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New hybrid models of work developed during the pandemic are leading many organisations to rethink their IT as they increasingly rely on sophisticated cloud platforms and remote access to VPNs and business applications.
And just as this significant shift takes place, artificial intelligence (AI) opens the door to a new level of automation that excels at more complex and demanding workflows and teaches itself how to improve. Automation is going beyond specific admin functions to streamline entire customer journeys with significant benefits for businesses and the people they serve.
Industries adapting their IT to the new patterns of work are well-placed to adopt these advances and reap the rewards of greater efficiency and reduced overheads. If a company is already documenting processes and the steps required, it has commenced the groundwork for automation and should now consider AI-driven intelligent process automation (IPA).
In financial services, for example, a hyperautomation platform using IPA will transform how a consumer obtains approval for a loan or mortgage. Once a consumer has indicated on a bank or lender’s website that they want a loan, a chatbot takes them through all the steps required, providing a service which is quicker, more user-friendly and accurate than unguided form-filling. IPA takes the information provided and uses it to conduct background checks and due diligence before deciding on the application. If a new loan or account is approved, the solution can then complete the necessary processes to have it ready for use.
This new type of intelligent automation not only delivers significant cost and efficiency gains, it also gives hugely greater confidence about regulatory compliance for the financial sector. Optical character recognition technology (OCR) can scan documents to achieve compliance with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements.
This is not, however, a technology requiring data science expertise or extensive reorganisation of infrastructure. A vendor such as AutomationEdge already has 400 bots, for example and integrates a wide range of IPA capabilities and technologies, including:
Chatbots and “intelligent bots”
IT process automation
Computer vision to extract useful information from video and digital images
User interface automation
Optical character recognition (OCR)
ETL (Extract, transform and load capabilities for copying data from widely different sources into a centralised destination system ready for use)
Big data connectors
Among the many advantages of this type of cloud-based IPA is flexible pricing which allows organisations to scale and flex their expenditure as their needs vary. Many vendors, for example, offer a pay-as-you-go model, where payment is based on the hours of automation used or transactions completed.
Businesses may still feel IPA is out of reach because of time. In fact, IPA implementations are ready to go once adapted to an organisation’s requirements and data sources, providing very rapid return on investment. A typical, straightforward automation requires just two-to-four weeks.
There are, however, many IPA vendors and since this is a new field for many organisations, Xcession has put together a quick-read guide to IPA to help understand what the technology might deliver and how it is best implemented. It is vital to choose the right vendor and toolset and achieve an implementation that fits their specific business requirements.
Any organisation, particularly one in financial services that is undergoing internal change to accommodate new post-pandemic business practices, should be investigating IPA. This is the perfect opportunity to seize a fast-emerging but proven technology that will be the difference between the winners and also-rans in many sectors. Organisations using intelligent automation quickly will see productivity improvements of many factors.