– By Biswanath Choudhary
In a data-driven world, we are expected to draw conclusions, make predictions, and drive informed decision-making. And to make that happen, the collection, transformation, and organization of data are critical. In the last few years, along with Data Analytics, Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Internet of Things (IoT), Intelligent Automation (IA) has gained popularity as they are enabling software bots to replicate human actions to perform tasks effectively. The rising adoption has triggered improved operational efficiency, reduced time-to-market, and guaranteed high security.
The disruptions driven by the pandemic are compelling businesses to leverage emerging technology in a more strategic manner. To truly complement their human workforce, businesses are integrating IA to automate end-to-end processes enterprise-wide. IA or cognitive automation combines next-gen technologies such as AI and business process management. It also leverages technologies like analytics, ML, deep learning, as well as natural language processing (NLP). IA is creating big waves as it holds the potential to make the most significant impact on the organizations’ growth and development cycle.
With an IA strategy, the global organizations can:
- Abolish manual input of data for different tasks
- Solve complex challenges to drive operational efficiencies
- Make contextual decisions to eradicate human errors
- Respond to process fragmentation and future uncertainties
- Integrate leading applications and tools to smooth functioning
- Enhance productivity gains along with higher cost savings
With so many benefits on offer, IA is transforming the dynamics of the digital world. IA presents large, medium, and small businesses with opportunities to launch or scale their automation program, cut down on hiring costs, and enhance process efficiencies. With hybrid working environments in place, automated workplace tools offer the best way to accelerate organizational growth.
Benefits of IA in finance
While the global financial services industry – be it asset managers, hedge funds, private equity players, or private banks – is aware of data analytics, ML, AI, and IA, they are slowly warming up to integrating smart automation. Banking is perceived as one of the top sectors that will spend the most on AI solutions by 2024. By combining automation solutions, including ML, AI, and NLP, the financial sector is moving from automating specific operations to end-to-end processes.
Bridging the supply chain’s disruption gaps
The pandemic disrupted the world’s supply chain, and the global shipping, transportation, and manufacturing industries experienced the biggest hits. The shipping industry reported a 1.52 million work loss since March 2020, and through 2024 a shortage of 330,000 truckers is forecasted. The Great Resignation and the global supply chain disruption are closely intertwined and exacerbate one another. It is time for businesses to get creative and agile in their operation to manage their supply chains and most important assets – their people. While there is no easy answer to the crisis, technologies like IA, AI, and ML are proving to be of assistance. IA is assisting them in bridging the gaps in their supply chain processes, streamlining them, and making them more efficient.
IA and its support for retail
With IA, businesses can track customers’ shopping patterns and adjust their offers as well as recommendations. This will not only assist in raising customer satisfaction but will help foster a sense of relationship that is built on trust. With IA, they can also track customers’ emotional responses to a product or service. This information can be used to test the customers’ preferences and adjust the marketing approach.
Adoption of IA in SMBs
Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are showing interest in adopting digital technologies, and their most prominent use case is process optimization. Businesses are scaling their IA adoption to handle employees as well as processes efficiently. By integrating IA in process discovery and assessment frameworks, they can gain actionable insights for informed decision-making and building an automated production pipeline. With more affordable automation options available, SMBs can now benefit from reducing costs, improving customer service, and enhancing competitiveness.
While RPA was the go-to tactical lever for organizations globally, very swiftly, ‘Intelligent Process Automation’ is becoming the epitome of the next-gen operating model. It assists them in reducing operating costs by automating error-prone manual processes. While it ensures high productivity and efficiency, it also aids in reducing operational risks and cognitive capabilities by simplifying and speeding up processes. With IA, businesses are moving their goals from simply adopting task automation to achieving intelligent mechanisms for faster and more insightful decision-making.
With most of the processes being automated across domains like Finance, HR, IT, and reporting, organizations are now embarking on embracing IA for operations across manufacturing, inventory management, retail, supply chain, logistics, and research & development. Industries, including banking, financial services, and shared services, also have some catching up to do.
(Biswanath Choudhary is the COO at SG Analytics)