Intelligent Process Automation or IPA is a combination of robotics process automation (RPA) with machine learning, where the tools implemented take over the manual and tedious tasks and not only perform them – but learn and improve upon them along the way. And we’re not just talking about your run of the mill smart tools; IPA tools are capable of intelligent decision-making that doesn’t require pre-programming based on thorough data analysis, and they can go as far as making knowledge-based predictions that can really take your business to the next level. IPA mimics human actions.
The two main reasons to think about implementing IPA tools in your business are:
- On the customer side: any process you automate that is front-facing will put higher amounts of information, knowledge and recommendations in your customers’ hands, helping them feel secure in their decision to give you their business.
- On the employee side: efficiency is the number one issue that small businesses have when it comes to ensuring that all employees are spending their time on the higher valued activities. When you automate tasks, it frees up their time to focus on what truly matters.
And in general, other benefits include more agile back office operations, cost reduction (and sometimes risk), improvements and innovation of the products and services, and providing the best customer experience possible.
As a small business, it is a no-brainer to invest in an IPA set of tools, especially when you have employees performing high volume, rules-based work. But the key aspect here is not to just automate every existing process in your business currently; the real innovation happens when you redesign your processes to match your business needs (as well as those of your customers) and interact with each other, all through IPA.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of IPA and why it’s a no-brainer for SMBs, let’s talk about the technologies and tools it brings to the table and can help regardless of industry or sector:
- The robotics component: RPA is perfect for routine tasks like performing calculations, creating reports, data extraction, etc.
- Next-level workflows: we’ve all used task-tracking tools at work, but what if you could take things a step further by having a software manage handoffs between each of the workflow points, regardless if the task is for a human or a machine.
- Virtual assistants: a huge business need for companies globally is open and fast communication with customers. By having a virtual workforce of “agents” that cover this, you support both customers and employees.
- Natural Language Generation: using artificial intelligence, this technology turns data into a “story” in plain language. Useful for things like IoT device status and maintenance reporting.
Whatever your business model and approach, these tools can bring an invaluable level of efficiency and innovation to your business that frees up hours of your employees’ (and your) time to focus on relevant actions that will grow the company, keep customer satisfaction high, and help you gain a competitive advantage like never before. In our case, thanks to the custom software development strategy we design, coupled with the robotics component of Blue Prism, small businesses have the means to grow at unprecedented rates, without the time and resource investment it would’ve required in the past.