Just as machines began replacing humans in factories in the 1800s, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is beginning to replace―or at least work side by side with―humans in almost every industry. From finance to travel to healthcare, 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 impacts they can have.
So, what exactly is intelligent automation?
Simply put, 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. Essentially, intelligent automation 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 driverless experience that is safe and reliable.
How is intelligent automation transforming businesses?
Intelligent automation is helping businesses create customized products and services, refine operations, decrease costs, and elevate efficiency. For example, marketing systems can present personalized offers to customers based on their profiles, and credit card processing systems can identify and intercept fraudulent transactions. Intelligent automation is becoming an essential element to run businesses―similar to the efficiencies that were brought about by machines during the Industrial Revolution. Today, it is difficult to picture a bank without ATMs or a car assembly line without robots. Similarly, intelligent automation will eventually be an integral part of all business operations.
Contrary to what some believe, intelligent automation is not an attempt to replace all people in the workforce. Instead, it is about complementing and strengthening human capabilities such as social and cognitive skills. Executives believe these technologies will have a strong impact on the performance of their businesses and, more importantly, allow employees to focus on more valuable and creative tasks.
What’s next? What do companies need to start doing?
In order to hop on the bandwagon (or get ahead of the trend), there are a number of things companies can do. On a high level, company leadership must determine priorities by regularly assessing the landscape of new and emerging technologies. From there, they will be able to reevaluate processes to make the most of these mechanisms.
More tactically, companies need to create plans in order to communicate the extent and impact of 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 in order to feel comfortable using and working alongside these machines.
No matter what the industry, technology decisions are increasingly becoming some of the most important business decisions. And, 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.
At Mindtree, we have taken a more humane approach to automation―one that involves upskilling and re-skilling our workforce. We have developed a curriculum to find adjacent skills to the jobs that are becoming obsolete and have begun to train our Mindtree Minds in those areas. This way, we are not only staying ahead, but also equipping our team with new-age skills and competencies that will prevent them from being replaced.
Ultimately, 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.