P is for Process Automation or Integration
From A to I to Z: Jaid’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence
Process automation or integration means using software and other tools so certain tasks within your organization can be performed without human intervention. You can automate simple tasks like data entry, or even entire processes such as customer services and relationship management.
Process automation or integration has three key benefits:
- It makes processes more efficient and accurate – Machines can perform tasks of magnitude more quickly than humans. They’re also less likely to make mistakes, and can spot trends or patterns which may not be visible to the human eye. This means you can gain data or insights you might not have been able to access otherwise.
- It frees up your staff – Without automation, processes — many of them repetitive, laborious, and, let’s face it, boring — become one or more staff members’ full-time jobs. Nobody likes spending their whole day inputting data into a spreadsheet by hand, or doing other busywork. Automation takes care of these tasks so your staff can focus on more valuable and satisfying work.
- It saves money – Technology can handle large volumes of data with ease, which means you don’t have to hire more staff to perform low-value tasks. AI technology also keeps learning and improving over time. So, the more you use it, the better it gets at doing the job.
There are three main types of process automation:
- Robotic process automation, or RPA – This is what people usually think of when you mention automation. It involves using software to perform repetitive tasks like data entry or filling out forms.
- Workflow automation – Here, you automate a business process, such as expense management or document management. It entails establishing how many steps there are in a given process, including the roles of the people who are currently involved. Once you’ve mapped these out, you can create the workflow inside a software program. Every step in the workflow can then be triggered by a specific event. So if you’ve automated expense management, for instance, a staff member who submits their receipts triggers the next step in the workflow — managerial approval — which triggers the next step.
- API automation – This involves using application programming interfaces so various systems can talk to each other. API automation is especially useful when you’re automating a complex process or workflow. If you’re automating customer service, for instance, API automation can enable your chatbot, customer service portal, and customer relationship management software to talk to each other, so the system can instantly retrieve the information it needs to address a customer query in a satisfying way.
While, nowadays, process automation is usually associated with AI, humans have been using technology to save time and increase productivity for centuries.
The best-known example of process automation is Henry Ford’s moving assembly line, an innovation that made mass production possible. The technology cut the time it took to produce a single car by ten and a half hours: from twelve hours to an hour and a half.
A century earlier, in 1811, English textile mill owners introduced machinery that made it possible to weave high quality material much faster. Interestingly, this was also one of the first recorded instances of workers protesting for fear that technology would make them irrelevant.
The workers in question formed a secret society and began traveling across the country smashing milling equipment. They called themselves ‘luddites’, a term which is now used — often disparagingly — to describe someone who shuns technology.
Want to know more?
Fear of being replaced by robots is increasingly commonplace among employees. But this research study suggests these fears are largely unfounded and that automation is actually creating more, better quality jobs.
This case study is a real-world example of how process automation can make life easier for employees and dramatically improve the customer experience.
Witness the potential of process automation with Jaid’s AI-powered platform – contact us today for a free demo!