Almost every industry today is welcoming in new colleagues in the form of artificial intelligence. From finance to healthcare to food services, companies are deploying intelligent automation for tasks such as customer service, facial recognition, and even fraud identification. As these new developments take the business world by storm, it becomes crucial for employers to understand not only what they do, but also the tremendous impact they can have.

Intelligent automation is the use of machines that can comprehend their environments, communicate and collaborate with humans and other machines, learn from these experiences, and apply what they’ve learned to future interactions. It can be any combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, robotics, and predictive analysis. Think self-driving cars where sensor inputs, camera feeds, historic data, real-time machine feedback, and numerous other factors all come together seamlessly to provide a safe and reliable driverless experience.

Intelligent automation’s impact on business

Intelligent automation is helping businesses better serve their customers by helping to create customized products and services, refining operations, decreasing costs, and elevating efficiency. For example, this means marketing systems can better present personalized offers to customers based on their profiles, and credit card processing systems can identify and intercept fraudulent transactions.

Just as we saw during the Industrial Revolution, intelligent automation is quickly transitioning from a “nice-to-have” to an essential element to running a business. Today, we would be surprised to see a bank without an ATM or a car assembly line without robots, and soon it’ll be unheard of to run a business without intelligent automation.

However, it is important to note that intelligent automation is not an attempt to replace all people in the workforce. It is about complementing and strengthening human capabilities, such as social and cognitive skills, for improved operations. These technologies will have a strong impact on the performance of businesses and allow employees to focus their attention on more valuable and creative tasks.

Where to begin

There are several steps companies can take to begin their intelligent automation journey. Company leadership must first determine priorities by regularly assessing the landscape of new and emerging technologies. They will then be able to reevaluate processes to make the most of these mechanisms.
Once the priorities have been determined, companies need to create a plan to communicate the extent and impact of their new technologies. They will need to adapt or redesign their processes, operations, and business strategies to embrace and optimize for intelligent automation. Employees will also need training to feel comfortable using and working alongside these machines.

With the technological landscape changing as rapidly as it has been, there is not only an opportunity, but also a need, to get involved and ahead of the curve before the next trends come around. Rather than absorbing more technology or replacing humans with robots, employers must focus on enabling their employees to achieve goals in collaboration with technology through re-skilling programs.

Adaptability is key to succeeding in today’s digital world. Intelligent automation means unprecedented levels of productivity, efficiency, and value―which means companies need to start asking questions they have never asked and developing strategies they have never considered. If your company isn’t adapting and shifting with technology, it runs the risk of falling behind.