Intelligent Process Automation and B2B Use Cases
Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) is a new and rising topic in the worlds of automation and business alike. In this article, we summarise the key points of what IPA is and why it is going to be a game-changer in numerous business contexts.
What is Intelligent Process Automation?
Intelligent Process Automation can be seen as a combination of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence (AI). RPA refers to software tools that automate human activities that are typically manual, repetitive and rule-determined. Machine Learning is an application of Artificial Intelligence that enables computer systems to learn and improve from past experience without being directly programmed. When Robotic Process Automation is augmented with Machine Learning, it enables human tasks to be performed robotically while also learning to improve, optimise and make decisions over time. This is accomplished through advances in cognitive technology and deep learning and results in a whole new category of business-process tools and improvements that lead to increased performance, and efficiency.
Intelligent Process Automation – Short Definition: Intelligent Process Automation is a category of innovative technologies that combines Robotic Process Automation (RPA) with Machine Learning, automating repetitive and manual tasks while optimising them over time.
B2B Marketing and Sales Use Cases
There are a number of B2B use cases that are relevant for Intelligent Process Automation, and a few of these are briefly outlined below:
Social Listening: Due to the applications of Natural Language Processing (NLP) in IPA, specialised software can be used to analyse social network conversations and news pieces. This type of analysis can be applied to actionable sales and marketing signals.
Customer Relationship Management & Lead Nurturing: automated recommendations to clients can be automated. For example, software subscription upgrade recommendations can be automated by creating client profiles and matching the right service to their needs based on intelligent automatic decision making.
CRM Data: IPA removes the need for manual data input and avoids human error. It can be used to categorise the data to display it to the relevant sales or marketing department for cases such as sales enablement or acceleration.
Social Selling: direct engagement and outreach can be automated through Intelligent Process Automation and improved over time by analysing response data. Additionally, replies can be automatically categorised and appropriate actions can be recommended through NPL.
Other Use Cases
Outside of the realm of B2B marketing and sales, there are many other relevant use cases worth considering:
Recruitment: Intelligent Process Automation can be used by Human Resources to find resumes online and sort through received applications, helping with screening and assessment, and improving the recruitment process over time.
Invoices: The Aberdeen Group found that it takes from 4 to 16 days to process an invoice from receipt to approval due to the high amount of manual processing involved. IPA can improve error identification, data input and undertake processing decision making which would normally require human intervention.
Payroll: payroll processing is a routine and very time-consuming task for most organisations. Intelligent Process Automation can reduce inaccuracies and errors through data checking and automation of transactions across various systems.
Price Comparison: IPA can compare product or service attributes, quality and prices to supplement purchasing decision making and remove human-bias differences.
Workflow: Automate document review and analysis workflows, decreasing turn-around times across the organisation and improving document review quality over time.
Customer Support: responses to customer emails can be automated over time through NLP, the ability of a computer to understand human language and take the right action, functionalities in Intelligent Process Automation. Through customer service review the system can optimise what kind of actions are more appropriate to different types of requests.