It’s the year 1823. You’re a well-educated working person in a big city. You’ve ridden the wave of the steam engine, credited with what your great-great grandkids will describe as the “First Industrial Revolution.” Now imagine your rather odd but even better-educated neighbor tells you that a thing called “electricity” is going to change the world (in what would become the Second Industrial Revolution). “How will it change my world, when will I get it, and what do I need to do to use it,” you wondered? By the turn of the century, electricity rivaled gas as the favored choice for lighting, and over the following 20 years, electricity emerged into ubiquity. Fast forward to today, and swap the word “electricity” for “AI.” We’re at the beginning of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will drive AI into everything we do at home and at work — but the same curiosities, concerns, and challenges that arose in 1823 stand between working people and AI today.
Our partner Deloitte Consulting published a great study that frames these challenges that business leaders believe prevent them from using AI:
WorkFusion was founded with the mission to make AI a self-service capability for business people. By 2016, early customers like Standard Bank had already put what we call “AI-driven RPA” to work, using it to automate processes like customer onboarding, reducing the time of the process from 20 days to 5 minutes. But our product was still a little complex for a business person without technical skills, so we went to work making it simpler.
Given the parallels between electricity way back when and AI today, we’ve called our 2018 generation of products Lumen.
You might have already heard about the improvements that WorkFusion’s Lumen Release brought to RPA Express*. Thanks to the feedback from many of the 20,000 companies who have put it to work in their operations (and a little help from our engineering team), the world’s first and only production-grade robotic process automation (RPA) product now rivals software you have to pay for, and it also provides a subscription version that gives companies even more scale and functionality.
Now it’s time to share what the Lumen release has brought to WorkFusion Smart Process Automation (SPA), our flagship AI-driven RPA product. How does SPA version 9.0 make AI as practical as electricity?
AI is built into RPA
The number-one challenge that Deloitte respondents reported was integrating AI into their everyday processes. We’ve solved that problem by seamlessly integrating machine learning into RPA, which means, for example, that once RPA bots have pulled documents from email messages, machine learning-driven cognitive bots find, extract, and enter the data needed to complete a business process.
AI training is automated
The second of the challenges Deloitte respondents reported was the expense of AI technologies and the expertise required to use them. Since 2015, WorkFusion SPA has automated the data science work of cleansing data, selecting and training the right machine learning algorithm, and deploying a trained model without the need for scientific or technical talent. With refinements to WorkFusion SPA’s patented Process AutoML capability, the automated AI process is now faster, more accurate, and more accessible. Process AutoML now delivers 99% precision for models along with 4x faster training and 6x faster data extraction than the previous version of SPA. All of that translates to less computing required, cheaper infrastructure, and faster implementation for customers, which means that AI is as almost as turn-key and accessible for business people as a light switch.
And with the addition of the AutoML SDK, there’s no need to hire data scientists or ML engineers to apply AI to your processes. The average programmer can use pre-built features to deploy their own models, while using their own hardware, in a fraction of the time.
Superior recording = superior bots
One of the biggest additions to SPA is object recording. SPA previously used image-based, surface recording to control desktop apps during data extraction. Version 9.0 goes under the hood, reading and writing directly to the apps’ internal controls. This delivers greater precision, reliability and convenience, and specific data attributes can now be extracted or added without coding.
Get more out of your scripts
Should users need to change their decisioning in special circumstances, they can now toggle between recorded script actions and custom code.
The new custom action library also reduces the amount of time it takes to put SPA to work, with 56 ready-made actions available out of the box. Plus, users can add their own custom actions to the library, allowing them to share, re-use and add to scripts as needed. Thanks to these enhancements, users can create their first bot 5x faster than in the last release.
Big wins through marginal gains
Legendary cycling coach Sir Dave Brailsford delivered England’s first win in the Tour de France through a rigorous effort he called marginal gains. It means that every single factor which impacted a cyclist, from the quality of pillows to the traction of cleats, would add up to a winning competitive advantage. Our team took the same approach with SPA. In addition to big new capabilities and upgrades, SPA 9.0 includes many, many marginal improvements, including:
- Seamless compatibility with RPA Express*, which means easy upgrading from our free product to SPA
- New sorting and filtering tools in Control Tower
- Smarter OCR, which can spot checkmarks, scan barcodes, and more
- 4x reduction in infrastructure requirements
- 10x faster performance
- Increased security
- Easier debugging
- Hundreds of UX improvements
Everything WorkFusion does is driven by our mission to help enterprises achieve digital operations, and we spent time with our customer product council to ensure that SPA 9 delivered for their needs. The result — in software speak — is self-service AI capabilities that optimize our customers’ service delivery, increase their customer satisfaction, improve risk management, lower costs, and drive operational agility through real-time workforce scalability to help their businesses outpace change. In laymen’s terms, WorkFusion SPA is an AI-driven product that would make proud Benjamin Franklin, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, and the many other brilliant inventors who helped make electricity light-switch-simple.
*RPA Express is no longer included in WorkFusion’s product offering.