expressed opinion entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
Intelligent automation has received a lot of attention lately. A lot of people want to know what the future holds, and a lot of people don’t want to feel left out.
However, intelligent automation (also known as “hyperautomation”) is an ever-changing collection of technologies. New tools appear every year. It’s hard to keep up.
Also, others worry about whether the hype matches reality.For example, in July 2021, IBM’s leaders Lower expectations for Watson. IBM first positioned Watson as revolutionary, promising advanced AI capabilities such as automated cancer detection and treatment recommendations. Now, IBM has positioned Watson as a tactical natural language processing tool. Even the best can get caught up in the hype.
Instead, intelligent automation is worth it. But how do digital leaders think about intelligent automation to make informed investment decisions?
Related: Why smart automation is the only way to deal with wage inflation
We can divide intelligent automation into three categories. Here, we aim to cover 80% of the functionality.The remaining 20% involve niche capabilities, which are contained in more detailed study.
The three abilities are:
- Automate tasks
- Orchestrate Workflow
- automated decision making
The first function is to automate tasks. This is often referred to as robotic process automation (RPA), in which a robot repeats a set of tasks in the same way as a human. This allows people to focus on more valuable work.
Now, automating tasks is not new. Excel macros have been around since the 90’s. However, modern RPA has an interesting history.
Daniel Dines founded UiPath, a leader among RPA companies, in 2005, called DeskOver. They originally built tools to help developers build software. Dines tried to sell them to the likes of Amazon, Google and Microsoft, but didn’t get much interest.
Diess struggled. He considered closing the company. However, by chance, a business process outsourcing company in India was looking for an automation tool. Outsourcing companies now perform repetitive tasks with thousands of employees from low-cost countries. Price pressure is high.
At the time, UiPath knew nothing about outsourcing. However, they were able to get out of the woods and impress the outsourcing company. The rest is history.
So the modern era of intelligent automation begins when a company that makes productivity tools meets an outsourcing company looking for help to increase productivity. Thousands of companies now run millions of robots, all performing the same tasks repeatedly. They free up millions of hours so everyone can focus on more important work.
Related: Automation is becoming a business imperative: Don’t wait until it’s too late
Sometimes automating a single task isn’t enough. Instead, we need to redesign business processes. This brings us to a second capability: orchestration of workflows.
The seminal work of Michael Hammer and James Champy, reengineering company, contains a classic story. IBM has a very profitable division. However, they faced a major challenge: On average, it took six days to produce a contract for a client. For salespeople, this is unacceptable. At that time, the customer can choose another supplier. Therefore, they want to improve operations by automating tasks.
However, this is not the correct approach. Two executives came up with a brilliant idea. They let an application go through a business process, requiring everyone to focus on just that one task. They found that the department could complete the application within 90 minutes.
Now, let’s say executives have a magic wand that makes everyone work twice as fast. They only save 45 minutes. Waiting in line most of the time. The solution is not to get things done faster.
So they redesigned the business process so that in most cases, one person can complete the application in one step. They reduced the average wait time from siz days to 4 hours and increased productivity by a factor of 100.
So the second set of tools is about orchestrating workflows. A low-code workflow engine allows business users to orchestrate company-wide business processes. They increase productivity, not just automate individual tasks. Additionally, automating tasks and orchestrating workflows go hand in hand. We can orchestrate workflows and then automate individual tasks to improve efficiency.
Related: 4 reasons why workers should welcome AI in the workplace
automated decision making
The third group of technologies focuses on automating decision-making. There are easy questions and hard questions.this will lead to Moravec Paradox.
In 1988, Hans Moravec wrote: “It is relatively easy to get a computer to perform at an adult level on an intelligence test or in chess, but it is difficult or impossible to get a computer to perform at the level of perception and mobility. They have the skills of a one-year-old.” For example, we teach computers to play checkers, but we have a hard time teaching computers about perception and movement skills in young children.
In 1966, the famous computer scientist Marvin Minsky Want to teach a computer to recognize common household items. Considering it would take a summer, he assigned the project to a student. This has proven to be very difficult. Fifty years later, computer vision systems are just emerging.
Now, if computer vision is a difficult task to automate, what could be easier? The researchers made progress on specialized issues. For example, IBM Watson’s computer vision capabilities for specific types of cancer rival the performance of radiologists. Another example is when a credit reporting company deploys a decision engine that uses massive data sets to predict the risk of credit fraud or loan default.
Related: Robots are taking our jobs
Unleash the power of intelligent automation
The real power of intelligent automation lies in combining three functions—automating tasks, orchestrating workflows, and automating decision-making. For example, first, we can orchestrate workflow by redesigning business processes. Second, we can automate personal tasks, freeing people from mundane tasks. Third, we can automatically decide which machines have an advantage.
Now, realizing the promise of intelligent automation can be challenging. Some struggle to separate hype from reality. Others are obsessed with these tools and neglect to solve business problems.Therefore, companies need to start with a strategic view of business challenges Unleash the power of intelligent automation. These business issues make today’s field of intelligent automation exciting.