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Intelligent Automation (IA) is expected to be one of the most significant disrupters since the creation of the internet. As with the internet, there are advocates who will embrace the change to come and others who won’t. Fast forward 20 years and we can all see that the internet has driven significant global economic growth and prosperity, transformed how businesses operate, created more jobs and opened up a global talent pool.

So why am I talking about the internet in a blog about Intelligent Automation? Intelligent Automation is an advanced technology which will transform how people work in the same way that the internet has transformed communications.

So whether you embrace the change to come or not, what could a world where Intelligent Automation has matured look like?

  • Imagine a world where people spend their day at work utterly focused on helping customers, developing new products and services and using their intellectual talents to solve complex problems and create new way of doing things.
  • Imagine a world where citizens gain quick and easy access to services with civil servants freed up to focus on helping citizens with those more complex cases.
  • Imagine a world where people who are unwell are being diagnosed in real time using the power of a computer that has 100,000 times more brain power than a human giving their health care specialist the information needed to identify of the best treatment plan.
  • Imagine a world where people can get information quickly anytime day or night through chat bots and virtual assistants.
  • Imagine a world where organisations have streamlined their operations and knitted together end to end processes so they can compete effectively and provide a fast, seamless experience to their customers and citizens.

So what evidence is there that this re-imagined world will be realised?

There are some powerful articles in the press about the impact of IA such as the ability for IA to enable pharmaceutical companies to produce cancer combatting drugs in 7 years rather than 15.

CGI are using IA on The Hidden City project to help a city in Sweden move location as the earth is sinking – it is using an innovative platform to digitally map, document and interact with the underground infrastructure.

Using Microsoft’s HoloLens’ augmented reality capability, high precision geographic information system (GIS) equipment, and data provided by the local municipality will provide a true visualization of the underground infrastructure. This will ultimately serve as a model for the digital mapping of cities around the world.

IA can help organisations achieve different ambitions. Conversations with clients include using IA to enable their growth ambitions particularly where talent is scarce. Another example is how IA can also help financial institutions and corporates stay one step ahead of fraudsters trying to pass themselves off as legitimate customers. CGI’s Hotscan Intelligent Self-learning offering sorts the “good guys” from the “bad guys” by detecting high-risk financial transactions swiftly and accurately, therefore decreasing risk and saving organisations valuable time and money.

From a Public Sector perspective where doing more for less is critical, reducing agency staff costs through the ability of IA to seamless knit together process islands and avoiding hand-off problems between different corporate functions is just one of several examples of how public entities are looking to exploit IA.

M&As and startups are a good indicator of interest and investment in Intelligent Automation. Within the context of global uncertainty, Intelligent Automation start-ups have increased fourfold over the past 4 years.

So how does all of this relate to the day to day pressures that organisations face?

In CGI Clients’ Global Insights, executives are faced with industry trends that include becoming digital to meet customer expectations (85%), relentless regulatory demands (60%), budget or cost pressures slowing response (39%) and the growing use or experimentation with digital technologies (38%)[1].

This creates challenges for executives to balance their investments between growing, changing and running their business. The need to do more for less and shift their investment to digital revenue or income streams continues. Depending upon the strategic area and which levers the organisation wants to use to drive outcomes, different IA solutions apply.

Many of my conversations with clients are to help them to understand the benefits and test the application of Intelligent Automation to their industry and organisation. Most clients tend to start with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) due to its ease of implementation and fast ROI relative to other Intelligent Automation technologies. By using RPA, an organisation creates a virtual workforce that processes mundane, repeatable tasks over a 24/7 timeframe, freeing up employees to focus on value adding activities.

1CGI Clients’ Global Insights 2017


Interesting points Angela and shows the full spectrum of Intelligent Automation. I think there's a lot of evidence that organisations have many of the same challenges that they faced with the coming of the internet age. From Bricks and Mortar to Clicks and Mortar there is a parallel move from People and Processes to People and Software Assistants. 
Change management will be key in creating a vision of the future, sharing the art of the possible and getting pragmatically to the state required. 
Many organisations can be reimagined with robo-advisors and robo-support staff fulfilling commodity transactions. It's harder to predict how artificial intelligence will change complex operations and manual interventions and what opportunities will be created. That said there are many examples that AI is here with Driverless Cars/Trucks, ChatBots, Robo-receptionists and even robo-cops.

Submitted by Graeme Bruce on 04 October 2015

I'm a bit lost, lets do a terminology check...
AI = Artificial Intelligence = neural networks using machine learning = mostly statistics?
RPA = Robotic Process Automation = robots = software doing human work = mostly logic?
KA = Knowledge Automation = The science of automating knowledge, employing both AI and RPA.
IA = Something else? Is it a product or a marketing term?

Submitted by Wynand Vermeulen on 04 October 2017

Good question.

Intelligent automation is the term CGI uses to describe processes an organisation chooses to automate, which have been identified and automated in a way which releases workers to perform higher value tasks.

Intelligent Automation consists of a spectrum that CGI has created to help clients understand the different ways that an organisation can use automation from the more simple to the most complex types of automation.

Angela Rixon

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