With the world of process automation evolving at break-neck speed it’s not easy to keep up with relevant terminology and the differences between the various solutions available. In order to provide some guidance and clarity we have created a brief summary of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotic Process Automation and Intelligent Automation in order that our readers can start to determine which solution would be best for their needs.
Artificial Intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence, it is software that is capable of tasks that would usually require a human to complete. It can take large amounts of data and learn from it, updating actions and processes, adapting to situations it has not necessarily seen before. Where RPA can fill a form with data, AI can scan an email and workout which data needs to go where. It enables the computer to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making and translation between languages. AI solves complex problems, its goal is always to find the optimal solution.
Machine Learning (a sub-set of Artificial Intelligence) is when the software learns through data, studying algorithms and statistics, relying on patterns and inference rather than instruction, to perform tasks. The system automates and learns based on experience without actually being programmed i.e. without any human assistance. It’s best used for predicting outcomes based on data e.g. predicting the likelihood of contracting an illness based on analysing data from a patient.
Robotic Process Automation is a rule-based software tool, it has no intelligence and simply mimics human actions. RPA is the ‘do-er’. Anything you can do on your computer with a few mouse clicks can be executed by a ‘bot’ e.g. copying and pasting data into forms, downloading email attachments into a folder, gathering data and forwarding it to other bots – all of these tasks can be automated. As long as the bot doesn’t need to change a process it can keep running infinitely. But for complex processes that might result in error you will need human intervention.
Intelligent Automation is a more advanced form of RPA. It mimics the behaviour of the human worker and is particularly useful for labour intensive tasks such as new business applications, change administration, customer services. Any large-scale activities or groups of repetitive tasks that draw on or feed information to multiple systems is an intelligent automation candidate. IA is not intended as a human replacement but an opportunity to improve business processes whilst enabling the human worker to focus on higher value tasks that require human judgement. It uses information learnt from one system to provide data to another or to drive a process decision.
We’ve called our Intelligent Automation platform SmartFlow.
Which solution do I need?
In order to determine the right solution for your needs we suggest you go right back to the beginning.
Determine exactly what processes you need to automate.
Identify and quantify where in your business you could apply automation: to generate revenue, to save costs, or for compliance. Labour costs are only a small part of the equation. Set clear expectations on what you want the solution to achieve.
Start with rule-based standardised processes.
These could either be across multiple systems or a single system where there are many journeys/processes, and need a non-intrusive approach to automation. Look for opportunities where real people are inputting the same data over and over again between systems. This will give you the basis for your automation roadmap.
Evaluate all options.
There are many solutions on the market within AI, ML, RPA, and IA, from large providers who have benefitted from huge financial investment, to smaller providers who thrive on innovation and an agile approach, it's worth considering solutions from both.
As pioneers of Intelligent Automation, Maximise IT are well placed to provide guidance on automation and which version would be best suited to your business needs. In 2019 we received the Queens’ Award for Enterprise Innovation, in recognition of how SmartFlow has enabled our clients to deliver the very best outcomes for their customers.
SmartFlow has been tried and tested by the UK’s largest banks. It adheres to banking grade security requirements, provides 100% compliance auditability, and interacts quickly and easily with legacy IT systems. SmartFlow helps your workforce to be smarter, faster, happier.
If you would like to find out more about SmartFlow and how it could help your workforce to deliver services with improved speed, accuracy and efficiency whilst improving employee engagement and happiness then please:
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