Intelligent Process Automation
A number of the digital processes that comprise a workflow can be automated. Artificial intelligence, machine learning and autonomous technology have the potential to transform daily operations in every industry. Learn more about what intelligent process automation is and how this methodology can streamline workflows and enhance productivity.
What Is Intelligent Process Automation?
The term “intelligent automation” refers to setting up autonomous processes for initiation, execution and completion without direct human input. The line between digital process and intelligent automation can be blurry during implementation as it is necessary to first determine which processes in a workflow AI can and should do autonomously.
An organization seeking to practically apply advances in AI should start by developing thorough business process models and maps. It is necessary to be aware of all of the processes, subprocesses and discrete tasks that come together to form a workflow. Once every stage has been identified, stakeholders can begin to identify which tasks might be good candidates for user-directed digital or fully autonomous intelligent automation.
Digital automation is typically less complex than intelligent automation in terms of implementation. Enterprise workflow management software can make it relatively easy to set up tasks for completion automatically based on user input. In this situation, the user or employee must check to make sure that all of the requirements for the initiation, execution and completion of a task are in place.
Intelligent methods automatically detect these factors. As such, autonomous processes may require a longer implementation period. Some intelligent process technology features machine learning technology that can increase accuracy and processing speed over time.
How Does Intelligent Automation Work?
The simple answer is that smart or autonomous processes are guided by AI rather than input from human users. An enterprise workflow management system that supports autonomous functionality is capable of intelligent automation at some level. This feature eliminates the need for direct user participation, intervention, management or oversight of specified processes.
A working understanding of process automation can be helpful for assessing the capabilities of workflow management programs. Here are the three major levels of automation along with the distinguishing factors of each methodology:
- Digital: Digital automation involves the use of a user-digital interface to initiate, execute or complete defined processes or tasks.
- Intelligent: Intelligent automation is fully autonomous and digital with no user input required for the execution of automated tasks, subprocesses or processes.
- Robotic: Intelligent robotic process automation implements AI for the mechanical execution of tasks or processes.
Digital process automation remains the most common approach to automation. It is possible to experiment with this level of automation to improve business processes without pursuing more advanced, full-scale business process reengineering. Autonomous intelligent and robotic automation are newer innovations that require more exhaustive implementation efforts.
In many cases, intelligent process automation in audit indicates that intelligent and digital process automation can be combined to achieve higher levels of efficiency. User-friendliness is most significant for digital process automation, which requires direct input for completion. While intelligent and robotic automation have begun being deployed on a larger scale, these technologies are still under development and rapidly improving in terms of accessibility, ease of use and functionality.
How Can Automating Processes Benefit Organizations?
The primary benefit of automation involves saving labor. Every level of automation has the same goal: the completion of tedious or time-consuming tasks or processes with less effort and in less time. Freeing employees from performing routine tasks can allow their energy to be directed towards other parts of the process.
Whereas digital process automation is based on user input, intelligent automation is intended to function independently of human users. In the right context, intelligent process automation tools eliminate the need for direct intervention in or continued oversight of specified processes. Early studies of leading consulting firms indicate that full automation of at least half of the processes in a workflow has the potential to lead to considerable run-rate cost efficiencies.
There are pros and cons to both approaches to automating tasks, subprocesses or processes. Digital automation tends to be faster to roll out but will continue to require some level of user interaction. Intelligent automation often takes longer to get right, but tasks will then be performed automatically as part of a larger workflow.
At this point in time, organizations stand to benefit most from combining digital and intelligent approaches to automation. The most effective workflow management programs empower an organization to orchestrate the work of employees with AI tools to streamline tasks and cut down on inefficiencies and errors.
How Do Businesses Implement Intelligent Automation?
Business process modeling and mapping are both preliminary steps toward digital and intelligent robotic process automation. It is necessary to get a sense of the big picture all the way down to the nitty-gritty of each process in order to identify which processes are good candidates for automation.
For the best results, organizations should rely on robust enterprise management software to map and incorporate user-prompted digital automation into workflows. The most straightforward route toward incorporating automation into a workflow involves using a next-generation process management platform. The Fluix workflow system offers intuitive support for automation with minimal coding.
Digital automation tools can be particularly useful for streamlining processes such as the entry of data, distribution of documents, filling out of forms and collection of signatures. These repetitive tasks or processes requiring approval and resubmission may otherwise undermine workflow efficiency.
Autonomous intelligent automation is most likely to succeed when pursued under the aegis of business process reengineering. This approach calls for the large-scale redefinition of workflows, processes, subprocesses and tasks in order to incorporate this new technology and transform the way work is done.
An organization should start by modeling and mapping to determine the most effective approach toward process management, improvement and reengineering. The right workflow management program can make implementing digital and intelligent process automation easier and more intuitive. Try a free trial of Fluix to gain operational insight and explore the possibilities for increasing productivity with the power of automation.
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