Jerry Cuomo and a distinguished cast of co-authors present The Art of Automation, providing leaders with an understanding of how AI-powered automation can hyper-accelerate digital transformation.

Table of Contents

Foreword: The Business of Automation

By: Mike Gilfix

Businesses spend billions of hours a year on work that strips people of time and keeps them from focusing on higher-value things. AI-powered Automation helps people reclaim up to 50% of their time, and that’s something we all need.

Chapter 1: Introduction to the Art of Automation

By: Jerry Cuomo

Many companies are declaring 2021 as ‘The Year of Automation,’ seeing automation as an essential part of how we address our new normal.

Chapter 2: Automation with Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

By: Allen Chan 

RPA is made up of three core technologies — workflow automation, screen scraping and AI. It is the unique combination of these three technologies that allows RPA to solve the productivity challenge of manual desktop tasks.

Chapter 3: Automation with Intelligent Document Processing

By: Eileen Lowry

Organizations are spending more and more time manually processing documents, where we can’t just blame the poor image quality of the fax machine.

Chapter 4: Automation and APIs

By: Rob Nicholson

In order to assist clients to accelerate their Automation projects with Integration, IBM has pulled all of its automation capabilities together into a single platform.

Chapter 5: Automation with AIOps

By: Rama Akkiraju

We envision fully instrumented, observable, self-aware, automated and autonomic IT operations environments in the future. AI can help us get there.

Chapter 6: Automation in Healthcare

By: Jerry Cuomo

A conversation between Jerry Cuomo and Claus Jensen from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on automation in the healthcare industry.

Chapter 7: Automation in Insurance

By: Jerry Cuomo

A conversation between Jerry Cuomo and Carol Poulsen from The Co-operators Group on Automation in the Insurance Industry.

Chapter 8: Automation and the Weather

By: Jerry Cuomo

A conversation between Jerry Cuomo and Lisa Seacat DeLuca, Distinguished Engineer, author and the most prolific inventor in the history of IBM (with over 800 patents) on automation and the weather.

Chapter 9: Automation at Sea

By: Jerry Cuomo

A conversation between Jerry Cuomo and Don Scott, Director of Engineering at Submergence Group and the mastermind behind the Mayflower Autonomous Ship, on automation at sea.

Chapter 10: Automation in Retail

By: Jerry Cuomo

A conversation between Jerry Cuomo and Tim Vanderham from NCR Corporation on automation in the retail industry.

Chapter 11: Automation and Process Mining

By: Harley Davis

Process mining gives you the tools and methodologies that you need to unlock the data that shows how processes work, how people do their job and where problems are coming from. 

Chapter 12: Automation of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

By: Jerry Cuomo

A conversation between Jerry Cuomo and Ed Lynch, Vice President of IBM Digital Business Automation, on the automation of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Chapter 13: Automation and Observability

By: Jerry Cuomo

What’s needed is higher-quality telemetry — and a lot more of it — that can be used to create a high-fidelity, context-rich, fully correlated record of every application user request or transaction.

Chapter 14: Automation and Digital Employees

By: Salman Sheikh and Allen Chan

Augment your team, automate day-to-day work and elevate employees to focus on what matters most.

Chapter 15: Automation in Financial Services

By: Jerry Cuomo

A conversation between Jerry Cuomo and Oscar Roque from Interac Corporation on automation in the financial services industry.

Prependix: The Art Behind the Art of Automation

By: Ethan Glasman

Like any good television show, musical, or other piece of media, the success and popularity of The Art of Automation podcast has quite a bit to do with the support staff who make the show happen from a distance. The cover art for the Art of Automation is recognizable anywhere.

Who is this book for?

For enterprises large and small, the pandemic has meant an acceleration in digital transformation by months or even years. There is no going back. The move to digitization has most certainly accelerated, and the benefits will be permanent. Automation technology stands out as a top enabler for digital transformation, sought after by business and technology leaders. The primary intent of the Art of Automation book is to provide these leaders with a fundamental understanding of how AI-powered automation can hyper-accelerate their digital transformation and help their business grow.

