The development and widespread adoption of robotic process automation (RPA) technology has changed how organizations approach their business operations, particularly in terms of streamlining and scaling business processes. Given this innovation, a question that naturally arises is what does the future hold for RPA? The answer to that question is intelligent automation.
What is RPA?
In simplest of terms, RPA is an application of technology that enables people to configure computer software – or robots – to process transactions, manipulate data, trigger responses and communicate with other digital applications, programs and systems. Deloitte defines RPA as “a way to automate repetitive and often rules-based processes.”
The concept of RPA really began to gain traction during the early 2000s when, at the time, businesses had been relying on basic automation executed through software commands which followed scripted processes to perform tasks within single IT applications. RPA technology brought this to the next level by scripting tasks across several applications, enabling companies with complex infrastructures to also extract value from automation.
Ultimately, RPA tools are best suited for tasks, processes and workflows that have repeatable, predictable interactions with other IT applications.
What is Intelligent Automation?
The natural progression between robotic and intelligent automation has occurred over the past decade or so, and has further expanded the benefits of automation by introducing machine learning and artificial intelligence into the mix.
Unlike RPA, which is designed to automate routine, repetitive tasks, intelligent automation provides the capability to automate non-routine tasks. Furthermore, intelligent automation can tackle processes that require judgment, intuition, creativity, persuasion and problem-solving – all skills that previously required human input and intervention. It is, essentially, a cognitive technology that features human-like capabilities.
When combined with RPA technology, the resulting solution can enable organizations to harness the power of automation to streamline both routine and highly complex processes and workflows, creating an intelligent, self-driving enterprise.
Getting Started with Intelligent Automation
Whether you’re looking to simply dip your toe in or are eager to dive headfirst into intelligent automation, there’s a strategy that should be followed. Perhaps Deloitte outlined it best in their recommended five-step process, shown in the infographic below.
Without question, intelligent automation will become an even more integral component of future business models. As a result, organizations across the globe are shifting their focus to intelligent automation solutions that can support both their current as well as their future needs and provide competitive advantage in a growing market.