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How Intelligent Process Automation is Revolutionizing the Financial Field

How Intelligent Process Automation is Revolutionizing the Financial FieldJust as robots have been performing routine, repetitive tasks on the floors of factories for decades, that same concept is now being applied to the financial industry with tremendous results. Intelligent process automation (IPA), powered by AI and machine learning technologies, promises to revolutionize how financial organizations operate, maximizing efficiency, cutting costs and ensuring optimal service levels.

This advanced technology has the potential to transform just about every area of the finance function. In particular, IPA will enable finance professionals to make the critical shift from transactional to strategic.

When rote, manual tasks are automated, skilled finance experts will spend less of their time running reports and performing provisional data analyses. Instead, they will be able to quickly and easily gather and analyze the essential data they need to enhance performance and deliver better support. No longer bogged down with busy-work, these experts will have the time to engage with other lines of business and deliver the forward-thinking guidance that leadership needs to pursue new opportunities.

Let’s take a look at a few real-life examples of how intelligent process automation can be applied in financial institutions.

Account Reconciliations

A good portion of today’s accounting teams spend far too much time performing manual reconciliations across a variety of systems. At the enterprise level, this can involve thousands or tens of thousands of individual transactions across multiple systems, both internal and external.

In reality, many of the mismatches found in reconciliations actually follow similar patterns. For instance, an entry was made twice in error or someone accidentally keyed in a negative sign instead of a positive. Intelligent process automation is capable of not only recognizing these patterns, but also identifying the issue at hand and correcting it. In many cases, this can be done without the need for any human input.

Some estimates indicate that up to 80% of these simple reconciliation tasks can be automated, freeing up skilled staff to focus their efforts on the smaller percentage that are more complex or require human judgment.

Closings

For most corporations, the end of the month or quarter is a stressful time that requires all hands on deck to handle the financial close. This process typically involves a number of different systems, multiple finance teams and several lines of business, there are a multitude of dependencies that require tracking and management. For instance, certain accounts cannot be closed until all related sub-accounts are closed by the subsidiaries.

Intelligent process automation can alleviate much of this complexity by:

  • Automatically tracking the status of completed tasks across multiple systems
  • Automatically initiating close processes upon completion of dependent tasks
  • Updating the close calendar to provide visibility into the status of the financial close process

Financial Planning & Analysis

FP&A is another complex but necessary process eating up a significant portion of time, particularly for senior executives. It involves creating and approving budgets, analyzing spend, managing those budgets, etc. With IPA, routine budget requests that follow a common pattern don’t need to be signed off on. Instead, only unfamiliar or unusual requests will require review and approval.

Prior to submitting a request for executive approval, the intelligent process automation platform can analyze the pattern (i.e. dollar amount, similar requests that were made in the past, etc.). If it determines that similar requests received 100% approval in the past, the software can automatically process the approval without the need for human intervention. If an anomoly is detected, it can reroute to an executive for manual review.

PwC predicts that by 2020, financial services organization will begin to ramp up their AI adoption, streamlining operations and re-shoring jobs. And given the tremendous benefits intelligent process automation has to offer, it’s obvious why.

Want to position your financial organization for future success? Jump on the IPA train! Click here for a free, interactive product demo and get started on the path to digital revolution today.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

5 Tangible Benefits Intelligent Process Automation Brings to the Table

5 Tangible Benefits Intelligent Process Automation Brings to the TableIn terms of disruptive technology, intelligent process automation has gained tremendous ground. In fact, according to Statista, more than half of business leaders today say they expect to implement automation in the coming years. And for good reason. While technologies like traditional workload automation, cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) reduce costs and provide the flexibility to perform routine tasks and workflows, artificial intelligence (AI) brings these benefits to a whole new level with the capability of performing tasks that normally require human intelligence.

Intelligent process automation software enables businesses to perform much more diverse and complex activities without the need for human intervention. Furthermore, thanks to machine learning algorithms, this type of platform is capable of learning and improving entirely on its own based on data from past experience. Artificial intelligence can also provide valuable insight and decision support for management. But how does all of this translate into actual, tangible return on investment? Let’s take a look.

Time and Money Savings

When a good portion of business processes are shifted from human to machine, the operation runs far more efficiently. Work is performed faster and more accurately, which equates to greater productivity and higher service levels. Fewer man hours results in tremendous savings for the organization. (In one recent case study, one global enterprise slashed man hours by 1,500 in less than a year simply by adopting intelligent process automation. That reduction resulted in an overall savings of nearly $500k.)

Competitive Advantage

Staying a step ahead of the competition is the key to success – especially in today’s global marketplace. Every company is chasing digital transformation and hoping to claim their spot at the head of the pack in their respective industry. The use of intelligent process automation can facilitate this transformation, not only be streamlining processes, but by empowering human workers.

