Recent insight from Craig Le Clair, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester, sheds light on how intelligent automation (IA) — and robotic process automation (RPA) as part of it — will come to help businesses navigate the new way of working. In a webcast in conjunction with Kofax, a leading RPA provider, Le Clair discussed Forrester’s discoveries about how intelligent automation is poised to solve workforce capacity gaps and be the crux of business’ new operations. Below we look at Forrester’s research and Le Clair’s commentary on how businesses can best use IA and RPA to distill the insights for you.
Why is Intelligent Automation Burgeoning?
“We’ve seen two years of digital transformation in two months,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, in the summer of 2020 following the mass rush to work from home. While automation itself has been around for several years, it saw a spike after the recession of 2008. In the aftermath of that recession, automation in business accelerated. Businesses combined outsourcing and automating processes to save money, and that set the stage for what we’re now experiencing.
We are seeing another recession, and the developments in automation technology have increased since 2008. As Nadella noted, a move to the digital environment has exploded, and Le Clair pointed out that it was largely forced upon businesses because of the new mandatory work-from-home reality. Combine automation’s progress with the “digital transformation muscles we’ve developed”, as Le Clair says, and businesses will surely see ways to become more efficient and productive even in such a reality.
Recommendations About Proceeding with Intelligent Automation and Robotic Process Automation
Forrester uses the term intelligent automation as an umbrella word for roughly 19 different software markets, including RPA. Le Clair had specific tips for businesses that want to leverage these technologies.
First, recognize that whatever technologies you put in place today to deal with the effects of the pandemic and your workforce are here to stay. You are not buying replaceable technologies that are temporary. This is a lifestyle change for most businesses that will sustain.
Second, don’t misapply RPA. Here are a couple of tips to avoid implementing RPA in the wrong way:
- Don’t use RPA if there are too many decisions to be made in the software. “Instead, look at business process management and other platforms that are areas that have progressed to manage hundreds and thousands of rules,” said Le Clair. Because RPA’s rule capability is limited, don’t put too many decisions in your bot. There will be costs.
- The same goes for applications. Because apps are the core of RPA, Le Clair recommends minimizing the number of applications that go through RPA.
Areas That Will Best Use IA Technologies
Because remote business is here to stay, companies employing dispersed workers will need many IA technologies. Forrester predicts them to fall into the following categories:
- Collaboration: This sphere encompasses domain workspaces, document sharing, and other work group environments.
- Process automation: Case management and process mining are in this category.
- Document-focused text analytics: This includes anything involving e-signatures, e-forms, customer communications, and e-notaries.
- Task automation: This encompasses digital worker analytics and surface automation.
And all of these categories intersect. As companies build new operating models, all of them will require central automation, and those groups of operations will blend into each other’s IA tools and technologies.
Forrester’s research highlights that businesses would do well to begin thinking about Robotic Process Automation and Intelligent Automation by strategically establishing where they should apply automation and looking at what is in their automation tool kits first. From there, you’ll be better equipped to pinpoint which IA technologies will work for you.