predicts that as AI technology continues to evolve, it will actually create more jobs than it will eliminate.

Overall, the impact of robotics on the future of work will be much like that of the first era of automation – improved efficiency, increased productivity, enhanced flexibility and a much greater output of quality, error-free work. Those who embrace these changes will ultimately be the ones that come out prosperous and successful in the end.

Which side of history will you be on? Take Ayehu’s NG Automation and Orchestration tool for a test drive today to learn more.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

4 Business Processes that Are Ideal for Intelligent Automation

4 Business Processes that are Ideal for Intelligent AutomationWhile the concept of robotics is gathering speed and capturing the attention of more and more executives across multiple industries, there is still a huge barrier to overcome before it can become fully embraced. Many decision makers still feel that human capital is more valuable than automation, and in some cases, they’re correct. There are, however, a number of processes that not only could but should be handled by intelligent automation. Here are four such processes.

Processes that don’t require much human intervention. Think about the many manual, repetitive tasks that are performed, not just in IT, but across your entire organization on a day to day basis. Those mundane tasks that do not necessarily require a ton of input from your human workers, such as payroll batching and other accounting functions, are ideal for intelligent automation. Furthermore, with automation that is powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, even decision-heavy and complex workflows can be automated.

Processes that are prone to human error. Like it or not, people make mistakes. Even those employees who are well trained and possess years of experience can commit an error from time to time, and errors can cause major problems for your business. Look for processes that require a lot of repetitive work, which can often cause the human attention span to waiver. Then, let intelligent automation handle those tasks and you’ll automatically see a reduction in costly mistakes.

Processes that require multiple systems to work in sync. One of the biggest benefits of intelligent automation is its ability to tie together several systems and work with them, either simultaneously or in various intervals. Rather than have your personnel juggling multiple programs to get simple tasks done, let automation do it for them and free up your staff to focus on those tasks that do require human input.

Processes that have clear-cut, defined sets of rules. Software robots are capable of following well-defined rules, so any workflows that present specific, “If A, then B” rules would be perfect for intelligent automation. In fact, the right automation platform can also handle more complex and less straightforward rules, provided you have a robust, quality product in place.

Of course, this is just a general guideline. You know your business best, and may determine that additional tasks or workflows would also benefit from intelligent automation based on your particular needs. Additionally, as technology continues to improve, so will the capabilities of automation, which will further benefit businesses around the world.

Learn more about intelligent automation by taking Ayehu for a test drive today!

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The Role of Humans in Robotic Process Automation

The Role of Humans in Robotic Process AutomationWhile robotic process automation has been touted as the be all and end all of workplace optimization, in reality it’s not necessarily the magical quick-fix that many in business leadership envision it to be. It’s much more complex than that. Will it ultimately lead to greater efficiency and productivity levels? Definitely. Robotic process automation is certainly poised to dramatically change the way we work, but it’s not as though we’re going to be turning our jobs entirely over to machines. To be truly effective, RPA still requires a certain degree of human management.

Human input and oversight is critical for RPA to be successful. In a perfect world, it would be great to simply plug and play, putting the robots in place and just letting them do their thing. But that’s not what you’d do with human workers, right? Just like your employees, the robots you implement must first be told what to do. The tasks, workflows and processes they’re employed to do must be built and communicated, and that’s where humans come into play.

The good news is, with the right software solution, this is relatively straightforward (i.e. it doesn’t require any advanced coding or programming skills). Regardless, however, building and implementing a complex RPA process still time and attention. The most important step is determining what processes can and should be automated to achieve maximum efficiency, and this cannot be done without human input. It’s also equally important that the process be tested regularly, particularly during the building and implementation process, to ensure that it’s working properly. Again, this requires human intelligence.

Those who have already been successful at adopting and leveraging robotic process automation within their organization recommend establishing a dedicated team to oversee and manage the automation process. It shouldn’t be assumed or expected that IT will simply add RPA to its list of other functions. Those in charge of RPA should specifically be assigned the duties of managing and modifying workflows, allocating the appropriate number of robots to daily tasks, prioritizing work and, of course, dealing with exceptions as they arise. The latter part in particular demonstrates the important role of humans in ensuring that RPA runs as smoothly and effectively as possible.

Furthermore, just like their human counterparts, robots will require routine performance reviews. Obviously this won’t require tact and two-way interaction, but rather its purpose is to improve the automated processes whenever and wherever possible. Once up and running, the robotic process automation team will need to oversee processes at various intervals, fixing anything that goes awry and identifying areas of potential improvement. Additionally, human input is required to go through, analyze and leverage all of the data and documentation reported by the robots.

