In order for business leaders (and ultimately their teams) to meet the growing demands of maximum operational efficiency, organizations across the globe and in just about every industry have been turning to automation for decades. We have reached a time, however, in which basic automation is no longer sufficient. In response to this, enterprises are taking things a step further by utilizing the power of AI and cognitive technology through intelligent automation to address the increasingly complex challenges they’re facing.
The Next Generation of Automation
In its simplest form, machine learning is a technology through which machines (software robots, if you will) are capable of learning from data and applying what they’ve learned to either provide insight to key decision-makers or resolve problems independently. Rather than being programmed to follow a specified series of steps, intelligent bots can now complete tasks without the need for human intervention. The results have been impressive, particularly in terms of efficiency gains.
Logically speaking, automated tasks that are carried out by basic automation are fastest when they are repetitive. With non-intelligent automation bots, workflows that follow a set of predefined rules are most effective at producing effective results immediately. For instance, employees who waste hours a day manually copying and pasting data would realize instant value by moving that task to basic automation.
There are instances, however, when data is incomplete, requires multiple sources or needs to be enhanced in order to carry out a particular task. For example, resolving a single issue for a customer may require accessing half a dozen different systems and data sources. To bridge this gap, organizations need intelligent tools. AI-powered automation ties together siloed systems and provides independent resolution while reducing errors and ensuring compliance.
The key to this? Cognition. Leveraging automation tools that feature advanced cognitive abilities that are similar to humans, organizations can create a more unified infrastructure, improve business-related outcomes and dramatically accelerate and enhance customer service. In addition to basic automated tasks and workflows, companies can deploy virtual support agents to further automate processes, including those that require context and conversation.
What Should Be Automated?
To determine what to automate, decision-makers should begin by evaluating whether or not the tasks, workflows and processes could be improved or possibly even eliminated prior to introducing automation into the mix. Some things will be obvious – the mundane, repetitive and low-value busywork, such as data management or reporting. These things can (and should) be easily transitioned from human worker to automation robot.
Looking past these rote tasks, however, some work is currently considered to be more suited for humans. For instance, activities that require understanding of text, complex decision-making or matching of patterns. Additionally, tasks that rely on emotional intelligence and/or require interaction and collaboration with other human workers have previously been considered too difficult, if not impossible, to automate. That’s where intelligent cognitive automation technology has become a game-changer.
This type of advanced automation incorporates machine learning to facilitate decision-making, natural language processing for understanding and contextualizing written and verbal communications, and state-of-the-art predictive analytics and pattern matching to handle process exceptions.
Collaborative Process Optimization
Of course, even with all of these technological breakthroughs, humans are still required to choose, apply and manage automation – at least for the time being. One area where artificial intelligence and humans are already working in tandem is in the way of decision-making support. For instance, next generation tools like Ayehu combine cutting-edge automation and cognitive technologies to determine how processes are configured and/or currently operating. From there, automatic suggestions can be made to further improve workflows and optimize processes.
While many still worry about intelligent bots taking over human jobs, particularly due to the rapid evolution and development of artificial intelligence, a more accurate reality will be humans and intelligent bots working side by side to add value and collaboratively achieve optimal business outcomes.
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