What You Should Know About Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence2019-04-24T11:38:25.000Z 2019-04-24T11:38:25.000Z What is robotic process automation (RPA)? What is the difference between RPA and AI? Can AI and RPA collaboration bring business benefits? Learn more.
What is robotic process automation (RPA)? What are the advantages of RPA? What is the difference between RPA and AI? What are the successful cases of AI and RPA collaboration in terms of real business? Let’s talk about this.
What is Robotic Process Automation
Robotic Process Automation is a business process automation technology that helps to manage mundane, rule-driven, and repetitive tasks, including those that can be taken care of with the help of robots (bots), machine learning algorithms, and artificial intelligence. As a result, people can focus on working on and reaching more strategic goals (not to mention, more creative.)
For example, according to a McKinsey study, 61% of the average workweek is spent on everyday tasks, like checking email (28%), gathering information (19%), and communication (14%). Granted, not all of that can be automated, but still, the situation can be improved.
How is robotic process automation different from traditional workflow automation? In the conventional process, a developer is the one who sets the rules for automation. In RPA, this is taken care of by the systems themselves as they observe the actions users perform for a given task and then start repeating these actions.
For example, a correctly set up RPA will be able to handle operations such as receiving an email containing an invoice, extracting the data from that email, processing the data, and entering it into the company’s accounting system.
The only disadvantage of an RPA system is the inability to identify patterns and trends in the data automatically, which is where AI comes into play.
Robotic process automation collaboration with artificial intelligence and cognitive technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing, and speech recognition can empower RPA even more. RPA with AI capabilities is often referred to as cognitive RPA or CRPA.
Advantages of RPA & AI
As we have mentioned above, robotic process automation, set up correctly, can streamline many mundane tasks that sap the happiness out of daily work. So, let’s see what the advantages of robotic process automation are.
Efficiency and accuracy: eliminating human error factors
The probability of human error levels increase when the mental stress on the person is excessive (when the person is stressed out), or inadequate (when the person is bored). Repetitive tasks fall under the latter category.
When you have copy-pasted information from an email to your CRM 15-50-100 times, your brain starts to play tricks on you (and you need a break.) This is where the robotic process automation comes into play - bots can handle many human tasks a lot more efficiently. Bots can also scale the productivity of these tasks (because computers can do some things faster than people.)
This process involves a mixture of supervised and unsupervised machine learning algorithms that collect data, structure it, and find patterns.
Process evolution: improving the rule-based processes
Bots also help business processes to evolve and to become better thanks to continuous data examination and model training. One of the traditional machine learning algorithm types is called reinforced learning algorithm, and it’s this algorithm’s job to maximize the results.
Ultimate collaboration: working together
Our world is continually changing, and to stay on top of things, we need to be always on the move as well, adapting to new situations. If people and systems work together, we can make smarter decisions based on business intelligence insights. It also can help to think outside the box because we are working outside of the rules defined by ourselves.
Business Cases for Robotic Process Automation + AI
There are numerous real-life business cases where the implementation of RPA + AI technology can benefit everyone involved.
Robotic Process Automation and HR Department
If you have a dozen employees in your team, then perhaps it’s not hard to do payroll and employee status updates manually. However, when you are a large corporation, these simple tasks start to take too much time.
Welcoming a new hire and onboarding him/her with the company’s processes is a mixture of things that are great when done personally as well as tasks that can be automated. For example, you can automate such processes as creating an intranet account for the new team member, updating the company’s database, sending the login information, and everything else.
Besides simple tasks like this, the organization can also benefit from analytical insights regarding the employee churn based on the categorical and historical data. This helps the company to be proactive in mitigating possible risks as well as ensuring optimal business performance.
Robotic Process Automation and Email Classification
There are tools available on the market that use RPA for email classification and forwarding the emails to the appropriate department based on natural language processing and machine learning. As a result, employees can answer relevant emails without having to dig through the inbox, which leads to less harried workers and more happy customers.
Similar to email classification, RPA can also take care of the call routing to streamline this process and provide a pleasant user experience to the caller. Besides directing the calls to the appropriate department, the AI can also assess the lifetime value and risks involved based on the information from the company’s CRM.
Robotic Process Automation and Fraud Prevention
There is a lot of fraud involved in such industries as FinTech, Healthcare, and others. Trying to investigate every single case manually would take an excessive amount of time, therefore employing machine learning in conjunction with RPA, in this case, is very beneficial and cost-efficient.
Robotic Process Automation and Predictive Maintenance
Using historical data, technical product characteristics, as well as real-time observations, help to predict the equipment’s possible fail time. As a result, the companies can be proactive in getting the extra details they might need and avoid losing money due to the stalling of the production.
Robotic Process Automation and Communication
Digital Voice Assistants (DVA) are gaining more and more traction - think of Siri and Alexa’s popularity. According to an Accenture study 2019, out of 22,500 online consumers around the world, 50% already use DVAs, and 14% plan to purchase one within the next 12 months.
To make these chatbots useful, they need to pull data from various sources. Therefore, a chatbot can convert the abstract question into a query that can be understood by the Robotic Process Automation system, which would later “translate” the answer back to natural language. This simplifies the process of integration with various programs since the human user doesn’t have to think about how to phrase the question in a way that would be understandable by a system, the process goes vice versa.
Robotic Process Automation and AI Training Process
AI-based applications can perform complex operations and possess cognitive capabilities only thanks to the developers coding sophisticated algorithms into the software. RPA can be employed for those data collection required for AI learning. For instance, RPA can perform screen monitoring to gather data from various websites automatically, like all legal updates for a specific time, and this data can be utilized to develop algorithms for further AI application training.
As long as the development of productive Artificial Intelligence algorithms requires a considerable amount of data, by gathering it, Robotic Process Automation solutions facilitate AI progress and free up additional human efforts for algorithms generation and application training instead of data aggregation.
You might also like: Pattern Recognition in AI
AI + RPA Application Development Concerns
The business and innovation benefits of pairing RPA and AI are clear, but the production of software for given applications is quite challenging for developers, or, rather, for project management.
The main challenge is that you need to combine several teams focused on RPA and AI and establish clear communication between these teams. Scheduling and interaction are crucial, and all steps have to be recorded and displayed to all team members to avoid miscommunication.
Moreover, you need software developers and quality assurance engineers who are proficient in robotic process automation to handle it correctly due to its high data processing velocity. If a mistake occurs in a piece of RPA algorithm, it can bring lots of trouble within a brief period.
Despite all that, the advantages of application development pairing RPA and AI are still convincing since both technologies complement each other productively. This combination enables enterprises to leverage more advanced RPA solutions which are capable of maintaining client cooperation and forecasting future trends based on existing behavioral patterns.
Data experts can also benefit from the deployment of RPA and AI combined products as long as they can find vast volumes of relevant data to train Artificial Intelligence modules for more complex task accomplishment within condensed timeframes and development lifecycles facilitation. Since the consolidated development approach calls for tighter collaboration between several teams, it also unlocks broad potential for innovative software delivery.
AI + Robotic Process Automation for Business Digitization
Having a data-first mentality helps modern businesses to benefit from the available information, readily supplied by the existing customers as well as potential leads. It also helps to streamline various internal business processes and reduce costs.
If the company supports the data-driven processes, then it is easier to optimize and digitize the remaining services and procedures to stay on top of the competition in the fierce markets. Besides financial benefits, digitization and implementation of RPA and AI enable employees to enjoy the work they do and focus their talents and attention on the tasks that matter.
Cutting-edge extra-smart RPA and AI custom software solutions are emerging. If you are interested in your business digitalization, we would be excited to help you out with that at HUSPI.