Most Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) will tell you that a good deal of business decisions are based on budget and cost reduction—if it’s not in the budget, it’s a no, and cost-cutting strategies are among the top priorities. In the past, many organizations have employed automation as one of those money-saving tactics. 

Now, with the evolution and refinement of intelligent automation (IA), companies are beginning to realize that its benefits go beyond basic cost reduction. A recent McKinsey report revealed that business process effectiveness is the top reason organizations choose to automate. Customer and employee experience comes in second. Decision-makers see that IA can help reduce risks and bolster business insights, resilience, and customer satisfaction.

Intelligent Automation vs. Robotic Process Automation

What’s the Difference?

Robotics Process Automation

Robotics Process Automation (RPA) uses software “robots” driven by ruled-based scripts to automate simplistic, often repetitive, and time-consuming tasks. Automating these processes helps organizations relieve employees of menial duties and opens their schedules for more complex, higher-functioning responsibilities.  

Some duties transferred to RPA are data extraction, form completion, tabulating lab results, invoicing, and service and product payments. A large financial organization increased its annual run-rate efficiencies by 30 percent when it used RPA for up to 70 percent of its record-to-report process.

Intelligent Automation

Intelligent automation takes RPA beyond the basics. This higher-level automation tackles more complex tasks using various combinations of technologies, including RPA, machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), and optical character recognition (OCR). 

Intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs) are an excellent example of this emerging technology, as we see IVAs beginning to replace rudimentary chatbots. Where chatbots are restricted to simple, pre-programmed scripts to imitate human communication, IVAs harness IA to learn and facilitate natural, more human-like dialogue that hasn’t been programmed. This is only one sampling of IA’s power to further refine organizations’ processes and enhance customer interaction.

Let’s look at how IA improves business outcomes.

Top 5 Benefits of Intelligent Automation

  1. Improved Process Quality
  2. Increased Compliance
  3. Increased Productivity
  4. Improved Employee Engagement and Morale
  5. Improved Customer Experience


Improved Process Quality

Humans make mistakes. We get tired, distracted, rushed—any of which is an impetus for errors. Automation can mitigate such errors if programming inputs are error-free, performing consistently at the same speed, and at the moment the request arises. And if there are no human errors in programming, an elevation in accuracy and overall process quality and consistency can be achieved.

Example: Inventory Control

Inventory control usually involves tedious manual work that provides a ripe environment for errors. Automating inventory processes such as supply chain management, shipping, order fulfillment, and tracking can lighten the burden on staff and increase accuracy and accelerate timelines.


Increased Compliance

Improved process quality breeds better compliance resiliency. Data and cybersecurity are critical compliance challenges for most businesses—particularly healthcare-related organizations that handle sensitive client information. Companies that fall out of compliance can face severe fines and penalties, particularly if a data breach or other security incident occurs. Automation is a potential solution that can cultivate greater process consistency and accuracy to help organizations obtain and preserve compliance.

Example: Lab Results Distribution

Patient lab results are considered protected health information (PHI) under HIPAA. Sending lab results to the wrong doctor or the wrong patient poses a serious HIPAA violation. Automating lab results distribution helps reduce the chance of a healthcare worker sending patient test results to the wrong party. Patient info can be accessed and moved with less risk of violating HIPAA.


Increased Productivity

Automation elevates productivity in three major ways. The most obvious is that it can speed up the processes that it manages. Another productivity booster is increased accuracy. With fewer errors to correct, employees can focus on other important tasks. And finally, automation takes over low-level, time-consuming duties, allowing workers to focus on more complex duties.

Example: Insurance Claims Processing

Insurance claims processing requires precision and time. Done manually, you’re looking at more time and more mistakes. The AMA reported that health insurance claims processing is sitting just over a 19 percent error rate. And errors are one of the top reasons claims are rejected.


Improved Employee Engagement and Morale

Most employees like being productive and enjoying the tasks they perform. But monotonous, dull duties can eventually dampen the mood of even the happiest of employees. When automation can take over the tedious processes, workers can spend more time on duties that call for their core competencies, boosting morale, employee engagement, and retention.

Example: ERP Data Entry

Most employees who’ve had to enter data into an ERP system will tell you it’s a fatiguing task. Organizations can employ automation for ERP data entry to free their staff from this uninspiring work and render happier staff.


Improved Customer Experience

Automation can play at least three roles in customer satisfaction: employee morale, business availability, and process accuracy. When automation takes away mundane duties, helping enliven employee morale, workers will most likely perform better and that will extend to the customer, whether it’s direct or indirect contact. Automation can also increase business availability, so customers gain access to services and communication outside regular business hours or during high-volume activity. Finally, when automation increases the accuracy and speed of processes such as sales orders and shipping, customers experience error-free orders and shorter delivery times. More than half of business leader report that they are pursuing automation for customer experience initiatives.

Example: Intelligent virtual assistants

Intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs) are the next-generation chatbots, as we mentioned earlier in the blog. These assistants grant customers 24/7 access to information and support, so customers  don’t have to restrict their queries to business hours.  Industries insiders predict that by 2025,  IVAs will take over 40 percent of service desks.      


Looking Ahead

In 2021, IA’s market share hovered at USD $11,332.74 million and is expected to reach USD $22,753 million. Intelligent automation will continue to evolve and grow its market share as more business leaders realize its portfolio of benefits. In a recent report, 50 percent of executives revealed that they plan to ramp up their AI investments, and 73 percent of those leaders predict intelligent automation to grow their revenue.  

Organizations that implement IA to enhance their processes, customer experience, and employee retention will maneuver to the competitive forefront of their industries.

To dive deeper into intelligent automation and how your organization can reap its benefits visit Genzeon