So, while the ultimate purpose of robotic process automation is to streamline operations, it’s not meant to replace human workers. In fact, at least as of the time of this writing, this wouldn’t even be possible. In reality, RPA is meant to enhance and improve the work environment for humans and only with their support, input and management can the true benefits of automation be realized.

Curious about how RPA works and whether it would be a good fit for your organization? Request a free product demo today.

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

Best practices for rolling out Robotic Process Automation

Best practices for rolling out Robotic Process AutomationAwhile back, we pointed out the many distinct benefits that robotic process automation has to offer businesses of every size and industry. But what about those first few steps? How can one develop an implementation strategy that will make rolling out RPA as smooth and stress-free as possible? If you’re preparing to adopt RPA for your organization, here are a few best practices to keep in mind.

Involve the Whole Team – Even if the RPA technology will be managed by a specific department, such as IT, that doesn’t mean the implementation process should be exclusive to that group. To the contrary, nobody will understand the very processes you’re trying to automate better than the end-user. Tap into this resource during the planning and implementation process to ensure that every necessary angle is covered.

Make it a Collaborative Effort – Expanding on our previous point, the implementation of robotic process automation shouldn’t be handled in silos, but rather as a collaborative effort amongst all of the teams and departments that will be directly affected by this new technology. During the planning stage, it might be helpful to hold focus groups and gather as much feedback as possible from different perspectives. As a bonus, this process can help you identify change champions who will further support the adoption of your automation initiative.

Develop a Core Team – When it comes time to focus on which tasks and workflows should be automated and what each step of the implementation process should be, it’s always good practice to have a dedicated automation team to lead the cause. Most likely, this group would be made up of individuals from within your organization, but it may involve some external consulting, depending on the size and scope of the project at hand.

Leverage Self-Service – The goal of robotic process automation is to maximize efficiency and productivity levels. Self-service automation is a great tool for achieving these goals. Not only does it save the end user time and aggravation, but it also frees up your IT help desk personnel to focus their efforts on more strategic and complex issues. Incorporate self-service into your RPA initiative as much as possible.

Drive and Measure Adoption – One thing is for sure, nobody likes change. Driving adoption of a new technology, such as RPA, can be incredibly challenging. That’s why developing a strong and strategic change management plan is critical. It’s also why identifying change champions is such an important step, since these individuals will lead the charge on your behalf.

As with anything else in the business world, preparation is the key to success when it comes to implementing robotic process automation. By planning ahead and keeping the above best practices in mind, your RPA initiative will be a much more positive and painless experience for everyone.

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

 

5 Ways Robotic Process Automation is Improving the Healthcare Industry

5 Ways Robotic Process Automation is Improving the Healthcare IndustryThese days, it seems everybody is buzzing about robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence and other so-called next generation technologies. One area where a number of these technologies are already helping to streamline process and improve operations is in healthcare. In particular, robotic process automation has enabled those in the healthcare field to shift a significant amount of manual, time-intensive and error-prone work from human to machine with incredible results.

To demonstrate how RPA can be applied in healthcare, let’s take a look at five real-world examples.

Administration – Much of the busy-work that healthcare industry workers get bogged down with, including training, data entry and accounting, can be transitioned to software robots. Not only does this save time, but it also eliminates the risk of human error, improving accuracy and client satisfaction levels.

Claims Administration – A good portion of daily time is spent handling claims, whether it’s inputting and processing, adjusting or dealing with appeals. Imagine how much more your team could accomplish if those routine, time consuming tasks were shifted to machine. This is one of the biggest areas where robotics process automation is revolutionizing the healthcare industry.

Membership Management – Another area where time is not optimized when performed manually is that of managing members. For instance, setting up accounts, verifying eligibility, processing enrollments, managing benefits, billing and customer service are all part of the daily drudgery. All of these functions can be automated.

Provider Management – On the flip side of things, providers must also be managed just like members are. Credentialing of new providers, data and network management and assisting with contract audits are necessary evils that can and should be transferred from human agents to robotic process automation.

Care Management – Last, but certainly not least, there are the important workflows involved in managing care, including coordinating that care, case and utilization management, population wellness and remote monitoring. Once again, RPA is ideal for centralizing and streamlining these workflows effortlessly.

