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Copy, paste. Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V. Sound familiar? We’ve all been on the wrong end of a gigantic spreadsheet, facing hours of repetitive work and a monotonous decision-making process. I know what it’s like to have a single but crucial error somewhere in the middle of that information—a slip of the finger or a paste in the wrong place can cost you hours.
As your business handles more and more information, errors like these can multiply into the thousands across teams, projects and divisions until they become a labor-draining disaster. You need ways to handle repetitive tasks quickly and efficiently so you and your employees can get back to more interesting, higher-value work.
That’s where digital business automation comes in, and in particular, task automation combined with decision automation.
The RPA Revolution
The idea of business automation isn’t new. But right now it’s speeding forward with advances that enable automation to be applied to more types of work. We’re in the middle of an automation revolution that is redefining how we handle business information at scale. As recently as ten years ago, automation was rote and unintelligent. It required “hand-holding,” had to be carefully structured and could only make simple decisions.
That’s all changing. Now, businesses need solutions that assist in automation rather than simply fulfilling it, handle tasks intelligently and are highly autonomous. These solutions also must deliver customer-centric and personalized experiences, at enormous scale, without a massive back-end operation to prop them up. Digital business automation tools shouldn’t be exclusive to the tech-savvy, either. The right digital business automation platform should help you rethink automation across the entire spectrum of work, giving business leaders and IT staff alike the power to drive projects forward, resulting in higher revenue per employee.
Imagine having an evolving Robotic Process Automation (RPA) bot that can handle repetitive task work, backed up by a custom-built, contextually intelligent service. The bot can make complex business decisions on its own. With RPA in place, your employees can be freed from tedious tasks, and able to focus on handling more complex and novel projects and issues.
Why you’ll ultimately need a better bot
You don’t just want RPA bots that can handle repetitive task work now. As your business grows, you’ll need bots that can handle change, add value, and take on new use cases. You need your information to be processed quickly and without errors, while bots can learn contextually, so you can start pushing value back to your customers.
Digital business automation is poised to explode. The potential applications for more effective task automation and decision-making management range across multiple industries: loan origination, policy and claims processing, compliance, patient care, customer service, logistics management, fraud management, transportation…anywhere there’s digital labor, digital business automation can help intelligently automate tasks, make decisions and free up resources.
Need a few specific use case examples of disruption fueled by digital business automation?
Let’s say you have an RPA bot to handle entering invoice information in a back-office accounting system. A decision service built on our Operational Decision Manager (ODM) can handle rote computations like sales tax or product pricing. But it can also do much more. When the tax rules or the prices change, you can just update the rules in the ODM Decision Center and redeploy the decision service. That’s all there is to it. The invoice bot itself doesn’t have to be touched. ODM makes it easy to author, change and execute changes quickly and at scale, while staying consistent with policies and regulations. That kind of adaptability can save you tons of resources.
Need to validate client-submitted data that’s been copied into a system using a bot? ODM can make the process of validating that data more reliable and consistent. Starwood Hotels and Resorts uses ODM for at least 80 percent of customer check-ins. Just imagine how much you could save if you freed up 80 percent of the resources that were committed to validating one of your repetitive processes.
Let’s say you’re building a bot that needs to determine if the buyer can receive the product they’re ordering. Factors would likely include complex international regulations, status, location, and other variables. ODM can automate the order acceptance and verification process, as well as allow real-time modifications to be made when that information changes.
See how to reach your digital business automation potential
If you’d like to see the potential for digital business automation to change the way your business handles digital labor, watch the replay of our webcast titled “RPA and Decisions: Can business rules take software bots from basic to better?” in which our panelists elaborate on how to improve the automation of complex business tasks and decisions.
This webcast is especially useful for business leaders who have already implemented a RPA solution—or are in the process of doing so—and need to better understand the relationship between RPA and business rules.
For more information visit the IBM Digital Business Automation website and download our white paper here.