Autonomic systems allow companies to be both more efficient and more productive

For many businesses, autonomics can be a key technology to remain competitive within their rapidly changing industries. Autonomics is a term borrowed from biology that has found new utility in the IT space. In the human body, the autonomic nervous system manages vital activities subconsciously (e.g. digestion, heartbeats, breathing); in enterprise systems, autonomic technologies take on complex business tasks with limited human oversight (everything from HR to IT to virtual infrastructure management).

As companies expand, their digital systems can grow too unwieldy and disparate for a purely human workforce to efficiently manage on their own. This is where technology plays a pivotal role. If employees are required to execute routine multi-step procedures in pursuit of a goal, then automation will help your company do more with less. If your value chain requires rapid decision-making and other cognitive tasks to set those procedures in action, then you need to look to autonomics.

A problem of complexity

The past century has seen automation fundamentally redefine work and productivity. So many business operations have been automated that, ironically, some systems have increased in complexity rather than been simplified.

For example, digital technologies allow accounts payable (AP) departments to process payments at rapid speeds. This is an area ripe for automation as the US B2B payment market is set to explode over the next few years, with a marked increase in cross-border payments. Digital AP systems allow business to deliver fast payments to multiple vendors across multiple time zones. However, this increased volume and speed brings about new problems, e.g. linking payments to confirmed deliverance of goods and services in a timely manner.

Autonomic systems allow companies to be both more efficient and more productive.

In a previous technological era, efficiently releasing payments would involve numerous human inputs and manual processes across a vast array of departments (e.g. confirming with inventory or logistics for delivery of goods, authorizing payment, confirming payment details, and transmitting the funds). However, an autonomic system can automate all these actions and unify disparate departments to increase efficiencies.

An AP system with autonomic functionality automatically collects data from other parts of the business to confirm delivery of good or services before releasing payment. More interestingly, autonomic systems have the ability to self-optimize. For example, the system could collect all relevant data to highlight underperforming vendors and even proactively notify them of shortcomings. Conversely, the system could identify the over-performing “rock stars” and recommend a bonus. The important element is the automation of multiple tasks (including decision making) with limited human input, which serves to enhance the system as a whole.

Decreased overhead while increasing productivity

By automating both decision-making and execution of tasks, enterprises increase productivity while limiting overhead. These savings can then be reinvested elsewhere in the business.

With autonomics, human operators issue high level commands, which the system will then independently execute. This process is further accelerated with digital colleagues such as Amelia who offer natural language interfaces to take input on the front-end, while providing end-to-end functionality and machine learning on the back-end to execute commands.

For example, a manager could ask Amelia to earmark all employees who spent more than 20% of their time on a successful project for a potential bonus (as opposed to human workers manually researching and calculating employee hours which can quickly turn into a time-sucking activity). To take this example a step further, AI could take on decision making and decide which projects and workloads deserved bonuses and recommend allocations accordingly – freeing both managers and workers from mundane work so they can spend their time/resources on work that truly matters.

As global enterprise systems become increasingly complex and interconnected, companies need to find ways to increase efficiencies wherever they can. While technology has been the engine behind many of these complexities, autonomics can be the solution to solving them.