Robotic Process Automation(RPA) has been stealing the spotlight on automation. Task automation is real and beneficial, but there is more to automation than just RPA. Let's take a look at more contributors to the ever growing automation theme and more specifically, what will happen in 2019. The key theme for 2019 is that automation will become more intelligent through the addition of more context, analytics and AI. Here is my take on several forms of Intelligent Automation which may range from full automation to intelligent assistance. Although automation is doing fairly well in technical automation, it is barely scratching the surface in business automation.
Intelligent Task Management (RPA)
As RPA continues with success, it will need to become more intelligent to expand the kind of tasks it automates or even assists. RPA will take on more than repetitive and simple tasks leading to more technical and business benefits. Besides creating bot markets by RPA vendor biospheres, RPA vendors will start to include process mining, analytics and machine learning in 2019. Intelligence will be needed to take on more complex tasks and large process scopes to start to deliver on the promise of swapping people for software/hardware bots.
Intelligent Processes (BPM)
Processes will also increase their automation potential from simple straight through processing with discrete processes to more wide ranging and even end to end processes. The goal here will be operational excellence and consider the process as a key context to add intelligence represented by process mining, in flight algorithms and real time machine learning. Since processes are often the orchestration engines of delivering outcomes, processes will be smart enough to select the smartest resource to do the job. This orchestration capability will range from small process snippets the edge to discrete processes to end to end processes. The trend will be to more autonomy directed by additional intelligence thus promoting more emergent actions.
Intelligent Resources (Workers, Software or Machines)
Every resource that has not been displaced in a static or dynamic process, driven by outcomes or goals and constrained by boundaries, will start to be assisted by adding intelligence. It maybe static documentation or assistants brought up in context (the intelligent part) or it could be smart assistants the provide knowledge from lakes of data at real time speed to assist in detecting patterns to take intelligent actions in a specific contexts or a mixture of overlapping contexts. This will likely combine AI and analytics in many new and dynamic ways. Self healing will become a natural outcome for all resources even if healing means just in time knowledge. This will go deep into software infrastructure and networks.
Intelligent Decisions (Decisions or BI)
Decisions will start to leverage decision journeys to identify known and unknown triggers, known and unknown pattern, known or unknown contexts, known or unknown contexts and known or unknown strategies/scenarios. Algorithms and explainable AI capabilities will be used to interrogate data and even postulate appropriate responses. For stable decisions Decision Modeling (DMN) will strongly emerge in 2019. For all decisions a repository with search and cataloging features will emerge in the coming years.
Intelligent Customer Experience (Customers or Partners)
The Customer experience will be the main driver of organizations, going forward, thus a dependence on static and dynamic customer journeys. Unlike the decision journey the customer journey adds emotions and opinions to the journey. The customer experience will be designed and altered by the journey map that will become more intelligent and real time in nature. Measuring emotions, leveraging natural language processing, adding knowledge to assist the customer and adapting the journey to meet the need of the moment within the context of past customer knowledge and behavior will be the challenge. In other words the combined and balanced next best action for the customer and the organization. This means that there will be a new and dynamic balancing of operational excellence and customer experience goals with the help of additional and explainable intelligence applied correctly at the right time.
Automation in 2019 will take on new dimensional intelligence as automation is applied to more complex tasks in shifting/emerging contexts. The potential for automation will be unlimited over time, but there will be some key starting points initiated in 2019 and some foundations for the future.
More 2019 Predictions:
Future of RPA