IBM helps clients around the world transform and manage functional and industry-specific processes to achieve intelligent digital operations. These services rely on AI, process automation and advanced analytics to help deliver higher quality processes at lower cost with less risk. IBM process automation services address the four fundamentals of process design.
Robotic process automation (RPA) is about more than automating your processes. RPA uses algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and bots to perform higher-level functions. A type of BPA, RPA has evolved from the combination of AI, screen scraping, and workflow automation. Where BPA aims to automate processes to work in concert with people, RPA attempts to replace the people in the processes and replicate human behavior with technology. RPA uses software robots (bots) or AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities.
In an era of innovation, the emphasis has to be on the upside of people. They will always be the source of next-generation ideas and the element of operations that is hardest for competitors to replicate. (If you think employees today lack loyalty, you haven’t noticed how fast software takes up with your rivals.) Yes, people are variable and unpredictable; capable of selfishness, boredom, and dishonesty; hard to teach and quick to tire—all things that robots are not. But with the proper augmentation, you can get the most out of the positive qualities on which they also hold a monopoly. As computerization turns everything that can be programmed into table stakes, those are the only qualities that will set you apart.
You can’t talk about the future of home automation without mentioning the Internet of Things (IoT). That’s the catch-all phrase for the trend toward embedding sensors and microchips in everyday objects in a way that allows them to be connected to a network—like, say, the Internet. With the Internet of Things, your washing machine, for example, can send an alert to your phone when it’s time to move your clothes over to the dryer.
You might not get very far, however, if employers in your field don’t buy in to augmentation. The world suffers from an automation mindset today, after all, because businesses have taken us down that path. Managers are always acutely aware of the downside of human employees—or, to use the technologist’s favored dysphemism for them, “wetware.” Henry Ford famously said, “Why is it every time I ask for a pair of hands, they come with a brain attached?”
Few workers may have the desire to fully self-automate, but it appears a growing number are interested in scripting the busy work. The productivity web is littered with blog posts and how-to articles with titles like “How I Automated My Job With Node JS,” and there are dozens of podcasts about every conceivable kind of automation: small business, marketing, smartphone. It’s a burgeoning cottage industry.
Business process automation (BPA), also known as business automation or digital transformation, is the technology-enabled automation of complex business processes. It can streamline a business for simplicity, achieve digital transformation, increase service quality, improve service delivery or contain costs. It consists of integrating applications, restructuring labor resources and using software applications throughout the organization. Robotic process automation is an emerging field within BPA and uses artificial intelligence.