Longstanding “traditional” organizations are being faced with enormous pressure from digitally native start-ups. These start-ups are exponentially outperforming traditional businesses by reshaping and recasting business models to serve the needs of hyper connected customers wanting unique, personalized, and seamless experiences. Superior experiences are being delivered at digital speeds, real-time or near-real time, through automated and low touch business processes, fitting the digitally driven lifestyle of most, if not all, consumers.
In this environment, traditional organizations are playing a game of catch up. With the acceleration of their digital transformation, companies are aiming to support delivery at a digital speed, while simultaneously redesigning and optimizing their processes, rationalizing costs, and boosting customers engagement. With all these changes, some organizations are also faced with rapidly evolving regulations and market demands. In their push towards achieving digital delivery, traditional companies have invested significantly and are achieving some success with Robotic Processes Automation (RPA).
What is RPA? RPA is a well-established technology used to automate repetitive, predictable tasks. This technology drastically increases operational throughput, streamlines operations, and increases outputs quality. Organizations have long adopted RPA to give their legacy systems a significant lift, as well as a temporary technique to create the momentum of enterprise wide digital transformation efforts. RPA adoption has seen such uptake that Everest Group estimated in 2020, the enterprise RPA landscape will comprise 2.5 million attended robots and 0.8 million unattended robots.
However, enterprises are now quickly witnessing the tapering off benefits from rule-based technologies as a foundation to digital transformation efforts. This is primarily due to the inability to function with the introduction of variation and the inability to consume and gain insights from unstructured data. This is a critical component because more than 85% of all enterprise data is unstructured.
True automation used for building intelligent and low touch processes requires the ability to organize data, infer from data, make automated decisions, and act – all while continuously learning from transactions and feedback.
Intelligent Automation to the Rescue
This is where Intelligent Automation (IA) comes in. The combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) amplifies the benefits of automation, allowing for a supercharged digital transformation and providing a level-playing competitive field.
Intelligent Automation is still evolving but holds the potential to support the transformation of companies in the coming years. Everest Group reports that enterprises that have adopted AI-driven intelligent automation “achieved 4X the ROI, saw 50% improvement in operational metrics, and generated 3X impact compared to other enterprises.” Intelligent Automation will enable organizations to venture into the last mile of operational automation, which is not available to them with traditional RPA. This will create a digital foundation ready to support the creation of new business opportunities.
The Road to IA Adoption
With growing maturity and widespread adoption expected over the coming years, Intelligent Automation will be the key to driving organizational change and taking businesses to the next level. Enterprises exploring the adoption of IA should cautiously lay out an implementation roadmap, like the points below, before moving forward.
- Define the journey. What are the goals and expected functions of the operation?
- Identify a series of use cases where IA can be implemented, and where it will tangibly demonstrate the value add.
- Repeat the adoption of IA within a secondary group of use cases and adjust the approach accordingly to a unique organizational environment.
- Align IA with the human workforce of the organization, collaboration is required to achieve collective goals based on a combination of historical knowledge as well as performance rewards.