When the mundane tasks and workflows no longer require human input, employees are able to apply their skills, time and effort toward more important business initiatives. The freedom to be creative breeds innovation which can provide the competitive advantage companies are striving for.

Agility

The ebb and flow of business has long been a challenge for organizational leaders. Scaling up as needed based on sudden changes in market demand is not only difficult, but it’s also quite costly. Conversely, in situations when finances are lean, such as during economic recessions, the ability to maintain an expected level of production on a limited budget is incredibly problematic.

The deployment of intelligent process automation resolves both of these issues by enabling businesses to scale up or down at a moment’s notice. Seasonal or other business influxes can be met seamlessly thanks to the ability of software robots to take on some of the workload. And when it comes time to tighten the belt, automation can help skeleton crews operate as if they were fully staffed. Every business leader understands the importance of agility like this.

Reduced Downtime

Another way intelligent process automation can deliver tangible benefits to a company is through improved system operability. According to Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute. Due to variations in how businesses operate, Gartner analyst Andrew Lerner estimates that on the low end, downtime can cost as much as $140k per hour, while at the high end, can run upwards of $540k per hour.

Regardless of which end of the spectrum a business happens to fall on, system outages can be, without question, downright disastrous. Enter intelligent process automation and suddenly there’s an army of robots monitoring the infrastructure 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Furthermore, artificial intelligence is capable of identifying threats that could take days, weeks or longer for humans to spot. When incidents can be pinpointed quickly and the platform itself is capable of addressing and remediating those issues, downtime can be dramatically reduced and, in many cases, prevented altogether.

Decision Support

Because intelligent process automation is powered by AI and machine learning, it is inherently capable of analyzing massive amounts of data and extracting value. Furthermore, AI-powered automation can then turn that data into actionable insights that can be utilized by business leaders to make better decisions.

Incorporating advanced business automation technology into the mix enables the analysis of overall organizational performance. With these intelligent analytics, business leaders can more effectively identify and implement the right approaches to achieve improved performance over the long-term.

Could your organization benefit from any of the above? If so, adopting intelligent process automation should be on your list of priorities. Get a jump start by taking Ayehu for a test drive today.

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What is Intelligent Process Automation (and Why Should You Care)?

What is Intelligent Process Automation (and Why Should You Care)?There’s been quite a bit of buzz lately surrounding the topic of intelligent process automation, with viewpoints ranging from ‘farfetched’ and ‘too good to be true’ to excitement that the future is essentially happening right before our eyes. But for many business leaders, the topic is completely off their radar, whether it’s due to lack of technical prowess or simply because they’re too busy to learn more. As such, we thought it might be helpful to summarize exactly what intelligent automation is and, more importantly, why it should be something every busy professional considers.

Intelligent Process Automation Defined

In simplest of terms, IPA is a set of innovative technologies that bring together robotic process automation (RPA) with machine learning. Like conventional automation tools, IPA is designed to assist human workers by taking over repetitive, routine and manual tasks. Where IPA differs from automation tools of the past, however, is in its capability to not only mimic human activities, but actually learn from them and improve over time, without the need for human intervention.

Thanks to cognitive technology and deep learning algorithms, automated rule-based workflows can be further enhanced with decision-making capabilities. As a result, forward-thinking organizations that have already adopted intelligent process automation technology are realizing greater efficiency levels, improved staff performance, less risk, better response times and ultimately more positive customer experiences.

IPA in Action

As an example of intelligent process automation in action, let’s consider a financial services firm in which a customer support agent must pull information from a dozen different systems in order to provide basic level, day to day service. With IPA employed, software robots can interpret text communications, make decisions that don’t require pre-programming, offer suggestions to clients and provide real-time tracking and visibility into the workflow between systems and human agents.

Business Value of Intelligent Process Automation

With IPA a significant portion of the manual work is instantly taken off the plate of customer support agents. This frees them up to focus their efforts and abilities toward more mission-critical business projects. Customers still receive the same high level of support and the organization benefits from an engaged team that is free to be creative and innovative in achieving business goals.

While the greatest benefits of IPA come as a result of complete, enterprise-wide implementation, business leaders can unlock ROI quickly even just by automating just one or two manual tasks that routinely bog down employees.

In addition to intuitive automation, IPA can also bring value in the way of improved decision-making capabilities. Through sophisticated machine learning algorithms, intelligent process automation platforms can deliver data-driven recommendations to key decision makers to help optimize workflows and improve performance. Business leaders can then apply this insight to future planning and forecasting for better results.

Getting Started with IPA

The best news of all is that with the right partner, implementing IPA doesn’t have to be a complex, highly technical project. Ayehu’s Next Generation intelligent process automation and orchestration platform features an easy to use workflow designer, enabling rapid adoption and time-to-value, with an extensive pre-built library of activities and end-to-end workflows. No coding or programming required.

Experience it for yourself. Click here to take Ayehu for a test drive today!

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