If you are interested in automation, you may read all the latest news, analyst reports and research papers on the subject — and you might have noticed a recent shift in the discourse, from a discussion of robotic process automation (RPA) toward the more comprehensive solutions offered with Intelligent Automation. An increasing number of research companies argue Intelligent Automation will be the main driver for digital transformations in large enterprises, where business processes are so complex that effective ROI cannot be achieved using traditional RPA tools.
According to Forrester’s report, “Look To Four Use Case Categories To Push RPA And AI Convergence”, RPA tools that use cognitive capabilities offered by Artificial Intelligence will eventually replace those that don’t. The convergence of RPA and AI technologies manifests in the form of Intelligent Automation tools that provide faster results and more evident advantages of business process automation in enterprises as compared to RPA.
Traditional automation benefits
There are several obvious benefits of automation that can be seen in many automation projects and are traditionally cited as primary positive results. Among others, they include:
- Cost reduction. This is usually seen as the top benefit of automation: Significantly bringing down the cost of many support functions across a company. This also is often the easiest one to measure.
- Higher accuracy. Usually, automated tasks involve processing a lot of data, which people often find challenging, and thus are prone to many human errors.
- Increased focus on core competencies. Automating tedious, time-consuming manual tasks allows employees to focus more on their core competencies. This also leads (directly and indirectly) to considerably higher customer satisfaction ratings.
- Improved productivity. Minimizing human errors means less time spent correcting them, which leads to higher productivity. Plus, a bot workforce, unlike employee headcount, can be scaled up or down very quickly.
- Better compliance. Actions performed by the bots are easier to audit, which makes it easier to track and correct shortcomings in processes.
These automation benefits are fairly well known to anyone watching the industry. However, when we talk about Intelligent Automation, advantages can extend far beyond such benefits of traditional RPA.
Unexpected benefits of intelligent process automation
Intelligent process automation combines the capabilities of robotic process automation and artificial intelligence, which allows it to deliver value to the company faster and provide additional benefits versus traditional automation approaches.
Creating new jobs
As weird as it may sound, one of the benefits of Intelligent Automation that people may not expect can be new jobs. Usually, automation is associated with the loss of jobs by people who perform manual tasks. But some researchers would argue that, although innovation can make many jobs obsolete, automation simultaneously creates even more new ones.
Some of these new roles will develop and support automated workflows within the companies and propel digital transformation. New engineering jobs are emerging, such as automation engineers and machine learning engineers, as well as supporting roles in IT and other areas. Other jobs result from the improved productivity mentioned previously. Higher productivity around routine tasks will naturally result in a higher demand for more skilled work that can’t be as easily automated, especially that which requires critical and creative thinking.
Reducing employee turnover
Another automation benefit, which is closely related to the possibility of new roles, is reduced employee turnover. By freeing employees from tedious manual tasks like copy-pasting data, automation can allow them to focus on more challenging tasks and offer new prospects for promotion. This, in turn, leads to better morale, higher employee satisfaction and better employee retention in the company.
Reduced employee turnover also means the company needs to spend fewer resources (human, financial, etc.) on hiring and onboarding new employees and can allocate these resources to other important initiatives. It also ensures that important knowledge and skills are kept within the company and passed on to new employees.
Better insights into the business
Data is at the core of every automation project. If you cannot measure the results of automating processes, there is little point in automating them.
Intelligent Automation tools rely heavily on workforce analysis and analytics. Their main purpose is to analyze the automated processes to tune them and adapt to changing circumstances, thus maximizing ROI. However, it is not all these tools can do. They also allow process owners and other stakeholders to have a clearer picture of the processes inside the company: what works well, what doesn’t, what bottlenecks exist in the processes, etc.
This is one of the most important benefits of intelligent process automation as it allows the businesses to be proactive in their automation journey, analyze results and identify additional automation opportunities faster.
For those who want to learn more about the benefits of Intelligent Automation, we offer a free online course on our Automation Academy training platform – Automation Essentials. It covers a broad range of topics about Intelligent Automation, from its history to current best practices.