Change is contagious, or at least it should be. When customers and the market change, software providers need to respond with new tools to let companies respond to that change with agility, speed and precision. RPA has been around for a decade, and although it’s really taken off the last 12 months, users of the first generation of RPA have already started to hit the limits of “RPA 1.0.” At the same time, fault lines within large, established businesses are widening and further risking profitability and revenue. They need automation capabilities that most first-generation, rules-based RPA software products don’t have. Industry awards are one of a few signals that customers use to identify new ways of solving problems. WorkFusion just won two important awards which signal the arrival of a new wave of automation capabilities that solve bigger problems.
What did we win, and why?
Judges of the third annual AIconics in San Francisco selected WorkFusion as the Best Innovation in RPA out of a shortlist that included the three biggest first-generation RPA providers. AIconics judges selected WorkFusion Smart Process Automation (SPA), our flagship AI-driven process automation product, for allowing our customers to automate complex processes from end-to-end on a single platform with the lowest total cost of ownership of any RPA product.
What does “complex” mean? Lots of tasks, lots of unstructured data, and people working around the world on different components of the process. Think of claims handling in insurance, loan origination in financial services, and accounts payable in shared services. First-generation RPA providers automate predictable, repetitive tasks with defined, invariable inputs. WorkFusion SPA not only automates these tasks but also automates and orchestrates the complex, unstructured work within the process from start to finish. WorkFusion SPA won the AIconics Best Innovation in RPA award because no other process automation product delivers this capability, and in a single, unified platform to boot.
During the same two days, across the Pacific Ocean in Singapore, WorkFusion was awarded TechXLR8 Asia’s Best Application of AI in Financial Services award. Given that banking and insurance as a combined market segment is the biggest consumer of RPA, this is significant. WorkFusion SPA won for helping 25% of the biggest U.S. banks, three of the top 10 insurance companies and half of the top 10 global financial data providers to automate some of the most challenging, costly processes in the industry. Most global banks spend $1 billion a year on anti money laundering (AML) alone, and WorkFusion is the only product that can automate complex AML components like negative news, source of wealth and beneficial ownership. Insurance company customers send claims appeals to their providers in a wide variety of formats through a wide variety of channels. WorkFusion SPA is the only process automation product that can structure and integrate all of this complex information and actually make data-driven decisions about the right outcomes. Implementing this unique cognitive automation freed up over 18,000 work hours a year for one of the biggest property insurers in the United States.
What does this mean for customers?
Cathy Tornbaum, one of Gartner’s top analysts and a specialist in the RPA category, points out in her June 27, 2018, report, Robotic Process Automation: 8 Guidelines for Effective Results, that most RPA products are not well suited for processes with unstructured data. Gartner’s research also points out that 80% of data within a business is unstructured. Unstructured data is a massive and growing problem for enterprise operations, and first-generation RPA products do not have the capabilities to solve it. WorkFusion SPA does. In the Wall Street Journal last week, The Hackett Group’s Erik Dorr observes that “’there’s no real software magic’” in products provided by the three biggest companies in the RPA space, but the missing magic is what provides customers real progress and ROI.
What is magic? Software robots that learn.
WorkFusion SPA provides bots which are able to detect, learn and adapt their function and performance using real-time, variable data, making SPA the only viable solution for businesses that have processes with variable inputs and decision points. These powerful self-driving bots eliminate the need for data scientists or developers to continuously monitor, analyze and reprogram bots, which makes process automation more practical, productive and cost-effective for enterprise companies. It is this unique capability that turns RPA from a simple integration tool into a software solution that lets a company transform its operations, create new revenue models, and compete with the born-digital businesses that are rapidly taking market share in every industry.
The magic isn’t just in having native AI that automates unstructured data, which no other RPA product has. The magic is in making it simple. The magic is in bringing together each critical capability in the automation value chain into a single, scalable enterprise platform that does small things as well as big things. By bringing these capabilities, like data ingestion, RPA, machine learning and business process management (BPM) into one platform, WorkFusion SPA saves customers the time and money of stitching together point tools, learning multiple interfaces, and managing and maintaining different products. Magic is providing the most capability of any solution in the RPA industry while delivering the lowest total cost of ownership of any product on the market.
What does this mean for the RPA industry?
Every technology arrives in waves. The first wave is simple and solves simple problems. The second wave is complex and solves complex problems. The third wave is simple and solves complex problems. Two years ago, WorkFusion was a complex product that solved complex problems for visionary companies who were willing to co-create and build, alongside our product team, revolutionary solutions that transformed how they do business. Today, WorkFusion is still a revolutionary product that powers aggressive transformation programs, but it’s simpler, faster and cheaper for business people to use.
Our mission is not to make waves in the technology market. Our mission is to help our customers respond with agility to constant change and beat their competitors by moving faster. The side effect of succeeding at our customer-focused mission will be painful pressure on increasingly big software companies which are focused more on selling small deals that are predicated on the promise of adding AI sometime down the road. At some point, those companies will have to build some kind of magic into their products. At some point, their customers, if they haven’t already, will expect more than just task automation. As evidenced by recognition from all of the smartest analysts, by earning the best companies in every industry as customers, and now, by winning two of the highest honors in the RPA and AI world, we’re ready when first-generation RPA customers are ready for the next wave.