The result of shifting these and other routine tasks from human agents to software robots is far more than just cost savings. More healthcare leaders are recognizing the value-added proposition that robotic process automation has to offer, including greater quality and innovation. When workers are no longer bogged down by their daily tasks, they are freed up to focus on more critical activities, like engaging in more meaningful customer interactions.

The most exciting part? Robotic process automation isn’t something that’s coming in the near future. It’s already here, and it’s already changing the face of healthcare as we know it. Don’t miss the boat! Schedule your free product demo and see our Next Generation automation platform, powered by AI, in action today.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

The Case for Robotic Process Automation in Financial Services

Without question, the financial services industry has experienced tremendous change over the past decade or so. Between ever-changing regulatory challenges to evolving technology to increased competition and more, staying afloat in this field certainly isn’t easy. Robotic process automation (RPA) is helping many institutions meet these challenges head on and emerge even more successful on the other side.

First, it’s important to clarify that despite its name, adopting RPA isn’t technically about unleashing an army of actual robots to perform the rote work of humans. In reality, robotic process automation involves software applications which are designed to handle everything from simple, routine tasks to complex workflows. Furthermore, RPA that incorporates artificial intelligence and machine learning has the capability of adapting and improving over time.

Simply put, RPA is revolutionizing the way that banks, lending institutions and insurers carry out their business practices. In fact, this technology is ideal for the financial services industry because of the staunch regulations and high volume of transactions being performed on a daily basis. From an accounting perspective, for instance, RPA can be applied to everything from recording journal entries to performing account reconciliation. RPA can even be used to manage invoices, audit expense reports and process payments.

The Case for Robotic Process Automation in Financial ServicesPerhaps the area where robotic process automation is most beneficial to financial institutions is in the way of regulatory compliance and risk management. Employing an intelligent automation platform, a financial firm can utilize advanced technology to automatically evaluate account openings and review disclosures to ensure that employees remain compliant at all times. Robotic software can run continuous reviews and reconciliations to identify anomalies and alert management of potential problems.

In terms of risk management, RPA can help spot and verify even the most subtle of changes in exposure as well as determine the cause for such movement. Automation can also be used to assess credit limits and identify the cause when those limits are breached. Intelligent RPA combined with AI and machine learning can take these things a step further by leveraging data to provide recommendations for which course of action should be taken in order to limit risk and remain compliant.

One of the reasons RPA is such a valuable tool in the financial industry is because it is capable of undertaking tasks at an incredibly high rate of speed while also performing those tasks uniformly and without error. This is why it’s widely accepted, both by financial firms as well as regulatory agencies. It is not, however, meant to replace human workers altogether. To the contrary, RPA is designed to augment the skills of human employees, making their jobs easier and freeing them up to focus on those tasks that cannot be automated.

And lastly, despite being in an industry that is perpetually dealing with change, the one thing that seems to always remain constant is the need to reduce operating costs while maximizing efficiency. Robotic process automation is fundamentally designed to help firms achieve these goals by enabling the standardization and centralization of a broad spectrum of business processes. At the same time, RPA increases controls and facilitates consistency in execution. And because automation eliminates much of the tedious, manual tasks, staff can apply their talent to more high-value and meaningful work, which means higher retention rate. In other words, everyone wins.

Given all of these value-added benefits, it’s no surprise that leading financial institutions are already leveraging the power of RPA to help streamline operations and provide competitive advantage. If you are in the financial industry and would like to see for yourself just how automation can improve your firm’s overall performance, we encourage you to take Ayehu for a test drive today.

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

Is Robotic Process Automation Really Taking Over Jobs?

Is Robotic Process Automation Really Taking Over Jobs?When robotic process automation first hit the market, some thought it was too far-fetched to ever become a reality. But as more and more organizations began recognizing the many benefits – from increased productivity and efficiency to lower costs and fewer errors – people started worrying, wondering whether this technology would spell the end of the human workforce as we knew it. Would robots really start taking over jobs? To answer that question, those asking it must look inward.

In reality, the impact RPA has on the workforce will depend largely on how humans themselves respond. When faced with the rising adoption of automation, workers will likely take one of two paths. The first group will continue to focus on the type of work they’ve always done, but do so more efficiently thanks to the assistance of digital labor. The second will take this as a golden opportunity to pursue their ambitions, increase education and broaden their skill sets, put their creativity and innovation to work and move on to more value-added tasks. In either case, the organization will benefit, as will most of the employees.

