5 intelligent automation examples for your organization

Two technology professionals collaborate at a desktop system, discussing intelligent automation.

In this piece:

What is intelligent automation?

Does it use artificial intelligence?

And most importantly, how can I apply it at my organization?

For many business leaders, intelligent automation (IA) is an exciting initiative. It’s thrown around at big-picture, future-looking leadership summits.

“Intelligent automation is the future. It’s the next big thing,” they say. “You can’t compete without it.”

And they’re right. But, while it’s true that intelligent automation can be a game-changer, first your organization needs to understand what it is and how it can contribute to achieving your business objectives.

The fact is, intelligent automation is buzzworthy — and ready to effectively make a difference in essentially any industry, from banking and insurance to healthcare and back-office departments. But before we get to the “how,” let’s tackle the “what.”

A practical guide to intelligent automation, an ebook by technology analyst Alan Pelz-Sharpe, founder of Deep Analysis.

Defining artificial intelligence vs. intelligent automation

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the foundational component of intelligent technology; it encompasses many important capabilities, from intelligent automation to the “intelligence” coded into machines and robots. That said, everything artificial intelligence “learns” is from the training data sets we expose it to.

Artificial intelligence is no longer the stuff of sci-fi movies. We’re already using it. From reading images faster in healthcare to predicting consumer behavior in financial services, AI is here.

Now we get to intelligent automation. Think of IA as a child of AI, an offshoot of the foundational technology.

Intelligent automation is based on some AI, but organizations typically deploy it narrowly, for situations like building robust workflows or using learning abilities to anticipate user and customer needs. So, while it is programmed with built-in logic, it also learns as it goes.

In fact, the more you use intelligent automation, the smarter it gets.

5 intelligent automation examples

Intelligent automation can be an important part of your business, but identifying where it can make the most impact is the first step.

For many organizations, leveraging IA starts with their content services platform, which provides a complete view of all the content an intelligent automation solution needs to deploy rapidly and effectively. In this environment, IA can deliver information, reduce costs, improve speed and accuracy and remove bottlenecks.

Let’s take a quick look at five intelligent automation solutions — and how you can put it to work.

An employee uses intelligent capture to automate new content digestion.

1. Intelligent capture

Intelligent capture is the linchpin of intelligent automation. It not only captures data — even unstructured data like handwriting — but it also actually understands the data and classifies it.

An effective intelligent capture solution will:

  • Classify, extract and validate incoming information
  • Speed completion of processes
  • Cut costs
  • Reduce the risk of human error
  • Allow for a truly “paperless” workplace

Use case: A leading less-than-truckload, super-regional carrier deployed intelligent capture in its accounts receivable (AR) department.

The change, which primarily focused on shifting from a “pretty good manual system” for remittance documents, allowed the AR team to go from processing 400 documents per hour to 2,000. The intelligent capture solution extracted remittance and payment information as soon as it entered the business and exported it to the system where the information was validated against known data sources in AS/400 and SAP.

Want to learn more? Get the details here.

2. Intelligent process automation (IPA)

Most companies have structured processes they can map on a flowchart, meaning they have predictable steps and outcomes. These are the processes you can easily optimize with intelligent automation to deliver meaningful value to the right people.

When done with the right solution, intelligent process automation will:

  • Route documents for approval, both intelligently and based on rules
  • Retrieve relevant contextual information automatically
  • Automate rules-based tasks
  • Send notifications of tasks and updates
  • Intelligently balance workloads

Use case: Years ago, a Vienna-based financial institution had a substantial pain point as it onboarded new clients. Its legacy system was time-consuming, costly and scattered across a variety of formats from datasheets to paper, all requiring repetitive manual entry and vulnerable to inaccuracies.

By adopting a content services platform with built-in intelligent process automation, the financial institution integrated its core banking system and allowed for a seamless automated process from the first customer appointment to risk classification and release, and even to the creation of the customer record.

See the full deployment study here.

3. Robotic process automation

Robotic process automation (RPA) is an essential element of a fully realized IA strategy. With RPA, “bots” become a part of your workforce — your digital workforce. By letting bots perform repetitive, high-volume data processes, you free your workforce for higher-value tasks.

