The importance of unlocking process automation’s potential

By adopting automation technologies, organizations can increase both operational efficiency and ROI

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Alice Clochet

Intelligent automation (IA), the combined use of RPA and AI, is a critical tool used by businesses to increase ROI and operational efficiency. By minimizing manual work, IA enables employees to refocus their attention on tasks that add more value to their businesses. Based on findings from PEX Network’s Intelligent Automation: RPA and AI Report 2020, we take look at some of the best practices and leading trends in the world of automation.

Rolling out a major and successful RPA program within an organization requires a sound situational awareness of a company’s processes and a willingness to solve any problem. Stephan Blasilli, corporate initiatives and lean director at EDP Renewables, who has spent the past three years overseeing the energy firm’s RPA program, says: “Before undertaking such a major program, we had to really understand how employees’ work was divided between rigid, structured processes that we could focus on automating, and knowledge work which still requires human input.”

Once implemented, RPA combined with AI can manage and analyze a vast amount of data, and free human workers’ time up to focus on tasks that add value to the business, in turn increasing a businesses’ ROI.

At insurance firm AON, employees spent 80 per cent of their time manually inputting data generated from an app used by consumers. Vipul Vohra, former vice president, head of quality and continuous improvement at the firm, says: “We were able to automate our largest volume apps. In our first year [of running RPA], the return was about $22m.”

With RPA technology now at a mature stage, debates have arisen on its future use with AI. RPA could be used to automate the information it gathers and feed it directly to an AI engine or AI could carry out data mining and feed it to RPA to process.

One thing is clear for Donnie MacColl, director of EMEA technical services at HelpSystems. “I think RPA and AI will merge into one technology,” MacColl remarks. “By the end of the year, we will see a proliferation of high profile use cases for companies that are using RPA and AI merged into one.”

Learn more about how to successfully implement a RPA strategy at scale by registering to the fourth annual RPA & IA Live, taking place online on 22-24 June 2020.