Intelligent Process Automation- A New Dimension of Business Management

intelligent process automation

The business front has now grown to be more competitive than ever before and business owners are at a stand where they have to contemplate their business strategies with even more precision. For a better growth curve, aiming at high-profit margins has become necessary. Hence, digital solutions like Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) become more relevant than ever before.

The IPA market has gained more popularity in recent years. In a report by The Business Research Company, IPA is expected to escalate from $14.36 bn in 2023 to $16.38 bn in 2024. There is also a 14.1% compound annual growth rate. So, it is evident that IPA is going to stay for some time. No matter the industry, IPA can show a better growth path. 

This write-up is here to give you a complete understanding of what intelligent process automation stands for and how it is beneficial to business organizations. 

What is Intelligent Process Automation?

Intelligence Process Automation (IPA) is a solution that combines important advanced technologies like Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, ORC/IRC analytics, Computer Vision, and other cognitive technologies, achieving an end-to-end business process automation. These technologies work together and help to streamline and enhance different business operations effectively. Doing so improves the business values and provides an edge over its competitors. 

Most often IPA is also referred to as hyper automation, intelligent automation, or digital process automation. By combining the different revolutionary technologies, IPA acts as a tool that holds all the comprehensive business improvement processes. With intelligent automation, the employees are efficiently assisted by eliminating mundane, and repetitive tasks. With improved and optimized processes, the business can garner better customer experience and satisfaction. 

IPA automation solutions can replicate human activities with ease and eventually carry them out better. It thinks, learns, and adapts to the process orientation in autonomous ways. The intelligence process automation tools are equipped with the traditional solution of rule-based automation and powered with decision-making capabilities, enabling the radical enhancement of efficiency, performance, and acquiring a significant reduction in operational risks.

What is the Main Purpose of Intelligent Process Automation?

Using intelligent process automation, organizations will be able to automate processes with unstructured data as well. This brings a big reduction in the required training data sets or decision-making based on rules. The biggest advantage is that it assists human workers with routine and repetitive tasks. Moreover, the main purpose of intelligent process automation is to elevate response time and the customer experience.

How does Intelligent Automation Work?

Intelligence automation of processes covers the complete span of, starting with the discovery, followed by automation, and optimization, along with the automation of the front/back-office process. It also takes care of tuning the work among the human-bot teams as well. 

Intelligent Automation effectively works by extracting and integrating the right cognitive technologies with Robotic Process Automation (RPA). This is how Intelligent Process Automation Works – 

PROCESS DISCOVERY 

Processes on the verge of disaster are identified to improve their capacity through digital technologies like RPA 

OPTIMIZE

Being available and reaching customers by extending support through channels and tools like chatbots

 

ANALYTICS & INSIGHTS

Conducting a proper analysis of the processes and eliminating all the inefficiencies

Core Technologies in Intelligence Process Automation

Intelligence Process Automation in its full potential upholds core technologies. They are – 

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Routine and repetitive tasks like data entry, extraction, or cleansing user interfaces can all be automated through the automation software of RPA. The robot in RPA has a user ID similar to how employees have and can work on the processes that are defined by rules. These may include accessing email and systems, doing calculations, creating and generating documents like reports, and checking files.

Smart Workflow

Smart workflow is a software tool used for process management. This tool is specifically used for integrating tasks done by humans and machines. This integration helps users to monitor and track the progress of the processes and also provides insightful data to eliminate bottlenecks. 

Machine Learning/Advanced Analytics

This core technology has algorithms that identify patterns in a given structured data that are achieved through “supervised” and “unsupervised” learning. The supervised algorithms observe and learn structured data and start to predict when new inputs are given. On the other hand, unsupervised algorithms just observe and give insights into the recognized patterns. 

In sectors like insurance, machine learning can do wonders in areas like compliance, regulating cost structures, and acquiring insights that allow them to beat the competition. Moreover, it has also been implemented in Human Resources to find and evaluate parameters required in leaders and managers. This aids in predicting their behavior as well as in planning leadership succession. 

Natural Language Generation (NLG)

This is also the software that enables collaborative work between humans and technology that works on rules that translate observation data to prose. This is particularly used by broadcasters who draft stories from data in real time. The structural and statistical data are put through the natural language engine that automatically generates reports. Even financial institutions can benefit from natural language generation. 

