Top Intelligent Automation Trends Worth Watching

Expect more cloud tech and human-digital collaboration in the very near future.

Written by Beth Homer
Published on Feb. 22, 2023
Top Intelligent Automation Trends Worth Watching
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Facilitating innovation and even growth in 2023 and beyond will require the resilience and efficiency-building capabilities of intelligent automation. The combination of artificial intelligence (AI), business process management (BPM), robotic process automation (RPA) and other complementary technologies will enable organizations to optimize workflows and streamline processes. 

Top Intelligent Automation Trends

Buy-in from employees

Human-digital collaboration

IA and artificial intelligence boosting the customer experience

Federated development as the operational standard

The citizen-developer revolution

Next-level artificial intelligence

To help organizations achieve intelligent automation (IA) success, leaders from the global SS&C Blue Prism team predict the following trends will become key priorities this year.

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Stakeholder Buy-In 

Organizational culture plays a critical role in the success of any digital transformation initiative. Workers drive home business objectives, and when it comes to digital transformation, they are the ones using, implementing and sometimes building automations. Curiosity, innovation and the willingness to take risks are essential ingredients to transformative digitalization. 

Fostering the right work environment will be a key focus point for the year ahead not only to cultivate buy-in, but also to improve talent retention and acquisition, as labor supply issues are predicted to continue into 2023 and beyond.

 

Humans in the Loop 

Interest in AI is going to see a huge upswing in 2023. The role of AI has been steadily growing due to its ability to optimize workflows and maximize economic value, with some companies adding as much as 20 percent to their earnings thanks to advanced technology, according to McKinsey research

AI’s increasing prominence will mean human-digital collaboration will take center stage. Workflows are transformed when AI is combined with the application of RPA and business process management. Human and digital workers collaborate and serve complementary roles. 

A seamless blend of the human and digital workforce will become more of a reality as organizations continue realizing the tangible benefits of this transformative approach. 

Organizations can map out and manage end-to-end processes and automating routine tasks along the way, while humans focus on complex or out-of-the-ordinary tasks. A seamless blend of the human and digital workforce will become more of a reality as organizations continue realizing the tangible benefits of this transformative approach. 

 

IA Boosting the Customer Experience 

Interest in the customer experience has expanded over the last few years, driven largely by the pandemic, which forced many organizations to ramp up their digital transformations and give CX a digital-first focus. In 2022, customer experience was the fastest-growing priority area for customer care leaders. 

Not only will this continue, but it will also push the need for digitalization to meet the growing demands and expectations of customers. Savvy customers will expect high levels of convenience and personalization, all of which can only be delivered with the support of AI and data analytics. 

 

Federated Development as the Operational Standard

Expect to see federated development become the operational standard. Gaps in tech talent have made it a struggle to gain the full benefits of digital transformation. This has led to the search for robust operating models that facilitate digitalization amid a lack of resources, including citizen development and federated development. 

This growing trend will be facilitated by centers of excellence (CoEs) and vast improvements in low-code and no-code capabilities. CoEs will continue to serve a governance and oversight role, establishing best practices and sourcing tech vendors. However, we will increasingly see training, implementation and even development within business units. For this to be successful, it will be important that the business frontlines have automation champions that drive automation within each department.

 

More Focus on Orchestration

One of the biggest obstacles organizations have observed in their digital transformation journeys is a lack of coordination, leading to haphazard development and siloed data. This prevents IA from being integrated throughout the organization across departments, processes and tasks. 

Capitalizing on the full benefits of IA requires enterprise-wide scale, which is only facilitated by the complete integration of a comprehensive intelligent automation platform. Businesses are realizing the need to break down barriers, let data move across the organization, and enable automations to operate across the business if they want to maximize value and achieve returns on investments faster.

Expect an increase in demand for platforms that offer a comprehensive portfolio of advanced technologies that enable streamlined integration. Departments will no longer only have ownership over one advanced technology. Instead, IA platforms will be used like a toolbox — using the best tool or tools for a given situation. Integration will also enable workers to have access to the right data when they need it, thanks to cross-departmental barriers being broken down. Integration is essential to effective digitalization.

 

Even More Cloud Tech

Customers are demanding more intelligent and digital services, delivered in real-time. Cloud-enabled technologies’ inherent speed, scalability and value-creating abilities are drawing the attention of enterprises. Cloud adoption facilitates tremendous financial value, to the tune of $1 trillion for Fortune 500 companies alone.

Traditional financial players in particular are widely positioned to embrace the benefits of cloud tech in 2023. Increasing competition from the rise of fintech and challenger banks along with the growth of remote operations, have made cloud-enabled technologies essential in this sector. The agility, scalability and reduced costs are another key draw going into 2023, amid financial volatility and ever-changing consumer preferences and demands. 
 

The Citizen Developer Revolution 

Scaling intelligent automation amid a global talent shortage, especially when it comes to high-tech skills, is no easy feat. Citizen development involves non-IT trained workers using low-code or no-code platforms to develop business applications. The problem is that, without sufficient training as well as some IT involvement, development is likely to be inefficient, redundant and unimpactful. 

As a result, we’re expecting to see a more organized form of citizen development. This shift will see proactive involvement from business leaders: conveying a strategic vision to workers, adjusting budgets as needed and offering formal training programs, all of which will drive organization-wide adoption of IA. 

IT will play an active role, with CoEs providing oversight to ensure quality and functionality of developed applications. Fusion teams composed of a mix of citizen and professional developers will emerge. They will share workloads in ways that take advantage of their unique skill sets, speeding up effective digital transformation. 

 

Next-Level Artificial Intelligence 

The next big shift in artificial intelligence is undoubtedly generative AI. In the last 12 months alone, we’ve seen extraordinary advancements in AI’s ability to turn text into almost anything. 

We’ve seen AI generate images, code and even applications from text. With these developments, we can say that “text to automation,” using generative AI is just around the corner, with the first commercially available offering to appear on the market in 2023. Welcome to the age of AI-developed digital transformation. It will be as simple as saying, “Computer, automate this task for me.”

 

Enhancing Low-Code and No-Code Efforts  

Businesses are facing substantial challenges related to skills gaps, and talent retention and acquisition. High-tech workers are in short supply and, as a result, costly. 

Many businesses are looking for ways to democratize development and create automation-enabled workflows. Low-code and no-code development will grow among businesses thanks to its ease of use, unburdening IT teams while also enabling business users to contribute to development. 

With just a bit of training, business users or technologists — employees who use tech or analytics skills outside of the IT team — can build applications that drive productivity. The key is to engage in organized citizen development practices and make sure business technologists turned developers are given redefined roles that enable them to focus sufficiently on development. 

We also expect democratization of development to take on an AI focus, including AI driven RPA, pretrained AI models, and applications with inherent AI functionality. 

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Playing the Long Game 

Organizations are dealing with an economic downturn, a tight labor market and continued supply chain disruptions. As companies prepare, they will focus on automation efforts that drive resilience and efficiency. Businesses will improve what they have, thus increasing utilization rates and enhancing processes and procedures.

These simple initiatives can pave the way for more effective transformation down the road. Businesses will utilize the power of data to ensure the processes that they do automate are going to produce the best results. This process mining will be an integral part of automation efforts in the coming months.

Ensuring the federated model and organized citizen development are carried out well will foster greater efficiency in a volatile market. This year will be the year of quality over quantity, which will equip organizations with resiliency, and set them up for long-term success.

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