The Art of Automation: Foreword

4 min read

AI-powered automation helps people reclaim up to 50% of their time at work to focus on higher-value tasks, and that’s something we all need.

The Art of Automation: Table of Contents

I’m pleased to have been asked to write the foreword to the eBook companion of Jerry Cuomo’s podcast, “The Art of Automation.” Automation technology has been around for a long time, but in the past several decades, we've seen an explosion of information work in the enterprise.

Making AI-powered Automation work for you

When every business is a digital business (which is the case today), the proliferation of data is massive — far greater than humans can cope with alone. And making sense of this mass of data is just the kind of work that classic automation doesn’t address. Enter modern artificial intelligence (AI) technology, which can use algorithms to make sense of structured and unstructured data at a speed and scale no human could approach. Making this combination of Automation and AI — which we call “AI-powered Automation” — work best for you is, as Jerry says, an art.

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. If you analyzed how you spend your day, how much of it is taken up with tasks that add little value? How much of what you’re doing would you want on your LinkedIn profile? You wouldn’t have your profile say that you got all your expenses done on time. Instead, you’d highlight the new business you delivered, the IT vulnerability you identified before it impacted thousands of users, and the great value you built for customers. That's one of the ideas behind The Art of Automation — you can give yourself and your business hours back thanks to the capabilities now available with AI-powered Automation.

The technologies behind AI-powered Automation

AI-powered Automation includes technologies that, together, form the building blocks to automate business and IT operations and to collect and interpret data, digitally. Among those technologies are concepts that Jerry and others discuss on the podcast and in this book:

  • Natural language processing, or the ability to make sense of human text and word input.
  • Unstructured data processing, or the ability to interpret and classify a given document or image.
  • AI for IT Operations (AIOps), where AI helps Site Reliability Engineers detect issues early, predict them before they occur, locate the source of the issue and recommend relevant and timely actions.
  • Robotic Process Automation, where software robots mimic human interactions with the desktop to perform tasks.
  • Visual recognition technology, like optical character recognition, that allows machines to read and understand data in all sorts of formats
  • Other AI tools that can help act on information, applying machine learning to past outcomes and patterns in order to quickly and accurately support decisions and actions and help predict and avoid potential problems.

These tools and capabilities have become even more critical in the past year as the pandemic has disrupted industries and ways of working, increasing our reliance on digital as a way to work, learn, communicate, shop and collaborate. Being responsive to your customers and serving them in new ways is more important than ever, and automation plays a vital part in facilitating that kind of modern customer interaction.

Automation and working with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

One example we’ve seen of this is at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). We worked with them on their claims processing, which, when we started, was an extremely manual, error-prone and lengthy process. Claims arrived by mail and by electronic communication. The VA required 700 staff to sort through this big volume of inbound requests in order to figure out how they should best process those claims. It was extremely error-prone because it was all done manually. Turnaround time was typically 7-20 days. It not only cost the department a lot of time, but the customer experience was poor.

By leveraging automation, we were able to improve that turnaround time to less than a day, with urgent claims processed in as little as five minutes with little-to-no manual intervention. Automation powered by AI freed up the time of 700 VA staff, allowing them to focus on customer relationships and high-value work. And it facilitated a massively improved customer experience.

Learn more about the Art of Automation

Modern AI, intelligent automation, AI-powered Automation — whatever name you give, it has one essential function: to give people time to focus on the things that matter. Things like relationships, creativity and decision-making. Things that really make an impact on your customers and the world. Things that help you grow your business and your brand. The kinds of things, in fact, that you would want in your LinkedIn profile. That’s the beauty and the art of automation, and this eBook explores all of its possibilities in detail.

The Art of Automation: Landing Page

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