Cognitive Agents

These are technical solutions that integrate machine learning and natural language generation that form a virtual workforce, also known as agents, that can potentially carry out tasks, communicate, observe, and learn using data, and can also make decisions based on the detected emotions. This is specifically used where support is provided to customers or employees through phone or chat in service centers. 

Process Mining

is a methodology that analyzes and diagnoses business processes, extracts data using which it scans the complete process, and detects areas of improvement. 

Computer Vision

Computer vision includes tools like OCR (Optical Character Recognition), that makes transferring data from unstructured documents like images, graphs, etc., and transform these into texts. 

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is an effective solution that can mimic humans and perform processes to higher precision. It can analyze data faster and learn from previous decisions. 

IPA is deeply advantageous to businesses. For example, in a manually run insurance company where the claim processing is performed manually, the person has to surf through multiple systems to provide a simple business service. Here Intelligence Process Automation becomes the right solution. 

Using IPA, RPA can replace manual clicks, interpret statistical or text-dumped data using NLG, machine learning allows one to make decisions without being pre-programmed, through cognitive agents providing customer suggestions, and finally do tracking of the collaboration between systems and employees using smart workflows.

The Evolving Intelligent Process Automation

A lot of technologies have come up in the recent past such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) which is now equipped with decision-making and learning capabilities. This has become far beyond what intelligent process automation used to be. With multiple powerful core technologies any type of inefficiencies from business processes. 

Gartner coined the term “hyper-automation”, which involves the amalgamation of advanced solutions like AI and ML that effectively automate processes to efficiency and support human efforts.

  • Cognitive Automation – It is when machines can replicate and mimic the actions and judgments made by humans.
  • Blockchain Technology – This technology provides a robust system where the data can be recorded and stored so that it is difficult to hack or change.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) – It is a solution that allows the extension of internet connectivity to a series of devices as well as everything that requires the internet connection to communicate. 
  • Edge Computing – it is a setup where computation and data storage are brought closer to the location where it is needed. This specifically helps in enhancing response times and freeing up bandwidth.

The Value of IPA

With IPA more value is being put on customer satisfaction by developing new business strategies and setting new business goals. Even though businesses can benefit from implementing the complete IPA suite, individual technologies can also be implemented for significant streamlining and optimization. These technologies carry several advantages individually. 

Here is a table showing what RPA alone can offer to businesses – 

Manual Process RPA Automated Process 
  • In a manual setup, numerous insurance policies need to be remediated
  • There is pressure on regulating policies and bringing these out of the suspense before the due. 
  • There are more than thirty employees who work on the remediation process. To bring the policy out of suspense, employees have to spend about 5 to 7 minutes of manual effort.
  • New hires have to have at least 3 to 4 weeks of training to make them productive.
  • The robots can be developed on RPA within two weeks.
  • The suspense-remediation activity is automated and performed by robots. With automation, the time taken for each policy is reduced by 50%.
  • Employees are free to work on high-value tasks. This drastically removed errors caused by human involvement.
  • The process cost sees an 80% reduction. The quality of the process improves exponentially.
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Intelligent Process Automation vs Robotic Process Automation

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) develops bots to take over repetitive and manual tasks using software robots or bots. For instance, an RPA solution can be programmed and used for collecting phone numbers from applications, etc. Additionally, RPA tools work on rules and are therefore rigid. This is because, in some cases, if a customer enters the data in the wrong field, the RPA will not be able to complete the task. 

This is where the intelligence process automation proves its excellence and it takes everything one step further. It also includes advanced cognitive technologies like AI that widen the scope of business process automation. Through this, it completes complex tasks with the help of new technological solutions. 

The major benefits of RPA include – 

  • Exchange-derivative-clearing bots
  • Revenue-cycle-management bots
  • Invoice-processing bots
  • Healthcare claims-processing bots

Benefits of Intelligent Process Automation

With so many technologies available in the IPA suite, several benefits can be harnessed from it. The primary benefit procured is that it facilitates the processes to be flexible, potent, and productive end-to-end. Integration of intelligent process automation to human intelligence and experience, new and explosive innovations take birth, that inspire the teams as well as create higher business value. Some essential benefits that can be gained from IPA are as follows. 

It Helps Organizations to Understand Unstructured Data

Undeniably it can be stated that a solution like RPA can perform better and faster than human resources. However, when it is confronted by something unknown it stumbles. Hence, it is evident that IPA is a must-have solution, as it is orchestrated work in such scenarios. 

