Intelligent Automation: Everything You Need to Know

Intelligent automation (IA), a companion to digital transformation based on the premise of process management, is taking the business world by storm.

With a current market size of $8.1 billion, dynamic customer needs and increasing interest and investment are predicted to escalate this industry’s growth to $20.7 billion by 2026.

Its progression is sustained by the success of intelligent automation’s unique synergy of several interwoven technologies that fuel business transformation.

But what is intelligent automation, exactly?

Intelligent Automation Explained

In a nutshell, intelligent automation consists of a finely balanced combination of robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that allow businesses to achieve end-to-end process automation.

It simplifies operational complexities and accelerates growth to keep businesses ahead in hyper-competitive markets.

Using advanced techniques and tools, IA reduces the need for manual labor and allows organizations to focus more closely on their high-margin offerings and drives innovation.

Intelligent automation differs from simple robotic automation by adding a layer of machine learning that allows for the automation of non-routine, non-repetitive tasks.

This means that IA can handle processes that previously required human input, such as tasks requiring intuition, judgement, creativity, or problem-solving skills.

The role of humans in intelligent automation

It’s important to recognize that the goal of applying artificial intelligence and automation to business processes is not designed to remove humans from the workplace.

Instead, it is focused on making workflows more efficient so that human workers are freed to focus on more critical—or innovative—ways to achieve their goals.

Human intervention is still required to keep a system using IA performing at peak efficiency.

For example, a human is needed when automation cannot successfully perform the desired task—either to correct the reason for nonperformance or to perform the task manually.

Workflow routing must also be overseen by humans, as it often requires non-standard judgements for peak efficiency.

Finally, humans are needed at the front end of the cycle to properly train AI to perform necessary tasks and test processes to ensure proper outcomes.

Through this symbiotic relationship, humans can harness the power of robotics and AI technologies to develop processes that transform workflows and bring a host of benefits to the business environment.

The Benefits of Intelligent Automation

Part of the reason why intelligent automation is increasing so quickly in popularity among businesses of all sizes is the many advantages this combination of technologies brings to the workplace.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common improvements seen by companies using these processes.

1. Increased process efficiency

One of the hallmarks of IA is its ability to reduce process handling times, which has a strong correlation with increased speed and customer satisfaction.

Using complex process analytics, IA targets bottlenecked areas and addresses and corrects them in a timely manner.

Importantly, this technology can be used to forecast needs, preventing bottlenecks in advance and developing best practices that ensure smoother, speedier workflows.

Since machine learning algorithms are adept at gathering, processing, reporting, and storing large volumes of valuable data, they are able to glean hard-to-find information about workflow and customer patterns that contribute to process improvements.

2. Improved customer satisfaction

The basis of any successful business consists of satisfied customers and using IA to fine-tune processes and analyze customer data is the perfect way to minimize time spent by employees sorting through data so they can focus more effectively on customer service.

By transferring the cumbersome tasks of data entry, document sorting, and validation of information from human to machine, processing becomes speedier and more accurate, which correlates with a more positive customer experience, heightened loyalty, and a secure customer base.

3. Reduced risk of human error

Human error in data entry can lower accuracy, skew statistical results, and have an enormous impact on all aspects of your business process.

A 2019 report found that 90% of corporate data breaches were due to human error—a sobering statistic when you consider that one in eight companies fail as a result of data breaches.

Fortunately, employing IA processes can greatly reduce the risk of human error by using software bots that are configured to tackle the repeatable tasks, such as document processing, normally assigned to human employees.

They can manage this using the same system interfaces and application with minimal disruption or impact to the organization’s IT architecture.

4. Significant reduction in costs

When the burden of human work is reduced by an IA system that can work on tasks around the clock, there are significant cost savings realized over a period of months and years.

In fact, the use of IA often results in savings of anywhere from 40% to 75% over time, providing an excellent return on investment.

This increase in savings is realized due to the ability of IA to work consistently, without regard to work hours, for a significant increase in output at less than the salary rate of employees.

5. Increased employee engagement

Although the idea of IA often conjures up visions of job loss, it’s far from the truth. Instead, engaging IA technologies frees workers from onerous, repetitive tasks so they can focus on more valuable—and fulfilling—work.

When they can spend time on engaging, strategic tasks, employees move from fear into acceptance and begin to feel a level of work satisfaction that fosters engagement and loyalty.

92% of organizations that adopted IA strategies reported an increase in overall worker satisfaction and over half reported a satisfaction increase of more than 15% after IA implementation — a testament to the ability of IA technologies to improve workplace conditions.

Takeaways

  • IA consists of a finely balanced combination of robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that allow businesses to achieve end-to-end process automation.
  • IA is not meant to replace humans in the workplace, but to take on cumbersome work to free employees to work on more strategic and crucial tasks.
  • There are many benefits to using IA in the workplace, including increased process efficiency, improved customer satisfaction, reduced risk of errors, reduced costs, and improved employee satisfaction.

Learn More About What Intelligent Automation Means for the Future

Intelligent automation helps companies achieve and maintain a competitive advantage in their industry.

Through leveraging the tools available, which increase staff productivity and decrease costs—companies can enjoy higher operating capacity.

IA is just one aspect of digital transformation which is changing the way small businesses operate in today’s constantly evolving landscape. To learn more about how you can modernize your organization, reach out to our Managed IT team and speak to one of our experts today!