What is Intelligent Automation? How getting it wrong can stifle Digital Transformation
Intelligent Automation is commonly defined as simply the combination of Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence.
But a definition like this betrays a technology-first perspective that actually loses sight of the promise of Intelligent Automation and the benefits that people and organizations can receive when that promise is realized.
Intelligent Automation is THE means to accomplish Digital Transformation, which involves the use of digital technologies to become responsive and resilient in a world defined by a rapid and accelerating rate of change (an acceleration that is itself the result of the widespread digital technology adoption). If Digital Transformation is the what, then Intelligent Automation is the how.
If Intelligent Automation is the how of Digital Transformation, then Intelligent Automation cannot simply involve Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), because RPA by itself is only meant to be a stop gap measure that increases business performance in the early stages of a digital transformation journey. But too many businesses, after seeing the value of RPA, stop there as if their digital transformation journey was complete. When that happens, viewing Intelligent Automation as kind of RPA 2.0 only serves to stunt a business’s development.
TRUE Intelligent Automation is more than RPA. It involves RPA, to be sure, but in a way that acknowledges that RPA (even if powered by AI) is only the first step. TRUE Intelligent Automation is (1) an organization’s ability [the people part], (2) to use a single, flexible, and resilient low-code development environment [the technology part] to automate business processes with smart, integrated enterprise applications that can be built quickly, and that are easy to maintain over time and in the face of constant change.