In particular, roles that have a primary focus on people, such as customer support and call center agents, have the potential to benefit greatly from robotic process automation. Instead of being bogged down by repetitive, menial tasks that can easily (and more quickly) be handled by software, agents will be freed up to tackle more complex issues requiring a human touch. Furthermore, the improved allocation of resources afforded by RPA will allow agents to prevent issues from occurring in the first place. This can dramatically improve both customer and employee satisfaction rating.

This concept can also be applied to the IT help desk. Rather than waiting until system problems arise and scrambling to fix them in a timely and effective manner, help desk agents can use the extra time robotic process automation provides them with to monitor and proactively address technical issues before they occur. Imagine how impressed the VP of Sales will be when he gets a call from IT letting him know his hard drive was about to fail, but it’s been taken care of.

In both of these scenarios, the human worker is enhancing their interactions with their colleagues and/or customers. And since robotic process automation is there to take on the routine, manual tasks, the human agents themselves are also able to improve.

The reality is, very few organizations are focusing on using robotic process automation to eliminate jobs. Instead, they are focused on automating tasks, which in turn will improve productivity, streamline how work is completed, eliminate errors and cut costs. In other words, companies implementing RPA are not doing so to replace human workers, but augment and make their lives easier. As a result, everyone benefits – from employees and management to clientele to the organization’s bottom line. It really is a win-win.

Still not completely sold on the idea of robotic process automation and the value this technology brings to businesses across all industries? Don’t take our word for it. Try it for yourself. Click here to download a free 30 day trial of Ayehu. Trust us – you won’t be disappointed!

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

Leveraging Robotic Process Automation to Help with Regulatory Compliance

Leveraging Robotic Process Automation to Help with Regulatory ComplianceThere are lot of resources out there that list the many benefits of robotic process automation (our blog included.) One of the least talked about, however, is compliance. When it is mentioned, it’s typically just that – a brief mention with little to no elaboration. The fact is, compliance is a very important topic for most organization and since RPA can make a significant impact, it’s worth delving into in greater detail. Let’s take a look.

What is regulatory compliance?

In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was put in place to establish and enforce new standards that govern the security, confidentiality and transmissibility of health care patient information. While these types of regulatory standards weren’t necessarily new, HIPAA thrust the topic of compliance into the limelight, making the public more aware.

There are, in fact, a number of other public and private compliance regulations that govern more than just health care. These include:

Sarbanes-Oxley Act – This act came about largely as a result of the Enron Corporation collapse. Signed in 2002, this act oversees the adequacy and scope of internal procedures and controls as they relate to financial reporting. All organizations, regardless of size, must comply with this act.

PCI-DSS – Established in 2004 by MasterCard Worldwide, Visa Inc., American Express, Discover Financial Services and JCB International, PCI-DSS is a set of standards that cover the operational and technical security standards of payment cards. These standards apply to all businesses worldwide that process, transmit and store payment card information.

Regulation SCI – These SEC regulations, established in 2014, are directed toward financial trading companies and cover the establishment and maintenance policies and procedures for the continuous operation of IT systems. They also regulate the flow of information and records between applications.

Regardless of which regulations your organization happens to fall under, the consistent factors across all compliance efforts include clear policies, enforcement of those policies, documentation of that enforcement and retention of that documentation.

The Role of Robotic Process Automation

As with all financial statements and even personal tax returns, the threat of government audits of regulatory compliance is ever present. When these audits occur, the speed and ease with which they are completed depends on the organization’s ability to successfully demonstrate its accordance with compliance regulations. This is typically done with the production of supporting documentation, such as log files.

Robotic process automation can provide tremendous support during such times as a compliance audit, particularly when it comes to producing network log files. Most RPA tools feature comprehensive documentation of all network activity and facilitate fast and easy retrieval of said documentation.

When you implement RPA at the enterprise level, you can design robotic log files and develop storage rules which conform to and integrate with other log files. This enables access to compliance and audit documentation and eliminates the hard file searches and subsequent data gaps that can occur with manual processes. Robotic process automation also ensures that enterprise leadership is provided with fully integrated, company-wide compliance reporting as needed.

When robotic process automation is applied to compliance reporting and management, not only will audits run much more smoothly, but company leaders will also be better able to anticipate and address compliance issues, proactively review compliance status and prepare in advance for effective responses to any audits that may arise.

For most organizations, compliance is a necessary evil. Thankfully, with the right tools – including robotic process automation – it doesn’t have to be a nightmare.

To experience RPA in action, simply launch your free 30 day trial of Ayehu today.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide