What does artificial intelligence mean for your business processes?

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Key Points: 

  • To deliver next generation business process services and support the digitally reinvented enterprise, businesses need to embrace intelligent automation
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) can now deliver personalized, end-to-end frictionless experiences that are outcome focused and easy to scale
  • Learn about three cognitive solutions from IBM that are transforming the way finance, HR and procurement services operate

Welcome to the era of cognitive computing. It’s an era of artificial intelligence—systems that gather information, analyze, recommend, plan and more importantly, learn . In short, they help you make better decisions. Today’s data volumes are enormous and rich in variety —and now deep learning systems can ingest, analyze and reason across that data in all its forms. These cognitive systems are a huge leap forward leading to a “rethink” of the way people live, engage, and work.

How has this technology impacted Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services?

Traditional BPO, with its focus on operational efficiency and cost savings has not matched the compelling experiences that digital-savvy enterprises—using mobile, social, cloud and analytics—create for their customers. The emergence of intelligent automation has sounded the death knell for traditional BPO services. For the next generation of business process services to keep pace, they’ll need to develop an entirely new set of capabilities, such as:

  • The ability to co-create – advise, design, implement and operate collaboratively with clients to achieve end-to-end outcomes
  • A design thinking-led approach that reimagines traditional work flows using robotics, analytics and AI
  • A pre-built set of reusable assets and solutions exposed via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) on the cloud for seamless integration and rapid personalization

This will be a journey enabled by digital transformation, powered by analytics and augmented with AI that can disrupt, delight and create possibilities.

How can AI transform the way BPO services are delivered?

For starters:

  • Robotic process automation (RPA) lays the foundation for intelligent automation to enable autonomous decision making, deliver new insights through data discovery and provide contextualized support
  • Business processes become smarter and more accurate by extracting real-time information from work flows, context and environment at scale
  • Re-designed, frictionless user experiences delight customers by forging deeper human engagement through personalization

In my frequent interactions with clients around the globe, it is becoming clear that mature enterprises have already embarked on their analytics and AI journey. This was prompted by their need to establish a strong data foundation and generate actionable, real-time insights by embedding analytics into their existing business processes. Advancing the use of these capabilities by harnessing new value from unstructured data is a key step on the AI journey.

Analytics to cognitive journey for holistic, actionable insights

Artificial intelligence

At IBM, we have successfully incorporated AI with cognitive solutions developed using the IBM Watson Developer Cloud and its APIs into our BPO services. Here are a few examples of our cognitive solutions that transform the way finance, HR and procurement services operate:

  • The automated Language Translator in invoice processing in finance operations provides domain-specific language translation service to the off-shore team to improve their efficiency. The trainable cognitive application provides secure and domain-specific language translation service between multiple languages in scope. The translation service can also be integrated into the overall ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) workflow to facilitate process automation.
  • The Procurement Assistant enables users to make intelligent buying decisions by using natural language processing to match their needs to relevant characteristics of goods and services. This represents a shift from the traditional “search and compare” method to an easier and faster “find and recommend” mode in user experience.
  • The Agent Assist solution provides guided call assistance for HR Service Center practitioners. It uses natural language understanding to provide question and answer support and rapidly enhances agent expertise through step by step guidance with complex topics, analysis of caller context and insights for specific actions. This helps to boost practitioner productivity and improve engagement with customers.

The next generation of service delivery is at the intersection of business process innovation and technological innovation, and it’s about to bring frictionless front to back office process re-imagination.

How are you using artificial intelligence to enhance your business processes?

IBM Fellow and Vice President, Global Business Services

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