As IPA is specifically designed for unstructured data, it introduces features like OCR (Optical Character Recognition) using which data can be easily extracted from any unstructured sources. In this way, it can transform unstructured data into structured ones which can be further processed by RPA. Hence, the efficiency keeps reaching new heights with this streamlining. 

IPA reduces operational costs and boosts revenue

Comparatively, most automation solutions require human intervention as they might lack situational awareness, and in case anything goes out of plan it staggers. A Gartner research revealed that IPA is efficient as it is predictive and effectively gives weightage to the timing of data and actionability. It is potential enough to reduce the number of employees that participate in the input and significantly minimize the operational costs. 

Intelligent process automation software improves with experience

Intelligent process automation stands out in the factor of human involvement. Most automation platforms generally require respective action inputs from humans. Hence, they are not autonomous. On the contrary, intelligent process automation software uses algorithms from machine learning that make effective process decisions. 

If you want your IPA initiative to be successful, the major points to be noted are the teamwork between all the different business functions and the evaluation of all the existing processes. Once this is done, the new changes that are sustainable and scalable into the new framework. The employees also have to be completely involved in the change so that they can experience the benefits of the change initiated.

Industries that Can Successfully Leverage IPA

The ultimate results that you witness with IPA are the exponential reduction in the costs spent on the operations, enhanced customer experience and satisfaction, and transformation of your business into new levels of productivity. This improvement is visible across different sectors and departments. Here are some intelligent process automation examples for your reference. 

1. Data Collection

Data collection is a tedious task and it can cost so much time since employees have to collect data from different platforms. Instead of this, an IPA automation software can do this quite simply. The intelligence process automation tool can connect to any database and extract and gather data required or can be updated from other sources.

2. Telecom

For telecom service providers, Natural Language Processing (NLP) offers a chatbot with 90% accuracy. Hence, there is a considerable reduction in the call volume received by them. This maximizes their profits and simultaneously a drop in the calls received. 

3. Insurance

The data entry process is hectic for the claims department in insurance companies. A lot of time and resources have to be invested in completing that process since these have to be processed with and entered into CRM. Replacing employees, an IPA tool can take over this process by carefully feeding the extracted data into CRM. 

4. Shipping

Order management can be made seamless with IPA software. This tool can be best used for analyzing the shipping data and also seamlessly integrating all the stages and the shipping routes. This streamlining helps in the elimination of any errors, bottlenecks, or delays. 

5. Healthcare

From the healthcare perspective, the claims are being able to be processed much faster with better data management. Today, even pharmacies use voice recognition tools which is considered to be a safe and easiest mode of making medicines available for people. This has also proved to be a better way for payments to be made.in this way, IPA adds value to the service provided.  

6. Commerce

Businesses can experience increased sales that can be witnessed that is the result of customer engagement triggered by intelligent process automation. There is also considerable reduction in the costs. There is better guidance, enhanced warehouse logistics, security with transactions, and improved delivery planning. 

7. Manufacturing

It is important to remember that IPA is the main trigger that made Industry 4.0 and 5.0 revolutions. IPA has given rise to both digital and physical robots that take up processes that save time and resources. It rather supplements more than replacing humans with solutions like automated workflows.

8. Logistics and Transportation

A completely streamlined ecosystem is formed that effortlessly optimizes route, supply chain, and also maintenance. 

9. Internet of Things (IoT)

With IPA, the online shopping culture does not have much difference from the physical stores. The bots that work on these have a hold of survey data and statistics that predict customer interests and behavior. Using this technology, the users can be notified when new products of their interests are available. 

10. Banks and Financial Institutions

IPA becomes a wonderful solution that takes up processes like customer support, handling, credit management, and the maintenance of accuracy and makes them simple. Machine learning can be innovatively leveraged for managing data that is crucial in tasks like finance management. The more human involvement is negated, the more accurately the processes can be performed. 

11. Credit Card Service Company

There is almost 100%  accuracy in how the humongous amount of vendor invoices in the process every month are handled with ease.   

12. Agribusiness

For companies that are based on farming and farming-related commerce, there has been a tremendous increase in the performance of the process as well as ROI.

How to Kickstart Your IPA Transformation Journey?

When you talk about bringing automation into your business, end-to-end, it is important to realize it encompasses a wide spectrum of solutions that are based on Artificial Intelligence, RPA, ML, etc. IPA is not a simple solution to implement. It requires in-depth research and planning. Certain steps have to be followed for a successful implementation. Here are some of the essential steps to follow for a triumphant IPA implementation.

