If You’re Only Automating with RPA, You’re Playing the Short Game

Automating purely to reduce cost isn’t transformation. It’s optimization. That’s fine if you’re only interested in short-term wins, but leading enterprises — the ones who beat born-digital competitors, keep customers and delight shareholders — are looking beyond cost reduction and envisioning long-term success.

Led by distinguished analyst Sarah Burnett, the team at Everest Research Group set out to help enterprise executives and automation practitioners understand the landscape and its options. This result is this recent report: “Intelligent Automation: Accelerating from Short-term Wins to Long-term Strategic Business Outcomes: A Guide to Undertaking Automation-led Business Transformation.” A complimentary licensed copy of the report is available for download here, or read on for key points and our responses:

  1. How is Intelligent Automation different from traditional RPA?

Robotic process automation (RPA) follows rules to automate work that has no variation. When you log into your email account, you enter a username and password the same way every time. RPA is great for these types of repetitive tasks, which often string together to form a simple business process, like: log in, click box, move file from Point A to Point B, log out.

Scalability and ROI problems rapidly emerge, however, when variation is introduced. How often does your business process change? How much of the high-volume work that inundates your team involves unstructured data? People adapt, but software bots that only follow rules do not.

This is why AI-driven Intelligent Automation is superior to rules-driven RPA. Intelligent Automation (IA) integrates all the capabilities found in RPA, plus adds capabilities only possible through bots that learn and adapt to data in real time. According to the Everest Group report, these are some critical features of what they call “RPA 4.0” or Intelligent Automation:

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