Business Automation, the new Eldorado for digital agencies
In this year 2020, as digital has become an integral part of our daily lives, it’s easy to forget how much our lives have changed in the past decade, so packed with technological advances that have revolutionised our way of life and our perception of the world.
All this benefits us in our private and public lives, but also in our professional lives, without our even realising how much the world of work, and the very concept of work itself, differs from what it was 20 years ago. Automation has only just begun its radical revolution.
Industrial Revolution 4.0
Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are on the verge of transforming our professional lives. Whatever your opinion, one fact is certain: work is at the heart of our lives and defines its common thread. We are already accustomed to, sometimes even blasé about, industrial automation, the digitisation of services, and the prowess of artificial intelligence in scientific research, for example. But few realise just what lies ahead of us in the years to come.
Much more than mere virtual assistants
We have been automating marketing and sales for a long time now. But it is only now that the operating processes which benefit from automation, and artificial intelligence, have started to automate automation itself. We already know about Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Now we are moving to Robotic Process Automation based on Artificial Intelligence – RPAAI for short. Very soon, companies that have been slow to adopt these tools will simply not be able to stand up to their competitors, whose costs will be radically reduced and whose processes will have grown much faster and more efficient.
Proactive artificial intelligence
Since the beginnings of computing, various task automation methods have succeeded one another. Assisted RPA (or RPA 1.0) consisted of software that automated tasks by observing and then mimicking human users. This resulted in reduced processing times, improved user experience and reduced costs. It also made it possible to replace long and complex processes with simple mouse clicks, thus significantly reducing staff training times.
Later, with Unassisted RPA (or RPA 2.0), software was deployed on several machines to operate without the need to initiate processes or attend automation. Via dashboards, tasks were assigned to the machines and the necessary adjustments were made. The robots were capable of working 24/7 and replaced human interaction with automatic processes.
Intelligent and autonomous automation
Then came autonomous RPA which can be defined as the best of both worlds, taking advantage of AI and technologies such as cognitive automation, machine learning, computer vision, and so on. The convergence of these technologies multiplied the efficiency and speed of processes and further reduced operational costs.
Cognitive automation uses various algorithms and techniques such as natural language processing, data mining, semantic technology, text analysis, machine learning and many others.
Customer interactions, for example, can be analysed, processed and structured in order to extract useful information for subsequent process steps, such as predictive analysis. With Cognitive RPA, all decision-making processes are executed by robots, so that all time-consuming and complex tasks can be automated.
Examples of automation in action
Let’s take a look at the example of a sales representative who contacts a customer or prospect. Cognitive APR, by analysing the content of the email exchanges, will automate the making of appointments, will contact the person in question at a later date, will create task reminders, and will even perform tasks mentioned in the email, such as ordering materials or booking airline tickets, a table in a restaurant, etc.
In human resources, on the basis of the signature of a contract with a new recruit, the new employee’s computer equipment will be automatically ordered, their file completed in the HR management system, their identifiers created for all the IT tools used by the company, the paperwork for the company car settled in a few moments, and a presentation email sent to new colleagues. In short, all the onboarding can be carried out automatically and autonomously by the system.
Resolution of support tickets, automated notetaking in meetings, execution of automated provisioning scenarios… the applications of Business Automation are countless. I could go on and on with examples, because virtually every sector, every job and every computerised or computerisable task will soon be handled by machines faster and more efficient than us.
New opportunities for digital agencies
Digital agencies are poised to play a key role in the digitisation and automation of these employee experiences within companies, made possible by their digital transformation. This automation will significantly reduce costs and optimise internal processes by making the customer experience more fluid and consistent. The created added value is significant: digital agencies that master the design and implementation of these technologies will be able to navigate a vast ocean of opportunities. The journey has just begun.