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What is intelligent automation?

Here's how intelligent automation minimizes the manual "legwork" and ramps up your team's ability to focus on high-level strategy.

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Intelligent automation definition

Intelligent automation is the use of automation technologies and artificial intelligence that anticipates the needs of users and customers, which brings organizations closer to achieving their digital transformation goals. As a result, organizations and their employees are able to focus on high-value tasks that develop human connections for a more meaningful experience at both the customer and employee level.

According to global research firm IDC, intelligent automation is a key component of the future workspace where content and content-centric workflows are instantly accessible regardless of location. This enables secure collaboration and contribution that leads to overall benefits in cost savings, productivity, collaboration and operational workflow.

How does intelligent automation work?

Intelligent automation combines several key technologies like robotic process automation, machine learning, business process automation, intelligent routing and natural language processing, to name a few. These technologies are interconnected and are part of a broader, strategic, well-funded digital transformation plan.

  • Intelligent capture identifies and extracts information from documents automatically — whether in paper or digital format. It uses a combination of optical character recognition (OCR), intelligent character recognition, optical mark recognition and barcode recognition to capture structured or unstructured data.

  • Workflow automation is software that defines a series of tasks based on a process and automatically acts on those tasks without the need for human intervention or manual steps. It is part of the larger business process management solution that optimizes business processes and provides real-time visibility for informed decision-making and better business insights. 

  • Machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence where systems learn from data, patterns and inference to act on unanticipated variations with minimal human intervention. These machine learning systems are able to autonomously continue their learning over time. Some examples of how machine learning is used in various industries are fraud detection in banking, disease diagnosis in healthcare and invoice processing in accounts payable. 

  • Robotic process automation allows organizations to automate tasks performed on applications and systems that are repetitive with little variance. It is relatively fast and easy to integrate into existing IT architecture with immediate benefits such as reducing manual tasks, eliminating data entry errors and improving turnaround time.

Learn more | What is Hyperautomation?

Three co-workers sit at a conference desk with coffee and a single laptop to strategize their intelligent automation strategy.

A practical guide to intelligent automation

How should you choose the right automation tools for your organization’s needs and goals? Start with insights from advisory firm Deep Analysis, including types of automation tools and their differences, seven steps to deciding which automation tools to use and how leading companies approach their automation initiatives.

Automation is everywhere. It’s time to put it to work for you.

How intelligent automation can transform your business

Digital transformation is a strategic undertaking to incorporate technologies into all aspects of an organization’s processes to meet changing business demands and customer expectations. A core part of digital transformation is work transformation and it aims to create an employee experience-focused culture using intelligent automation.

In this regard, intelligent automation benefits businesses by:

  • Increasing business value by reducing costs and improving speed, accuracy and transparency. Automation driven by machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, text analytics and chatbots will have the biggest impact on operational processes like customer communications management, data capture, business process management and case management.
  • Improving the employee experience by minimizing repetitive, manual tasks and removing bottlenecks, enabling workers to focus on higher-value assignments. Employees play a more important role than ever throughout the digital transformation journey as they transition to become more strategic and focus on building relationships — things that technology and machines cannot do.
  • Improving the customer experience (and all stakeholder experience) by serving the right information to the right users at the right time. Using intelligent automation empowers organizations to out-think the competition by reinventing the business and driving new deliverables, contributing to improved customer experience.

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