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RPA & IA: the automation tools reshaping business

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has experienced widespread adoption across many sectors and has become an integral part of organizational strategies, with a staggering 94% of businesses either having already implemented RPA or plan to in the near future.

The interest in RPA software is due to its ability to automate routine processes typically handled by humans, freeing workforces from repetitive tasks and enabling focus on more fulfilling endeavors requiring creativity, empathy, and critical thinking. It provides a significant pool of digital labor that can do much of the heavy lifting across end-to-end processes, whilst employees can add values in ways humans are inherently good at.

The shift from manual execution to automated processes not only accelerates task completion but also ensures a significant reduction in errors. This dual impact not only elevates overall operation efficiency but contributes to heightened employee satisfaction. When employees are relieved from monotonous work, fostering a positive environment and enhancing job satisfaction, the ripple effects are felt throughout the entire organization, creating a conducive atmosphere for innovation and collaboration.

Increased productivity is another RPA hallmark. Tasks once consuming hours now complete swiftly and accurately, enabling agile business responses as RPA’s speed facilitates digital transformation, aiding organizations in adapting to dynamic markets. The acceleration of mundane tasks not only improves productivity but also opens up avenues for employees to engage in more strategic, value-added activities, driving holistic business growth.

Beyond immediate advantages, RPA offers numerous benefits for organizations: scalability, compliance, and fortified security measures. In a rapidly evolving landscape, RPA adoption isn’t just a choice but a strategic imperative for organizations to navigate modern complexities effectively. The scalability of RPA allows businesses to respond dynamically to changing demands, ensuring a nimble and adaptive approach in an era where agility is paramount for success. Compliance and security, cornerstones of any robust operational framework, are strengthened through RPA, providing organizations with the confidence to explore new horizons while maintaining the highest standards of governance.

Emily Bristow

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SVP Global Head of Professional Services and Customer Success, SS&C Blue Prism.

Why RPA alone is not enough

Recognizing that while RPA offers significant advantages, it is not a cure-all for all within an organization. RPA’s rules-based nature limits its capability with non-linear and complex processes. It operates effectively within predefined parameters but struggles with tasks involving ambiguity or unstructured data. Recognizing this, organizations are increasingly embracing Intelligent Automation, which encompasses a broader spectrum of technologies, including process orchestration, intelligent document processing, and artificial intelligence.

The automation market has matured, with RPA now working alongside many other technologies within what is referred to as Intelligent Automation (IA). Intelligent automation has the key components to complement RPA – consolidating process orchestration, intelligent document processing (IDP), no-code application development, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and other cognitive technologies – into a single platform model. This vastly increases an organization’s automation capabilities instead of using RPA in isolation and this integration allows for a more sophisticated approach to automation.

Recent research finds that companies are increasingly interested in platforms that use AI and ML features, especially generative AI (Gen AI). The consolidation of artificial intelligence and machine learning features, particularly generative AI (Gen AI), can enable organizations to leverage diverse and fast-growing datasets effectively. The significance of this lies in the ability to make informed decisions, identify risks and opportunities as well as predict future trends. Additionally, the strategic use of generative AI can allow companies to personalize their offerings based on individual preferences. This will not only enhance customer experience but also ensure that the use of AI and ML aligns seamlessly with delivering tailored experiences.

Rather than standalone RPA offerings, more and more organizations will be utilizing platforms for seamless integration and enhanced user experience. According to IDC FutureScape, 70% of enterprises will form strategic ties with cloud computing providers for generative AI platforms, developer tools and infrastructure, requiring new corporate controls for data and cost governance by 2025. Fostering a unified platform experience ensures that any necessary changes are readily communicated and understood by all stakeholders.

Unified platforms help reduce obstacles for customers, enabling users to leverage broader portfolios and technologies from a single vendor. Having an intelligent automation platform ensures greater transparency into business processes, facilitating smoother operations and collaboration across teams because you can streamline processes the smart way with end-to-end automation. This all-encompassing toolkit also offers easy access to advanced cognitive technologies that can take on more complex tasks.

Business units have always been about value, while IT departments are all about technologies. With the push for organizations to be “business-led,” organizations can focus on value, customer journeys and return on investment (ROI). Taking a holistic approach through one centralized automation platform can help you use in-house resources more wisely, reduce manual processes and collect more reliable and timely data. The winning combination of RPA, process orchestration, and AI provides the right tools to get the maximum value for organizations and their customers.

The future of RPA and IA

As already evidenced in the market, the future of RPA undoubtedly lies in combining with technologies under a unified automation platform. The future of automation will likely see even more convergence of technologies due to organizations increasingly looking to simplify their technology stacks and reduce the number of vendors they must manage. As the market matures further, unified automation offerings will become increasingly tied to solutions and business outcomes for specific industries.

As the landscape matures, the convergence of technologies becomes more pronounced, fueled by the organizational imperative to streamline and consolidate vendor management. This convergence isn’t merely a technological shift; it’s testament to businesses recognizing the need for a cohesive and integrated approach to automation. The future beckons towards unified automation offerings, intricately tied to tailored solutions and business outcomes, reflecting a deeper alignment with the specific needs of diverse industries.

However, in this technological evolution, it’s crucial not to overshadow the pivotal role of human workers. The future of business is not solely about automation; rather, it’s about fostering a harmonious collaboration between human and digital workforces. This synergy is a collaborative ecosystem where each complements the strengths of the other. Striking the right balance between automation and human involvement is not just a strategic necessity; it’s the key to unlocking the full potential of a workforce that combines creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence.

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