To serve customers, businesses tend to solve process problems quickly—although not often also with efficiency. Instead, the solve often includes tasking workers with menial assignments. Requiring little thought, these mind-numbing tasks are often prone to error. They are also almost always integral to the larger process.
Many existing robotic process automation tools seek to address this problem. Certainly, RPA solves repetitive, non-cognitive tasks of processes in a way that does drive efficiency and accuracy. The challenge, however, is in handling everything involved in the process that does not fit neatly into the repetitive, non-cognitive box. RPA software vendors claim RPA does it all, but arguably it does not.
Intelligent automation platforms possess the capabilities necessary to add true efficiency and visibility throughout the entire process. Those capabilities include:
• Document automation (aka intelligent document processing, cognitive capture, and intelligent document automation) -- the ability to effectively apply automation to translate information existing in an unstructured form, mostly on documents, to data useful to the balance of the process, the involved humans, and downstream systems.
• Process orchestration that ties systems and humans together in a way that drives efficiency, accuracy, and accountability.
• RPA, of course.
• Engagement systems that support interaction with humans both inside and outside the enterprise, on any platform, and in ways that simply and efficiently manage their input and decisions.
• And advanced analytics that measure everything, both in real time and historically, enabling users to understand the past performance of the humans and the system, and to predict and manage future needs.
Successfully automating any business challenge always involves all five capabilities. Trying to address every requirement with a single-purpose tool (often used in unintended ways) will hamper an automation effort; RPA alone will not deliver the true efficiency intelligent automation can bring to document automation and integration of unstructured content brought into the enterprise.
Experience shows that a scattering of disconnected tools will not supply the incredibly important visibility into a process that a single platform -- and an effective analytics facility -- delivers.
Rather, to achieve real change, true automation must go beyond RPA.
Randy Dufault is Genus Technologies’ Director of Solution Development where he leads Genus's Capture and Content Services professional services practices. In addition to the leadership role, he also provides delivery services as a business analyst, consultant, and system architect.