What is Intelligent Automation exactly?

11 September 2019 |
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What is Intelligent Automation exactly?

For those of us in the intelligent automation industry it can be easy to forget that some people are more informed than others. In our day-to-day existence at work it is easy to flippantly interchange terms. But problems can arise when that terminology leaks into conversations without apt explanation of the meaning. When communicating with the world at large, we can often forget that many people are only just getting to grips with what robotic process automation (RPA) actually is, let alone what Intelligent Automation is. So, in a similar vein to our last piece on acronyms and terms, we want to educate and give people clarity so they can successfully navigate the process automation world

So, What is Intelligent Automation?

It is easy to be confused by the term Intelligent Automation. Especially, when it’s also called different synonymous terms such as cognitive automation, intelligent process automation and others which we’re sure we’ve forgotten. With that in mind, in the context of our industry, Intelligent Automation simply means the enhancement of RPA with artificial intelligence of some sort — which sometimes for flexibility and scalability is deployed via the cloud.  But how is it intelligent? And how does it move automation on from RPA alone?

Intelligent Automation creates digital workers that have skills similar to a person. Where RPA simply mimics human behavior, intelligent automation enriches digital workers with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) skills so they can think, learn and perform human based skills. For instance, by using Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology, Intelligent Automation can understand written information and the context within that message. In simple terms, this means that Intelligent Automation can handle unstructured interactions and doesn’t need to follow a rules-based structure in order to provide an outcome.

Intelligent Automation and Autonomous Cars

Another way to understand it is if we take look at the analogy of autonomous cars alongside Intelligent Automation. You start off with a manual process in both driving a car and within an office: a person is sat there at a computer, or a steering wheel performing the manual task. Then you have the development of semi-autonomous technology, with a car assisting a driver if they get too close to the car in front of them or in an office, with RPA performing certain tasks in an office. As the technology develops, you have a machine with further abilities, such as fully autonomous cars which can drive down a highway without the interaction of the person, and automation of office based tasks with Intelligent Automation using NLP to communicate with people, or understand context — without a person needing to intervene.

Both of these technologies result in people being able to do more because the machine using AI performs the other tasks. It is easy to imagine the possibilities, from people being able to work on the way into the office with autonomous cars and with intelligent automation to be able to perform value-added tasks in the office.

This form of applied intelligence is how Intelligent Automation has developed and is freeing people from the tasks that slow them down, so they can concentrate on the value added tasks that really matter. With Intelligent Automation now having the ability to work with unstructured data, converse with people using natural language, or make a decision on a task — with the option to refer to a person if it becomes too complex.

For an in depth look at Intelligent Automation download our whitepaper — How to Implement Intelligent Automation — by clicking here, or on the image below

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