Understanding the Stages of Automation

Every organization reaches a point (or several points) at which auditing and updating applications and business systems becomes necessary. Whether your company is currently at that junction or it will be coming down the road, it’s imperative that you use this opportunity to explore the power of intelligent process automation. From streamlining repetitive tasks to deploying AI-powered virtual support agents to perform complex end-to-end IT workflows, automation can skyrocket productivity and efficiency.

All this being said, there are a significant number of automation solutions available on the market today, all of which are not created equal. Decision-makers must educate themselves on the various levels and capabilities of automation. Let’s take a closer look at these levels below.

Simple Automated Tasks

The most basic level of process automation that exists presently involves simple tasks which are triggered by basic “if, then” actions. This type of entry-level automation has been around for decades and can (and should) be applied to all business functions.

IT teams specifically can use basic automation to create simple triggers, such as activating network changes whenever traffic thresholds are met or exceeded. Simple process automation is also capable of being integrated with other tools to create a more robust system. For instance, a monitoring system like Solarwinds can be integrated with an ITPA platform so that alerts trigger end-to-end automated workflows.

Chatbots and Self-Service Automation

The next phase in the process automation lifecycle is that of self-service automation, most of which is handled by chatbots. With this type of automation, an end-user can initiate a support ticket for basic needs, such as password resets. The automated bot is pre-programmed to respond to certain triggers in the interface and perform the requested action without the need for intervention from a human agent.

Self-service automation is valuable because it saves time, both for the end-user as well as the IT support team, thus facilitating a much higher degree of productivity across the board. It does, however, lack in the way of context. In other words, chatbots are only capable of understanding basic commands and following pre-determined decision pathways. They cannot interpret meaning or context.

Cognitive Intelligent Process Automation

This phase of automation takes the concept of chatbots to the next level by introducing advanced technologies, like artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing into the mix. Unlike basic self-service automation, virtual support agents (VSAs) are capable of understanding context in communication with an end-user and delivering intelligent responses based on automated research. They are also capable of learning, making their own decisions and executing complex tasks.

It’s important to note that in order to be effective, intelligent process automation must be built upon the foundation of a strong and accurate knowledge-base, as it is this data from which the tool will pull its answers.

The Next Wave of Intelligent Process Automation

What does the future hold for automation? Tomorrow’s (and to some degree already, today’s) business environment will feature on-demand, shared services that facilitate end-to-end operations and enable automation of even the most complex business processes. Thanks to ever-improving artificial intelligence technology, platforms will not only be able to learn and evolve from user interactions and human input, but eventually identify and create newer and better processes for even more streamlined operations.

The good news is, you don’t have to settle for basic automation, nor do you have to wait for the future to witness the power of cognitive intelligent process automation. In fact, you can experience it firsthand today by downloading your free 30-day trial of Ayehu NG.

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