The convergence of AI, automation and customer data has now seen the emergence of a new class of tools, known as intelligent process automation (IPA).
IPA combines robotic process automation (RPA) and machine learning to deliver powerful tools that can mimic human interaction and make advanced decisions based on the outputs of those robotic inputs. In a recent interaction with Andy Gunawan, Regional Director - Asia, Nintex, we dived deep into the two concepts (RPA & IPA) and also talked about automation and its impact on work, workplace and workforce.
Nintex, a Washington based process management and automation company has recently expanded its operation in Asia, with a key focus on Singapore.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
What are your thoughts on automation and its impact on work, workplace and workforce?
In case of automation, there are two sides of the story, depending on the people’s mindset.
One side of the story is centred around people who use technology for their advantage, to streamline processes and cut costs and so on. On the other hand, there is another category of people who fear that automation will replace the jobs.
To be able to make most of the opportunities automation presents, we have to increasingly shift the people in the second category to find value in implementing technology. It is time that people acknowledge how crucial automation is going to be for every company. The world is changing so rapidly. If you are even two minutes slow, people will go to your competitor's door. Hence, to be able to stay ahead of the curve, ensure that you never have dearth of innovative ideas and deliver efficient work, it is important to enhance people’s capability. And automation does that. It gives the employees an opportunity to be more productive and efficient at work.
If you were to reflect on this year, what were some of the trends, in terms of tech adoption that you observed?
When it comes to tech adoption, different countries and companies are on their own unique journeys. However, overall, none of the companies has been really able to fully utilize the potential of automation.
But the growth has been tremendous, especially in Asia, we are growing rapidly in terms of technology adoption.
The hype in the market at the moment is Robotic Process Automation (RPA). One of the challenges that we are facing at the moment is that people are trying to solve all problems with one single tool, which is impossible. You need to have a dashboard to solve the process easily, have process mapping tools so you can know what kind of process you are running inside the company. If you don’t know the process then how will you utilize it? In Nintex, we have three different steps to follow: one is to manage, second is to automate, and third is to optimize. These three will run in an unlimited cycle because step one, two and three, you have to re-manage, re-automate and re-optimize along the way.
The world will now slowly move towards (IPA), the application of Artificial Intelligence and related new technologies, including Computer Vision, Cognitive automation and Machine Learning to Robotic Process Automation itself.
Can you share more about Intelligent Process Automation (IPA)? How does it fit into the world of HR and Work tech?
The IPA technology can be applied throughout the employee life cycle. Let me give you an example: let’s say somebody is trying to join the company. If we take the example of hiring to begin with, from creating a pool of candidates to screening to background checking to onboarding, you can apply different technology for different processes and stages.
According to you, what are some of the barriers organizations’ deal with most often in their digital transformation journeys? How can they overcome these barriers?
The mistake companies make is they focus on digital technology, and do the research on the technology. To lead a successful digital transformation journey they need to focus on people.
If you have all the technology that you can find in the world, but people don’t have the right mindset then the project can fail. It is the mindset that needs to be nurtured and shaped to be digital ready. As more and more people realize the value digitization would bring in, the tech adoption will improve.
Share with your people how technology will empower them and communicate what’s in it for them.