In the last decade, digital transformation (DX) has evolved massively from IT, data mining, virtual collaborations, mobile, internet to the application of new age technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotic automation and Intelligent Automation that are virtually disrupting the structural and organizational function of practically all businesses today.
Almost all sectors from finance, customer care, IT, and supply chain management are reworking their organizational strategies to incorporate digital transformation in their sector. Personalization is taking new shape with AI and machine learning.
A Gartner survey (2017), has found that 42% of CEOs have already begun the process of digital transformation in their business while 56% of them made gains after implementing automation. Among their top business priorities for 2017–2018, 31% of the respondents cited IT-related targets.
As per experts, 2018 would see a synergy in functioning of AI and intelligent process automation which had evolved, so far, on independent paths.
Today, the key drivers of digital transformation is Intelligent Automation which simply put is the combination of automation and Artificial Intelligence for business functioning.
Many companies have already ventured into systems where machines have replaced humans for strenuous and repetitive tasks. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) not only performed business functions accurately and efficiently, but also learned, analyzed and reasoned out of inputs being fed — all while ensuring high speed transactions and cost savings.
With intelligent automation, the dynamics are further changing. Human and machines can work in concert and interact to achieve the best business process functioning.
Gartner defines intelligent automation services as the umbrella term for a variety of strategies, skills, tools and techniques that service providers are using to remove the need for labour, and increase the predictability and reliability of services while reducing the cost of delivery.
DD Mishra, research director at Gartner said “Intelligent automation will alter the provision of managed workplace services over the next few years, increasing service quality at a lower price.”
He further states, “Sourcing and vendor management leaders must prepare to restructure these services and renegotiate contracts to leverage intelligent automation. Automation-driven improvements in service delivery and pricing will allow sourcing and vendor management leaders to select a wider range of moving managed workplace services (MWS) outcomes that will improve quality and cost simultaneously.”
Intelligent Automation can successfully:
- Cut down high labour cost
- Compensate for shortage of workforce
- Process large volumes of complex data
- Provide speed and accuracy in operations
New generation of software and physical robots can perform a host of cognitive and physical tasks which supersedes human abilities.
59% of the global business leaders who intend to use AI believe their organization will begin investing within two to three years. On average, companies will invest in IA within four years.
Business leaders further feel that C-level executives have to understand new and emerging technologies (60%) than to have deep specialization in strategy, sales and marketing (40%).
There is a massive growth in online businesses and this has led to an unprecedented rise in the demand of better tools and workforce to manage customer experience.
IA is a potential boon since it can automate and synergistically work with humans to ensure best productivity as compared to hiring humans alone. Banks, credit cards, insurance, online businesses, and relevant companies are leveraging IA to deliver enhanced and personalised customer experiences.
Many such companies have already invested in chat services or chatbots to work in concert with humans for the best customer management.
Intelligent Automation is steadily transforming the vast digital landscape. Nevertheless, there are still many challenges to overcome. Achieving the perfect integration between all apps, quick interconnection, and data management are among the challenges that need to be overcome.
While the majority of global business leaders believe that it is worthwhile to invest in IA, companies are yet to invest as much owing to the dearth of skilled man-power, difficulty in training and skilling employees on IA and other hindrances faced due to cyber security threats and challenges of integrating IA into legacy systems, mainly due to human resistance.
There is a strong polarity amongst business leaders on the fruitfulness of incorporating IA into systems. While most feel, it would boost up their existing functions, a major chunk also feels it would replace existing workforce and snatch away jobs. There is a palpable ‘machine fear factor’ running in the minds of several employees globally.
In the words Stephen Hawking, “The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.”
IA’s greatest impact would be felt by financial services, manufacturing and aerospace sectors.
- 31% of organizations are already using intelligent automation and that number is set to more than double by 2020.
- 86% of global business leaders believe their organization must deploy intelligent automation in the next five years to be a leader in their field.
- According to global business leaders, the top benefits of intelligent automation will be productivity (50%) and faster time-to-market (45%).
- Almost half of business leaders globally (43%) believe intelligent automation will make more workers available to focus on complex tasks and innovation.
- Consumers surveyed by Avanade in the UK, US and Germany agreed with business leaders that intelligent automation will free employees to spend more time on complex tasks while 60% of consumer respondents said that intelligent automation is more likely to replace jobs than create them.
The big challenge for various sectors now is how successfully and strategically can they incorporate IA in their existing workplace ecosystems. Ideally, it should be in such a way that business functions gain momentum while ensuring minimum risks to existing employees through training and reallocating their individual functions.