This is the next entry in a series of posts previewing the topics and viewpoints that will be discussed at our annual Digital Workforce Summit in May. Click on the registration button at the bottom of this post for more information.
As your business considers where and how to invest for growth, it’s crucial that you try to imagine how business will be conducted in the future. Rather than trying to incrementally improve what you already have today, get ahead of what will happen two years from now.
What if instead of dozens of applications running through unrelated interfaces, every business task spanning IT, HR, Finance, and Administration could be conducted through one platform on a single interface? What if instead of contacting the IT department, the HR team, or the finance lead for minor issues, you could connect this overarching platform to an Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) designed to automate, inform and accelerate tasks? You would have entirely reinvented the way you do business.
The combination of automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is what’s known as Intelligent Automation. By building off of AI’s ability to learn processes and apply knowledge, businesses can reduce the extent of manual labor delegated to rote processes. AI and Intelligent Automation use cognitive intelligence, machine learning and collaboration with humans to make real-time decisions. The software processes a request, uses its intelligence to find information and makes a judgment about which information best applies to a resolution. It learns, improves over time and becomes faster at finding resolutions.
This means that your standard out-of-the-box automations will no longer become obsolete, or need to be adjusted when there are changes to your technology ecosystem. Think of Intelligent Automation as a self-improving technology. It doesn’t need to be replaced as it ages, and it doesn’t rely on a vendor to make constant upgrades in order to improve.
The advantages and value delivered by Intelligent Automation will be one of a myriad of topics discussed at this year’s Digital Workforce Summit (DWS), scheduled for May 8 in New York City. As the industry’s premier AI event, DWS presents a unique opportunity to hear how the implementation of AI-related technologies can completely transform the business-as-usual within enterprises.
Intelligent Automation and AI Provide Real Value
So, let’s break down the use of Intelligent Automation on a practical level: Tom has a support issue. He sends an IVA a message directly, rather than filling out a ticket and endlessly waiting for a response. The IVA responds immediately. Either it can help Tom directly or it can’t. If it can help, great — the process will be resolved immediately via automation. If the IVA cannot help, it will find a staff member who has the right knowledge and who isn’t knee-deep in more pressing matters.
Jenny, the staff member, receives a notification from the IVA explaining Tom’s issue. Jenny has never resolved this specific problem, but she has resolved very similar issues. Jenny asks the IVA to pull up the log of a previous resolution, and she makes several tweaks to the underlying code within the resolution, creating a new workflow. A major advantage is that the IVA observed Jenny completing this process and stored the information. If Tom experiences the same problem next week, the IVA won’t need to escalate the issue to Jenny.
What if Jenny doesn’t have a template from a previous incident? What if she has to create a resolution from scratch? Will this throw the IVA for a loop? Absolutely not. In this instance, Jenny will perform her normal tasks using whatever systems are required. She makes changes and fixes. Meanwhile, the IVA records her work and pulls the underlying code from Jenny’s keystrokes and cursor movements. When Jenny’s done, a full process log has been scripted and turned into an automation.
Here’s where we get to a higher level of innovation: While Tom and Jenny are away from work, the AI within the software is analyzing the automations that it helped Jenny build. It runs the processes continuously, attempting to find a better way to solve the problem. This will not always work, because Jenny is simply very good at her job and knows the best fix. However, every once in a while the AI will find a shortcut or a deviation that is less complex, and will want to create a new automation, so it will send a message to an automation engineer for approval. Think about that for a second: Your automation system will actually create new automations. That would have been unheard of just a few short years ago.
This Isn’t Science Fiction
What if Tom has an issue that is only tangentially related to technology and doesn’t involve the IT department? What if he wants to log a vacation day? While logging that request today may be cumbersome, here’s how Tom would perform that task in the future: He will send a PTO request to the IVA, who in turn will contact Tom’s boss, who then will tell the IVA that the time off is approved.
Before Tom takes time off, he needs to onboard almost 1,000 new employees who’ve just come over from a recently acquired company. In the good old days, Tom would have had to work day and night to manually onboard these employees, providing them with access to the proper systems and devices. Today, Tom contacts the IVA and asks it to onboard a list of employees via a file containing their associated access levels. The IVA scans the list and assigns a bot to run an onboarding automation. If Tom needs the job done twice as quickly, he has the IVA assign two bots to run the same automation, and the bots scale dynamically.
What if the IVA has never onboarded an employee? It will watch Tom onboard a single employee and record the steps, including where Tom pulled original data and where he put it within the system. Once the IVA has recorded the process, a bot can repeat this for each employee who joined the company due to the merger.
Here’s the best news: This is real technology available today. The problem is, if you’re only thinking about what hasn’t worked during the past year, instead of how you want technology to work within the next year, you’ll never be able to reimagine how you do business. Take a step back, envision an easier way, trust the technology that’s already available, and get started on your transformation journey.