When you think of artificial intelligence (AI), you might dream of the year 3000 when robots have “free-will” units courtesy of Mom’s Friendly Robot Company. Today, AI exists in many forms. In fact, there’s a good chance you interact with AI technologies every day.
Have you ever watched a new show recommended by Netflix, or wondered how Spotify found that new song in your favorite genre? Do you unlock your iPhone with your face, or send facial expressions as a monkey with Apple’s Animoji? Maybe you’ve used the Google Photos search feature to find all dog images in your library?
These widely publicized examples show how AI is being used in today’s data-driven marketplace. They are commercial breakthroughs, heralded as key innovations of big data companies, which gather terabytes of daily data by millions of consumers. AI needs this staggering amount of data to train algorithms for more intelligence, and enables programs to adjust to new inputs, learn from experience and mimic human abilities.
So how can your organization use AI in daily operations? How are AI technologies relevant to the way you do business?
Your two biggest assets are your employees and your data. Corporations invest millions of dollars in empowering one and protecting the other. They are both connected. World-class technology gives employees peace of mind to do their best work.
By nature, AI requires large amounts of data for training machines to accomplish specific tasks, recognize patterns, and make decisions. A common introduction to AI is presented where data is extracted, processed, or loaded. Depending on your organization’s business processes, you should target AI applications that spend significant human capital to process data received in high volume documents, such as invoices, purchase orders, contracts, insurance claims, or mortgage applications.
Cognitive automation is a way to bridge the gap between traditional RPA and full-blown AI technologies. Cognitive automation is a subset of AI, using specific AI techniques to mimic the way the human brain works, and assisting in decision making, task completion or meeting goals. AI technologies used to automate business processes include third-party AI integrations and native AI technologies such as computer vision, natural language processing, machine learning and fuzzy logic.
Cognitive automation excels at extracting data from documents, and can be used to extract semi-structured and unstructured data from numerous file formats and document types such as invoices, purchase orders, mortgage applications, insurance claims and contracts. When connected with automated workflows, cognitive bots only notify human workers for the most complex extractions.
By introducing cognitive automation, your workforce is able to focus on tasks that are better suited for human intervention such as creativity, decision-making and managing exceptions.
A classic example of utilizing cognitive automation is the traditional, document-based business process.
Let’s say we’re inputting PDF invoices into an ERP system. Upon receiving invoice files, the Account Receivable specialist’s first step is to classify the documents by type, such as recurring, pro forma, or commercial invoices. Next, he/she will attempt to digitize the forms by performing optical character recognition (OCR) and convert printed text into machine-encoded text. If certain documents fail the OCR attempt, he/she will have to reprocess the failed documents or manually input invoice data into his/her ERP system. Then, he/she validates against the back office system which may trigger an approval workflow to his/her supervisor. Lastly, the invoice is reviewed and approved before final submission.
With cognitive automation, pieces of this process can be automated to reduce the amount of human time invested in the system. For example, upon receiving a batch of invoices, cognitive bots would scan a document by template type, as well as automatically process failed docs in a second OCR attempt. Additionally, bots can validate against back-office systems and trigger the workflow for supervisory review. The human touchpoints in the process would migrate to processing failed OCR attempts and final review or approvals.
Processes that draw from structured data sources work with regular RPA process automation. Yet roughly 80% of data is unstructured — meaning information is difficult to access, digitize and extract using traditional RPA solutions. Using native AI technologies enable cognitive automation solutions that can process unstructured data. Typical enterprise still relies on multiple resources to process data and increase business agility, accuracy and efficiency.
At Apexon, we have seen organizations benefit from cognitive automation in the following ways:
Automation Anywhere is well known in the industry as a leader in enterprise-grade cognitive capabilities and analytics, and provides an intuitive platform for the most powerful automation activities. Apexon has partnered with Automation Anywhere to help our clients implement RPA across their enterprises.
IQ Bot is a cognitive automation tool from Automation Anywhere’s global digital workforce platform that learns from human input and solves specific use cases without requiring AI experts or data scientists. It is commonly used to extract semi-structured or unstructured data hidden in files of various formats and document types, reduce data entry errors, and complete tasks faster than human intervention.
IQ Bot connects with RPA to enable end-to-end automation. With human feedback, IQ Bot can be trained to make smarter decisions. IQ Bot has a core engine, pre-trained to learn from user inputs and can provide solutions on multiple domains.
Automation won’t put you out of a job — it is a tool that allows you to focus on higher-value work. Though bots will take over some aspects of business as we know it, automation is an overall improvement to daily efficiency. Technology is continuously changing how we do our jobs, and process automation is one piece of that change.
If your business is ready to explore the benefits of RPA and how they can improve agility in your organization, let’s talk.