A successful RPA solution will:

  • Analyze processes down to the click-level quickly, accurately and intuitively
  • Automatically document process steps
  • Leverage low-code, drag-and-drop tools to quickly and easily build bots and create brand-new automations
  • Run unattended or attended automations, ensuring maximum bot utilization and scalability
  • Orchestrate your bots using a real-time dashboard for live monitoring and intuitive management

Use case: Administrative tasks are often the first that organizations identify as RPA candidates, but you can apply RPA to nearly any task that follows the same process each time. Examples include responding to frequently asked questions in customer service, verifying the accuracy of invoices based on predefined rules in accounting, recording staff hours and absences in HR and tracking deliveries in logistics.

Find more examples in the article, Goodbye, time wasters.

4. Customer communication management

Customer communications management (CCM) is a quick and powerful way to improve both customer and employee experiences; after all, communication is a key to any great organization.

A high-powered CCM system will:

  • Categorize, tag and summarize content for easier consumption
  • Automatically create and distribute personalized correspondence and customized documentation
  • Intelligently route communications to the right people at the right time, in the right format or interface

Use case: A few years ago, a Department of Labor and Industry’s mail system had grown outdated, and important processes like delivering unemployment insurance were cumbersome and inefficient. However, once it deployed an automated CCM solution, the department saw its team go from waiting hours for the merge process to finish, to just 10 or 15 minutes — and with better outcomes.

For example, the department had used Microsoft Word mail merge to tailor each communication for recipients, but this allowed staff to make changes to the entire document, which compromised brand integrity and consistency. The automated CCM solution fixed this by allowing access to only the essential portions of documents where users needed to make changes. All other aspects — such as font size, address location, etc. — remain locked down to ensure consistency.

Check out the full case study here.

Doctor examining x-rays on digital tablet

5. Automated retention and destruction of documents and records

Healthcare, HR, banking and insurance are industries that are increasingly benefiting from automated retention and destruction of documents due to the extreme amount of records management they require to stay in compliance. If your organization stores information that may be personal, confidential and/or subject to regulations, you need a high-performing records management automation tool.

Look for the ability to:

  • Automate all retention tasks including approvals, transfer to storage, legal holds, archival and deletion
  • Provide defensible audit trails for the entire lifecycle of your records
  • Apply aggregated, updated retention regulations and citations to all relevant documents
  • Ensure data within documents stored anywhere in your system is in compliance
  • Automate the destruction of documents per regulatory guidelines

Use case: A popular chain of convenient stores throughout the Midwest had an underperforming document retention system that made employee file management labor intensive and inefficient for its 21,000-plus employees.

To remedy the situation, after testing intelligent automation capabilities in its Accounts Payable department, the organization expanded to HR. The solution allowed the HR team to set document retention policies that ensured information was only kept as long as necessary, and with role-based security, the data was safer than ever.

Get the details on this intelligent automation journey.

The practical strategy of embracing intelligent automation

Intelligent automation and its various practical deployments is a much larger concept than just technological efficiency. It goes beyond dollars and cents, and even business objectives, to touch the very satisfaction of an organization’s employees and customers.

In truth, it is a strategy for improving the day-to-day lives — and subsequently, business outcomes — of the people you need to succeed. So, the next time your leadership team throws around big-picture, future-looking ideas of technological advancements in the name of innovation and growth, think of intelligent automation.

Intelligent automation is here now, and it’s only going to become more essential to the success of your business in the future – in part because our workforce is changing and fluctuating at a speed that must keep up with innovation, but also because it helps us leverage our employees beyond busy work.

To learn more about IA, visit our expansive Grow Smarter hub, where the full story of intelligent automation comes to life.

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Scott Caesar is an experienced director of Research and Development, having served Hyland for the past 12 years. His passion for innovation and his talent for enterprise software, solution architecture, and software development have established him as one of the many thought leaders in the organization. He is a strong research professional with a BS in Computer Science from the University of Michigan. His latest contributions include helping establish Hyland’s content services vision, the launch and continued development of ShareBase, and exploring new technologies through Hyland Labs to ensure Hyland has continued success as a market leader in Content Services.
Scott Caesar

Scott Caesar

Scott Caesar is an experienced director of Research and Development, having served Hyland for the past 12 years. His passion for innovation and his talent for enterprise software, solution architecture,... read more about: Scott Caesar