What is Intelligent Process Automation (IPA)?

Intelligent Process Automation is one aspect of a broader shift in technology, that of Automation as a whole. From driverless cars to autonomous drones, automation is helping make seemingly space-age technologies available today by creating and leveraging new forms of intelligence. Whether it’s customer communications in the form of desktop assistants, or automated tasks across an enterprise, automation is transforming the way we live and work.


What is Intelligent Process Automation?

Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) is the collection of technologies that come together to manage, automate and integrate digital processes. The primary technologies that make up IPA include Digital Process Automation (DPA), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).


What are the components of Intelligent Process Automation?

1. Robotic Process Automation brings speed and efficiency to the table. Deploying robots that mimic human actions helps to reduces manual input, increasing the speed and accuracy of organizational processes.

2. Digital Process Automation provides the agility and insight needed to enable a holistic approach to automating business processes. It enables you to manage the flow of data across your enterprise and makes it easier to identify areas for improvement and make agile changes.

3. AI then contributes great intelligence and decisions to the mix. This brings another level of thinking to the automation as AI can analyze data in a way that a human could not, recognizing patterns in data and learning from past decisions to make increasingly intelligent choices.

While these technologies are all powerful in their own right, deploying them individually is not enough. By uniting labor-saving solutions such as RPA and AI with DPA, you can ensure that you are taking a strategic approach and automating not only tasks, but entire processes, enterprise-wide.


Benefits of Intelligent Process Automation

“Many companies across industries have been experimenting with IPA, with impressive results: automation of 50 – 70% of tasks, which has translated into 20 – 35% annual run-rate cost efficiencies,” reports McKinsey. This is achieved in the following ways:

- Orchestration of humans and robots

Rather than simply deploying technologies like RPA in silos and leaving them to complete individual tasks, Intelligent Process Automation can help to co-ordinate work between robots, people and systems. Robotics are all well and good, but unless you integrate them with an IPA platform, you will end up with isolated solutions as opposed to enterprise-wide solutions.

- Freeing up employees from routine tasks

Employees can be released from labor-intensive tasks by RPA and work on more value-adding tasks. By combining with DPA and AI, you can rest assured that the correct decision is being made because it is planned out in the workflow with AI helping to make informed decisions along the way.

- Ensuring proper governance and minimizing risk

By automating end-to-end processes, you can reduce the risk of errors such as incorrect data entry. RPA takes care of this by automating tasks, but if it breaks or deviates from the organizational standard, IPA gives you the peace of mind knowing that your processes are consistently being completed.

- End-to-end visibility of processes and the customer journey

When individual automation technologies are deployed, it can be hard to see the enterprise-wide result. Using IPA, you can see the entire process, allowing you to identify bottlenecks or points at which the customer journey could be smoother.

- Agility and speed of process change

IPA enables you to not only accelerate end-to-end processing but also makes it easy to make agile changes to processes and the technologies that support them. This helps organizations to continually improve their business processes.


Intelligent Process Automation use cases

Intelligent Process Automation can be used to enhance a number of business processes across industries including onboarding (employees, vendors and customers), contract management, customer service and more.

Bizagi case study:
One of the largest banking groups in Latin America, Bancolombia, is using Bizagi as its Intelligent Process Automation Platform to deliver better customer service, both digitally and in-branch, helping humans and robots to work together effectively. The scale of what they have achieved in this space is beyond that of many of the world’s banks. One example of their achievements is the combination of Robotic Desktop Automation, co-ordinated by the Bizagi IPA platform, to support its branch employees by presenting them with the correct customer information in real-time, with AI recommending the best service for that person. This has seen a 59% increase in efficiency of services time and freed up over 515,000 hours per year in-branch.


Intelligent Process Automation: Innovation across the enterprise

Legacy systems are blocking digital transformation as they leave no room to incorporate new technologies. To deliver the disruption that so many organizations need, they require a platform that acts as an intelligent information conveyor belt that works in conjunction with your legacy systems and can be easily reconfigured.

As an Intelligent Process Automation Platform, Bizagi unites DPA, RPA and AI to form an integrated solution, which allows you to manage each component, drive digital transformation and ultimately deliver enterprise-wide intelligent automation.

As I said before in a previous blog, “Welcome to the age of intelligent automation. ”When you combine the emerging software robot or digital worker with the information conveyor belt, an automated assembly line is created that digitizes organizational processes. Now add artificial intelligence on top of the process (which knows both context and intent) and you have the most disruptive vortex of new technologies.

It’s no longer about Intelligent Process Automation vs Robotic Process Automation, because IPA creates a wider strategy around RPA and helps you get the most out of your robots. Rather than deploying technologies in isolation, unite them with an IPA platform to gain the agility and stability you need. This way you can identify where robots should be deployed and orchestrate your digital workforce while connecting your employees, customers and business partners.

“Advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation, supported by substantial capital investments, are fueling a new era of intelligent automation, which is likely to become an important driver of organizational performance in the years to come, says Deloitte.

“It is important for companies in all sectors to understand and adopt intelligent automation, or risk falling behind.”


4 tips for implementing Intelligent Process Automation in your organization

1 – Create a customer-centric business model by uniting your business 

Developing a customer-centric business model is hard when faced with a myriad of legacy tech systems and disjointed customer data. You need to be able to orchestrate to enable and end-to-end flow of data and information across technologies and applications. 

2 – Don’t deploy RPA in isolation to ensure end-to-end automation 

While RPA can help to automate data-intensive, repetitive tasks, the data often enters the organization in a semi-structured or unstructured format. This cannot be read by RPA. It’s like providing an English speaker with a Chinese manuscript to read. Additionally, RPA can be fragile and break if the UI deviates from the organizational standard.  

Bizagi feeds the RPA with the right information at the right time, so the robots become much more robust. In turn, this can help to accelerate the deployment of further robots throughout the business. 

3 – Create an agile way of working to deliver results quickly

If you’re looking to see results quickly from Intelligent Process Automation, it’s best to take an agile approach. Rather than the traditional big bang approach favored by so many organizations, working in short, iterative cycles delivers meaningful results quickly, then you can iterate processes quickly, as and when required. 

 4 – Instil change management to encourage all employees 

Change management is an important part of any successful automation project. The more you educate people about technology, the more accepting they are of it. Companies need to communicate that they are better serving their employees by automating their low-value tasks and redeploying skilled workers elsewhere.


Discover how Bizagi’s low-code platform can optimize your business processes.