Evolving from Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to Intelligent Automation

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Automation has been around for thousands of years since people first harnessed the power of waterwheels and windmills. Throughout the 1900s, automation was performed using physical machinery and robots, but by the turn of the century, artificial intelligence (AI) programs were moving away from physical bots. Today, new technology has helped businesses integrate artificial intelligence, automation, and customer data into powerful business tools. These advanced capabilities make it easier to make decisions and engage with customers. The development and availability of AI and automation products for businesses in the cloud drive the growth of new technology.

While most people are now familiar with the term robotic process automation (RPA), intelligent automation is often misunderstood. Let’s take a look at how RPA evolved into intelligent automation and why that matters for your business.

The Evolution Of Automaton: RPA To Intelligent Automation

Automation: A Brief History

Throughout human history, homo-sapiens have searched for ways to make their lives easier. After all, it’s a natural survival instinct to seek out ways to do more with less energy. There is ample evidence that our earliest ancestors used automation tools to enhance their lives; In fact, one of the earliest ever found was a water clock from 4000 BC.

During the Industrial Revolution between 1790 and 1840, automation began to be used in industry. Interest in technology only grew from there, and in 1837, Charles Babbage started working on a prototype machine that would eventually earn the name ‘computer.’

The first autonomous robots were then invented in 1948 by William Grey Walter. As time went on, academia took notice of robotic automation’s potential, with Dartmouth University introducing the term ‘artificial intelligence’ and the field of AI research in the 1950s.  This encouraged many to continue the development of robotics and officially started research into the development of artificial intelligence.

Automation in technology came to life in the 1960s with the introduction of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. Throughout the 90s, automation went beyond physical bots to digital platforms. Today, automation and artificial intelligence have become integral parts of the modern business world.

RPA To Intelligent Automation

What is the difference between robotic process automation and intelligent process automation?

Intelligent automation uses algorithms to automate business processes that were once manual. These algorithms can learn from past interactions and adapt over time, which means they can handle processes that change frequently. This level of sophistication makes intelligent automation significantly more powerful than RPA.

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a form of software that automates repetitive tasks, usually in back-office operations. A computer program or “digital worker” mimics user actions on the computer system to perform these tasks. The goal is to make processes more efficient, more consistent, and less costly by removing humans from the loop.

Why Intelligent Automation

Intelligent automation is the next generation of process automation. Intelligent automation uses artificial intelligence to automate repetitive processes in a business, allowing humans to focus on strategic priorities.

Benefits of intelligent process automation include:

Agility—Intelligent automation uses artificial intelligence to learn from past experiences and make decisions on its own. These tools have decision-making capabilities which means they can handle variable tasks independently.

Full process automation—RPA works well, automating repetitive tasks that are part of larger processes. Intelligent automation can automate an entire process from start to finish, allowing businesses to transform their operations digitally.

Improved accuracy and efficiency—Intelligent automation eliminates human error by eliminating manual data entry and processing. It also speeds up processes by automating manual tasks and providing real-time visibility into progress.

Faster response times—With intelligent automation, you can respond more quickly to customer inquiries or other requests for service, increasing customer satisfaction, and loyalty.

Improved decision-making capabilities—Intelligent automation helps businesses make better decisions by providing real-time insights into operational performance, which improves decision-making processes across the organization.

The building blocks of an Enterprise Automation Strategy—Organizations that continually evaluate their position in the marketplace, developing and refining their goals and growth plans, can supercharge their path to success with an Enterprise Automation Strategy. An Enterprise Automation Strategy gives businesses the agility they need to thrive in unpredictable environments.

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The Data Doesn’t Lie

Intelligent process automation can be used in any industry and for any type of business process — from finance and accounting (invoice processing, reconciliation), call center (creating a better customer experience), marketing campaigns (mining communications to measure customer sentiment), to manufacturing (supply chain management), and more.

Per an IBM Institute study, over 90% of C-level executives using intelligent automation say their organization performs above average in staying agile in rapidly changing environments. The same report found that the business process categories that can most benefit from automation include transactional work, managing financial resources, customer services, and delivering physical products.

A McKinsey research publication shows that companies who are already working with intelligent automation have been able to automate 50 – 70% of tasks, increase annual run-rate cost efficiencies by 25-30%, reduce straight-through process time by 50 to 60%, and enjoy a return on investments in the triple-digit percentages.

Leveraging Intelligent Automation Solutions To Achieve Superior Business Outcomes In 2023

RPA is a truly transformational technology, but it is not enough on its own. Those who do not have an Enterprise Automation Strategy in place will lag behind their competition. At Lydonia Technologies, we focus on helping our clients scale their automation programs by leveraging the near-endless capabilities of Intelligent Automation.

We believe an Enterprise Automation Strategy should be comprehensive and include: RPA, Conversational AI, Data Analytics, as well as AI and ML. Our Automation Consultants will work to develop the right mix of complementary and emerging technologies to supercharge your Intelligent Automation strategy.

Lydonia Technologies has deep expertise in the UiPath platform as well as the emerging supporting and complementary technologies such as:

Schedule an Automation Assessment with one of our Automation Consultants. An Automation Assessment can benefit anyone on the path to automation. We will work with you to review your processes and strategies to ensure you’re getting the most out of Intelligent Automation.