The Intelligent Automation Headstart You Need for 2024
It’s a new year and who knows what change lurks around the corner? Smart and streamlined business processes that help organizations stay agile and resilient – literally and figuratively – need to work overtime. As organizations gear up for unprecedented change, and anticipate a shift in reality as we know it, certain technologies are being aggressively explored. Amongst many predictions, Gartner highlights the importance of AI-augmented development, intelligent applications, and self-service platforms. One such transformative concept, Intelligent Automation (IA), explores the benefits of combining artificial intelligence (AI), business process management (BPM) and robotic process automation (RPA). Notably, IA has witnessed a surge in interest. Therefore, we are eager to delve into four key IA shifts that could reshape the technology landscape in 2024!
1. A piqued interest in RPA migrations
With 2023 seeing investments in RPA increasing, we predict this trend will gain more momentum in 2024. The past years have witnessed organizations’ total cost of ownership (TCO) for automation increase; as such, businesses are opting for more user-friendly and cost-effective solutions over costlier and complex alternatives. Not only that, legacy RPA tools also demand employees with technical acumen to code processes. This arduous reality is pushing organizations to look at RPA migrations to curb such challenges, and instead opt for intuitive platforms such as Microsoft Power Automate to enable everyday business users to develop automations.
Take for example, the case of a leading apparel manufacturer in Asia.
The manufacturer struggled to optimize production efficiency and minimize machine downtime in its factories. The absence of real-time information about machine downtime led to production losses and delays in fulfilling customer orders. Amongst other consequences, the business also experienced increased maintenance costs and extended downtimes. Leveraging Fortude’s expertise in Microsoft Power Automate, the apparel manufacturer addressed the challenge with a custom solution.
Fortude engineered a comprehensive system comprising 4 components to enhance operational efficiency, minimize downtime, and facilitate informed decision-making.
• The Admin Panel empowered administrators to manage master data, ensure system accuracy, and access historical data for in-depth analysis and reporting.
• The Power BI Dashboard provided real-time visualizations to monitor downtime patterns and make informed decisions.
• The Team Leads’ View helped efficiently report machine breakdowns, with a dedicated tablet near production lines enabling real-time data entry.
• The Mechanics’ View enabled mechanics stationed at the waiting area to attend to recorded downtime incidents on time.
Fortude’s Power platform support uplifted these on-ground processes through a framework that instantly analyzed data and created visual agents. This not only eradicated process bottlenecks but also significantly boosted productivity.
Does this mean the uptake on no-code/low-code developments will surge like never before?
2. Dabbling with no-code/low-code applications for business agility
As seen with Microsoft Power Automate, no-code/low-code platforms are gaining popularity thanks to its minimal requirement of coding knowledge or technical acumen in users to contribute to developing applications.
As businesses realize the need for customizations as opposed to fully automated processes, we might be seeing more uptake on low-code/no-code chatbots or teams building applications with drag-and-drop canvasses.
For businesses embracing automation, citizen development is an appealing concept and end goal.
The thought that everyday business users can automate tasks without relying on the IT department is appealing to businesses looking to reduce costs and increase productivity. Given that you can almost instantly develop or make modifications to processes, it helps businesses to stay agile and keep up with industry changes. As such, more and more organizations will be moving towards low-code/no-code developments enabling speedy development cycles and on-demand scalability. This type of accessibility also empowers teams to be more collaborative in problem-solving as well as strategic planning.
3. Aggressive uptake on AI-driven functions
AI has already revolutionized how we work, and it is no secret that it’s here to stay. The multifaceted functions of AI make it appealing to many industries. Gartner predicts that by 2027, nearly 15% of new applications will be automatically generated by AI without a human in the loop. Why? Because “they can learn, adapt, generate new ideas and outcomes and increase automated and dynamic decision making”. Let’s dive deeper into this.
The systematic connection between data and decision-making hosted by AI enables a cycle of continuous decision-making for businesses to optimize. Moreover, by leveraging AI chatbots and natural language user interfaces, businesses can promptly respond to customer needs. This is also known as “hyperautomation”, where technologies such as RPA, AI and ML are combined to achieve business efficiency.
Think of an international finance firm looking to streamline its invoice processing. The firm can leverage RPA to extract data from the invoices, AI for validation, and ML for anomaly detection to achieve a seamless and optimized workflow. Similarly, Fortude’s automation efforts have yielded remarkable results for a leading Australian food and beverage manufacturer; where RPA was successfully used to revolutionize its finance processes, resulting in an impressive reduction of processing cycle time by 90%.
As Jim Hare, Gartner’s VP Analyst said, “intelligent applications recommend or automate actions instead of just providing analysis so they can drive improvements – including better personalization, more efficient use of resources, improved accuracy, increased automation, more finely grained responses and decision support”.
Intelligent document processing is another point of focus for the coming year. The adoption of IDP is set to streamline accuracy by extracting information from unstructured data and reducing manual data entry tasks.
4. Focus on sustainability and ethics
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) efforts will continue to be of importance this year. Digital solutions that support ecological sustainability and human rights are becoming more important than ever for businesses. The universal fight against climate change is holding organizations accountable and demanding businesses adopt greener practices. Automation methods can aid in this endeavor by helping businesses implement efficient operations; be it by enhancing energy efficiencies in production facilities or waste in manufacturing processes.
And in the same light of following ethical practices, when it comes to the adoption of artificial intelligence, concerns around transparency and autonomy will become inevitable. As businesses embark on exploring intelligent solutions, they will also need to ensure guidelines and policies are implemented for all stakeholders to follow. From development to deployment, ethics and sustainability must be a priority.
2024 will be an interesting year for automation and the tech industry as a whole. As businesses turn towards RPA migrations as well as the adoption of low-code/no-code alternatives like Microsoft Power Automate, the need to do more with less will be a top priority for organizations. The aggressive uptake of AI, particularly in achieving efficiency through hyperautomation will propel businesses to also look at ethical practices. As you gear up to navigate the world of intelligent automation, don’t hesitate to tap into the wealth of knowledge Fortude offers through its dedicated subject matter experts and purpose-built automation services.