How are you using intelligent automation in your enterprise?
Kieran Gilmurray is an expert in digital transformation technology and specializes in intelligent automation and robotic process automation. He provides consulting services and recently published an article on LinkedIn that covers the best practices of intelligent automation.
We sat down with Keiran and talked about the best ways for organizations to incorporate automation technology and its impact on their people. This article outlines the top points of the conversation.
Watch the video: Intelligent Automation Top Mistakes and Misconceptions
Why Organizations Should Care About Intelligent Automation
The speed of digital transformation and the need to stay competitive is making many organizations embrace technology to avoid Digital Darwinism.
“Every modern business is or will become a technology business,” says Gilmurray. Gilmurray’s Third Thursday, a digital transformation forum, focuses on incorporating RPA software to improve business value.
RPA software like OpenBots is used to speed-up data collection, reduce errors, improve security, and eliminate repetitive tasks from an employee’s day. IDP tools like Openbots Documents apply to various healthcare, insurance, and mortgage industries and are used to process large volumes of data with error-free precision.
How to digitize, improve efficiencies, and remain competitive is inevitable and unique to each organization. Many companies make the mistake of prioritizing technology over people.
Confusion on What Intelligent Automation is
The automation space is full of technical jargon like hyperautomation, superautomation, and cognitive technology.
For simplicity, intelligent automation is an umbrella term that applies to many technology tools: robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and intelligent document processing.
According to Gilmurry, “in automation, you’re attempting to recreate what people do.” There are many tools and methods to achieve this, but the principles remain true—mimicking human work.
There are different ways to divide the work into manual tasks that involve clicking on computers. Visual tasks will use optical character recognition (OCR) to read data from documents, decision-making based on specific data variables use machine learning algorithms, and listening tasks use natural language processing (NLP).
It’s best not to get caught up in the marketing mud of the terms themselves.
Intelligent automation aims to automate processes by performing work like a human, albeit with fewer errors and greater speed. The more it replicates higher skill sets or cognitive functions, the more “intelligent” it is.
Some Technology May Not Be the Right Fit
Having tech for the sake of having tech doesn’t work. This leads to wasted money, time, and emotions trying to fit a “hot” technology into an organization when it may not be needed.
Businesses should first consider whether the technology is a right fit for their team, department, and culture. Plugging in a piece of technology because everyone else is doing it leads to problems and wasted resources.
Related read: Planning to Buy RPA?
“If you lead with the technology,” Gilmurray says, “you’re in trouble.”
Some processes were never designed for digital but are necessary for the organization. Delivering sensitive information that requires empathy, like a doctor speaking with a patient, is an example.
“Humans should be left to complete tasks where their unique skills are required.” People and processes should guide organizations on what part of the intelligent automation puzzle to adopt, and what to exclude.
Lack of Technical Training
Hiring employees with the right aptitude for learning and then giving them RPA training, mentorship, and tools to excel is essential for successfully using intelligent automation.
To prevent Digital Darwinism, organizations have to continue to evolve digitally. Constant training and education are required and should be part of the company culture.
Handing employees powerful technology and expecting them to figure it out without giving them the resources to do so is a failure of leadership.
Companies that don’t teach their people how to use the key ingredients that will drive digital automation technology efforts can’t expect to evolve.
Companies can model Google’s approach by giving a percentage of time during the workweek to innovate and develop new skills that will serve them in their roles.
Competing Strategies Within an Organization
How an organization addresses intelligent automation and evolving RPA tools will determine its future.
Introducing a new software may seem like the right thing to do, on paper, but has a negative impact on the sales team. There can be a disconnect between the goals of the tech team and the business team, which can create internal friction.
Related read: The Case for RPA in Mid-Market Organizations
Encouraging cooperation between departments is critical. It’s beneficial to have individuals who can translate between the tech and business needs so that both can align and perform their unique skills.
Sooner or later, the level of communication and collaboration will dictate whether the business adopts technology that improves their value to their customers, or they get left beyond by a company that does it better.
Using Technology to “Fix” an Organization
You can’t repair a broken business with great technology. If departments refuse to work together or have inefficient processes, intelligent automation won’t magically solve these issues or act as the glue to unite a team.
Companies that rely on technology to repair their business will fail. Intelligent automation enhances the ability to operate at scale but doesn’t fix broken systems or business units. It works best when used as support to move processes to the next level.
Related read: Three Steps to Starting Successful RPA Program
An example that illustrates this comes from Gillmurrray’s own experience. His previous firm didn’t have a consistent way to gain insight from customer complaints and only addressed a few each month. The process was a manual review and didn’t capture the sentient of broader customer problems.
They solved this using NLP technology to listen in on complaints, tag them with specific keywords, and grade them using a scale. Managers could address specific complaints head-on, armed with accurate information, and they were able to train their team how to respond in the future.
Not Prioritizing Customer Experience
What do customers want, and how do they want to be served? “Listening” to customers comes in a variety of forms, but in total, it’s how do they behave? What are they buying and why? What is their experience with your organization? Uncovering this insight should direct the decision on what technology to use or not use.
Intelligent automation, or any digital automation, is not a project that is time-bound and time-defined, say Gilmurrary. “It’s an endeavor that constantly involves you iterating and inventing, and listening, creating, and building minimum viable products in a plan-do-check-act manner.”
Related read: The Pitfalls of RPA Implementation (And How to Fix Them)
Making the customer experience the priority is good business fundamentals. Organizations should discover how to deliver value by learning from their customers regularly. The feedback can guide decisions on using technology to meet their needs better.
Organizations that assume they know what their customer wants and build a solution around this assumption run into solutions that deliver less value than expected. Gain real-time insight from the employees in the trenches with customers, speak to vendors and use intelligent automation to improve the experience between these interactions.
Bringing Intelligent Automation to Your Organization
Intelligent automation technology isn’t a band-aid that will fix a bad business. It’s simply a tool to achieve better experiences for your customers.
No matter how great intelligent automation technology becomes, it will never replace the need for quality communication and customer experience. Understanding when to rely on intelligent automation and when to leverage human expertise is essential for improving business value.
Do you want to improve your value in the market? We can show you the best ways to implement intelligent automation in your business.
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