This book is a practical guide for leaders who need to understand and evaluate how automation technology can transform their organization, business processes and models. It combines both an aspirational and pragmatic overview of automation technology, its core capabilities and the value they generate from a business perspective. It describes various real-world examples, implementations and approaches, with industry-specific and cross-industry use-cases.

Leaders who are unsure of where to start their automation journey can use the examples in this book as a guide for selecting projects and technologies with techniques designed to speed up the automation of “bite-size” activities that deliver immediate ROI without having to wait until the entire end-to-end process is automated. 

What is covered in this book?

Our goal is to cover all of the key topics with which you need to be comfortable in order to positively impact your organization as it evaluates and implements AI-powered automation technology. Even if you are already familiar with the basics, the early chapters will reinforce your understanding of the most important concepts (e.g., closed-loop automations), technologies (e.g., Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and AIOps) and explore general use-cases. As you dive deeper, you will be systematically introduced to specific topics with details that will enable your organization to successfully implement solutions that leverage AI-powered automation. Feel free, however, to jump directly to a specific chapter that impacts your current role and answers your most immediate questions. The chapters that follow are co-written by some of the industry’s most notable experts in AI and Automation. Many of these experts can be heard on a corresponding episode of the “The Art of Automation” podcast. See references after each chapter.

From podcast to book

In this section I cover the inspiration behind this book. It all starts with customers. Over the past year, we have been hearing from IBM customers at an increased rate, pace and volume that artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are two of their highest priorities of investment coming into 2021. We in IBM Cloud and Cognitive Services unit have been listening and feel strongly that we have much to offer in the form of advanced products, services and consulting. But, given the heightened interest, we felt we can even do more.

Specifically, IBM has made AI-powered automation a top priority in 2021 and going forward. To that end, we have formed a business unit — IBM Automation — focused on further growing capabilities in the area of automation to serve these customers’ needs.

In this pursuit, I started talking with many of IBM’s subject matter experts across Watson Research, Data & AI, Business Automation, IT Automation, Integration and everything in between. I was floored by their knowledge, energy and passion for the AI-powered automation topic and how their breakthrough thinking could be used to make a difference for our users. So, I quickly felt that I could not keep these experiences to myself and had to share their energy, up close and personal, with our customers and the industry. This is where the idea for the Art of Automation Podcast came in. I quickly called Ethan Glasman, a colleague at IBM, who I knew could help. His advice was to keep the topics focused, short (15 mins or less) and inviting to ensure the personalities of the guest shown through.

My initial set of experts did not disappoint and included the likes of Rama Akkiraju, IBM Fellow and Forbes top 20 women in AI research on the AIOps topic. Also, Rania Kalaf and Ruchir Puri, a pair of distinguished IBM Researchers on the topics of Digital Workers and AI for Code.

Once word got out, I started hearing from listeners who also wanted to hear from some industry-aligned experts. To date, I’ve been lucky to have industry luminaries like Claus Jensen, CIO Memorial Sloan Kettering on Automation in Healthcare, and Carol Poulsen, CIO of Cooperators on Automation in Insurance. As of the writing of this Preface, we have 14 episodes under our belt and about 6000 downloads, and counting!

And now, the book. When I first mentioned the idea of the Art of Automation book to our GM, Dinesh Nirmal, he challenged me to do better than just a traditional paperback. Going on that the digital world of automation required something more appropriately digital. So, working with Ethan, Memsy Price and Jonathan Young, we came up with this unique approach to an eBook.

Well, here it is. We’re starting with this unique eBook format, where chapters of the book will be published as a steady rate and pace over the course of the year. Each chapter takes the form of a blog article, and this “cover article” acts as the glue that binds the eBook, with links to the live chapters and hints of the chapters to come, including a targeted publish date. Publishing in this medium allows the content to be searchable on the internet, while also allowing my co-authors to go into more detail, including links on how to find more information to progress ones Automation journey. Each chapter celebrates the unique voices of my colleagues in a subject that they are experts in.

Will the eBook be available on paperback and Kindle? Well… I’ll leave that up to you. Please send us your feedback at


The co-authors would like to thank the following for reviewing and editing the contents of this book: Mark Parzygnat, Memsy Price, Haechul Shin, Ian Smalley and Jonathan Young.

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