Intelligent Process Automation

Intelligent process automation: what, how and why

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Most of the time, business processes – for instance the internal workflow to approve loan requests – move at a snail’s pace. The amount of manual work involved makes them inefficient, driving up costs for your organization. The biggest downside, however, is low customer satisfaction. In a time when quicker is better, clients don’t like to wait for a loan approval or getting their query forwarded to ten different people. But with the clever use of the available data and intelligent technologies, you can automate and improve a whole range of processes to speed things up.

IPA, what’s that?

No, we’re not talking about an India Pale Ale or the International Phonetic Alphabet. IPA stands for Intelligent Process Automation. It can be considered a more advanced form of Robotic Process Automation. The difference between RPA and IPA isn’t always that clear, however. Some also describe IPA as the overarching term, and RPA as a step in intelligently automating your processes. In the latter, a computer creates a list of tasks that need to be automated by observing a user performing them manually first. It is then able to automate certain basic tasks without human intervention.

If you go further along the spectrum, IPA truly becomes intelligent when you add more advanced technologies, most notably artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). It becomes RPA on steroids. By adding natural language processing, face or voice recognition and more, we can automate to never-before-seen levels. For clarity’s sake, when we talk about IPA, we always mean automation through ML and AI.

How to add intelligence to process automation

Many AI and machine learning capabilities can be used to make your processes flow much more smoothly. Text classification can more accurately route documents to the correct inbox and add priority levels, helping you handle requests quicker. It can also sort them into the right folders to eliminate the need to download files in the correct place. Once correctly classified and stored, technologies like intelligent capture, entity extraction and computer vision can help extract important information from the documents, whether they are text files or unstructured formats like video and images.

These first techniques are often the foundation on which to build further automation. The data gained from these steps can then be fed into other artificial intelligence algorithms to generate documents, automatically fill in forms or formulate an answer to a customer question. Once all the documents are created, intelligent technology validates them. To secure data and your customers, AI-driven anomaly detection identifies fraud and possible errors.

Why add AI

Apart from sounding quite fancy, adding intelligent capabilities to your processes creates a number of advantages. For starters, any foray into automation reduces the amount of manual work that is needed. With AI and machine learning, we broaden the scope of what computers can do for us. At Docbyte, we’re confident that we can automate up to 85 percent of manual operations. However, as machines cannot be relied on for the full 100 percent, we leave room for human intervention and review.

From less manual work a slew of other improvements flow. It means less room for human error, improving the accuracy of your work. It reduces costs as the same work can be done with fewer resources and it saves time as you work more efficiently. Clients using our digital mailroom, for instance, have noticed a reduction of 30 percent in claims expenses. While these are mostly internal company benefits, customers are also served better. Their inquiries are handled faster, with more accuracy and consistent quality. Moreover, the resulting process is quick and hassle-free, so it is much more pleasant.

Great things happen when you IPA

When you combine AI and machine learning technologies in your process, great things happen. For instance, in a digital onboarding journey, one of the greatest frustrations of customers is having to reenter the same information over and over again. Especially after they’ve just uploaded a document containing that data. Machine learning can understand the contents of an uploaded document. The data it obtains can then be used to speed up the next steps of the process. For instance, a form can be automatically filled in based on the previously extracted data, leaving only blanks for new information. Or it can even quickly feed that information into a new document, such as an invoice.

AI in your digital mailroom improves your customer support. By reading and, most importantly, understanding your customers’ emails, algorithms can indicate the type of inquiry received. Based on this assessment, other rules in your business workflow can triage the inquiry to the right person without human intervention. Questions about invoices are sent straight to finance without mistakenly being sent to another department first or someone triaging a general inbox. Not only does this save you time, but your clients also get answers much faster.

Curious about how these technologies could speed up your internal processes? Reach out to our experts. They’ll gladly talk to you about intelligently automating processes and share an India Pale Ale with you too.