In an era of digital transformation, organizations face the pressing need to streamline operations, enhance efficiency, and drive innovation. Intelligent process automation (IPA) helps to address these challenges by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. By seamlessly integrating AI technologies into business processes, IPA offers a range of benefits that empower enterprises to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving landscape. Leveraging the capabilities of platforms like IBM Cloud Pak, organizations can unlock the full potential of IPA, paving the way for improved productivity, cost savings, and improved customer experiences.
What is Intelligent Process Automation?
Intelligent process automation, known as cognitive automation, refers to the use of automation technologies like artificial intelligence, business process management (BPM), and robotic process automation (RPA) to optimize and expand decision-making across organizations. Intelligent process automation simplifies operational procedures, liberates resources, and enhances efficiency.
It has several applications, such as an automotive manufacturer can use intelligent automation to increase production and minimize human error. A pharmaceutical and life sciences company may reduce costs and gain resource efficiencies with repetitive processes. An insurance provider can calculate payments, make predictions to calculate rates, and address compliance needs.
How Intelligent Process Automation Works?
Intelligent automation includes three key cognitive technologies, which, when integrated, create a robust solution that drives both business and technological evolution.
- The first element in intelligent automation is AI. Businesses can build a knowledge repository and make data-driven predictions using machine learning and intricate algorithms to analyze structured and unstructured data. This is the core of intelligent automation.
- The second component is business process management (BPM), or workflow automation. BPM automates workflows to enhance the flexibility and consistency of business processes. It is used across diverse industries, streamlining operations and improving interactions and engagement.
- The third element is robotic process automation (RPA), which harnesses software robots or bots to execute back-office tasks like data extraction and form filling. RPA complements AI seamlessly by using AI insights to handle more intricate tasks and scenarios.
When these three components are seamlessly integrated, they form a transformative solution that optimizes processes and simplifies workflows, ultimately leading to an enhanced customer experience.
Benefits of Intelligent Process Automation
Intelligent process automation helps to handle, automate, and integrate business processes, ensure that the right data gets to the right place at the right time, and promote end-to-end process automation.
- Streamline end-to-end business processes: Intelligent automation simultaneously accelerates operations and enhances effectiveness, especially in scenarios that involve management, monitoring, or transfer of substantial data. By deploying RPA with other intelligent technologies like machine learning and AI, tasks become significantly less time-consuming and labor-intensive.
- Enhance security, compliance, and data confidentiality: The capacity to leverage insights derived from Big Data has led to a profound shift in how many industries conduct business in the 21st century. With a well-structured and adaptable intelligent automation strategy, the critical data that your organization relies on is better shielded from threats and vulnerabilities.
- Generate easily auditable records: Before intelligent automation, business processes were prone to human errors and inconsistent execution. Vital information often remained trapped in decentralized departmental silos, hindering its accessibility. Intelligent process automation facilitates the development of well-documented transaction trails, simplifying the task of discerning what’s effective and what isn’t across an enterprise.
- Elevate the customer experience: When an organization integrates IPA into its operations, the internal efficiencies translate into tangible external benefits for clients and customers. Queries are addressed promptly and accurately, with seamless resolution, making the onboarding process less burdensome.
- Alleviate the challenges of growth: As business processes are automated across the organization, the resulting efficiencies enable leadership to concentrate on innovative methods for expanding revenue streams. A thoughtfully designed IPA platform is inherently scalable, ensuring that as your business grows, your concerns do not.
- Foster continuous improvement: AI and machine learning work collaboratively to identify novel and superior approaches to enhance operational efficiencies in real-time. While human insight and creativity serve as the conductors of the IPA initiative, AI and ML serve as the virtuoso performers in the organizational ensemble.
- Time and Cost Savings: The IPA initiative will reduce expenses and increase organizational efficiencies. These proven benefits contribute to cost savings, arguably the most significant reason IPA has emerged as a pivotal element in the digital transformation revolution.
Applications of Intelligent Automation
Intelligent automation optimizes processes previously reliant on manual labor or outdated systems, which can be resource-intensive, expensive, and susceptible to human errors. The applications of IA are diverse and span various industries, delivering operational efficiencies in different aspects of their operations.
- Automotive Industry: Manufacturers can leverage IA to enhance their ability to predict and adapt production in response to shifts in supply and demand. It streamlines workflows, increasing efficiency and reducing the risk of errors in production, support, procurement, and other areas. Robots minimize the reliance on manual labor, improving defect detection and delivering higher-quality products to customers at a reduced cost.
For instance, a Volkswagen engine production facility in Germany uses collaborative robots that work alongside the production team to handle physically demanding tasks in engine assembly, preventing injuries, accelerating processes, ensuring accuracy, and lightening the physical workload of employees.
- Life Sciences: The pharmaceutical industry, which involves highly regulated drug production and demands precise equipment calibration and product measurement, heavily relies on data collection, collation, processing, and analysis. A manual approach to drug trials could lead to calculation errors and consume significant resources and workforce. In contrast, the rapid production of COVID-19 vaccines exemplifies how intelligent automation facilitates automated processes, enhancing production speed and quality.
Before implementing AI and its resulting efficiencies, it took over 25 years and more than 40 scientists to develop a single marketable drug.
- Healthcare: The healthcare sector employs intelligent automation, mainly through natural language processing (NLP), to ensure consistency in data collection, analysis, diagnosis, and treatment. Using chatbots in remote healthcare appointments minimizes the need for extensive human involvement and often reduces diagnosis times.
- Insurance: In the insurance industry, IA virtually eliminates manual rate calculation and payment requirements while simplifying paperwork processing, including claims and appraisals. Intelligent automation also enhances compliance adherence by ensuring regulatory requirements are met. Consequently, it aids in calculating the risk associated with individuals or entities and determining the appropriate insurance rates.
IBM Cloud Pak for Automation
IBM Cloud Paks for Automation offers a comprehensive and modular suite of AI-driven automation tools to address common and intricate operational issues. These Cloud Paks have three key benefits:
- Deep domain-specific capabilities for automating business operations, AIOps, integration, and networks.
- A shared foundation for real-time, intelligent, event-driven automation across business and IT.
- Secure deployment of IBM Cloud Pak containers in any public cloud or hybrid environment supported by Red Hat OpenShift
The seven significant benefits of Intelligent Process Automation include streamlined processes, enhanced security and compliance, auditable records, improved customer experiences, the alleviation of growing pains, continuous improvement, and tangible time and cost savings. These advantages collectively underscore the pivotal role of IPA in transforming businesses and optimizing operations for a more efficient and effective future.