  1. Business Process Modeling and Mapping – The first step is to figure out your business’s process model.  Once the automation framework for your processes is studied, all the business processes have to be mapped.
  2. Understanding the Current Business Strategies – The existing process strategy has to be analyzed and its goal. This will help you to understand how these advocate for the overall business goals. 
  3. Identify Areas for Operational Efficiency – Once the plan for intelligent process automation has been generated, your team has to identify the areas in the process spectrum that will enhance operational efficiency through IPA implementation. 
  4. Find the Perfect Intelligent Process Automation Software – If your team succeeds in finding the right intelligent process automation tool, then half the complexity in the impact of the change can be tackled easily. 
  5. Integrate Intelligent Automation into Workflows – Remember that the tool that you choose must be able to smoothly integrate with the existing applications, systems, and other infrastructures. Additionally, integrate the built framework into the workflows as well. 
  6. Initiate Process Reengineering – If your existing processes need to be improved to boost efficiency, steps like redefining workflows, processes, and all the other sub-processes and tasks can be carried out. 
  7. Encourage Adapting to Change – The entire organization has to be ready to adapt to the change and upgrades in the processes. This can be achieved by providing them with proper training and support. 


Make Necessary Changes – Additionally, it is ideal to have supportive programs that will help your workforce adapt to new technologies and have faith in them. 

Cflow as the Ideal IPA Tool for Businesses

Cflow is the best intelligent process automation software that can effectively elevate your business process to proficiency.  With solutions like RPA, ML, etc. It can streamline and optimize any process with its well-orchestrated no-code workflow generation. The tool offers numerous capabilities like workflow templates, and API integration that empower the users to be more efficient while using it.

Key Functionalities: 

  • Form Builder – The workflow visual form builder can be built just with a simple drag-and-drop action. With zero code involved, even a non-tech employee can make a workflow with ease. 
  • Customizations – Anything can be customized in this platform, from workflow templates to rules to forms, completely with respect to the user’s need
  • OCR Extraction – As an important and highlighted feature, using OCR, users can transfer any data from any source into the process flow. 
  • Rules Engine – The simple rules engine can be used to navigate the process that will require no human involvement.
  • Reports and Analytics – Analytical reports will be delivered to users which can be used for measuring the success rate of the processes.

IPA with Cflow – Case Study on Fidelity United Insurance

Fidelity United Insurance is one of the most successful insurance firms globally. As services, the professional team takes care of the insurer’s claim intimation and other important claim inquiries. Established in 1976, Fidelity United Insurance has been serving a wide spectrum of services for both individual and corporate clients.

The Issue

The firm catered to a wide range of claim types such as medical insurance, general insurance, life insurance, etc. The challenge was carrying out its processing manually through paper-based documents and emails. As the volume of the claim insurers escalated, the manual processing took a toll on the workforce who were unable to juggle all of these claims together. This drastically pulled down their process efficiency. Eventually, they were looking for a solution to overcome this problem.

Solution

Fidelity United Insurance turned to Cflow with a one-stop solution in mind that can help them escape the burden of claims processing and approvals. The abilities of Cflow that captured their attention were deep customization options as well as the strong customer service that was provided. Smart workflows were created for every single type of claim with simple steps. The physical forms were easily transferred and mapped into the workflows. The platform offered compliance regulation as well as strong and detailed customer insights. Cflow’s team supported them at every juncture of their automation journey.

Result

Once the Cflow team helped them set up a workflow with zero code involved, the Fidelity team witnessed a lot of positive changes. With a faster approval process, there were no more delays caused by claim processing, and they were able to deliver a better customer experience. 

The claim process automation solution became a lifesaver for Fidelity United Insurance and was successfully implemented using Cflow. Now the claims are processed at the right time along with the settlements done accurately.

Final Words

Hence, it is proven that intelligent process automation can be easily achieved by investing in the right tool. By the right tool, we mean the right tool that would suit your organizational setup and business framework. 

The case study discussed above gives a clear understanding of why an IPA tool matters. Streamlining your processes using solutions like machine learning, robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, etc. can offer your workforce solutions to flow through processes without any limitations. 

Cflow is one such tool that empowers the workforce to have better control over the processes and receive the anticipated results. To experience the full potential of Cflow, sign up now!

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