IDC predicts that, by 2024, enterprises powered by AI will be able to respond to customers, competitors, regulators, and partners 50% faster than those that aren’t using AI. 
We recently acquired a robotic process automation (RPA) provider based in Brazil, named WDG SOLUÇÕES EM SISTEMAS E AUTOMAÇÃO DE PROCESSOS LTDA (hereinafter referred to as “WDG Automation”).* This acquisition will strengthen our AI-infused automation platform—making it one of the most fully-equipped platforms for CIOs and COOs looking to quickly transform and standardize business and IT operations for growth, efficiency, and resiliency.
Our plan is to bring WDG Automation’s RPA and AI-driven, omni-channel chatbot capabilities to two areas where enterprises have critical automation needs: transforming business processes and managing IT operations.
Ultimately, the plan is to include RPA capabilities across the IBM Cloud Pak® family, starting with IBM Cloud Pak® for Automation for business processes.
Transforming business processes: Shortening the time between recommendation and response
IBM Cloud Pak for Automation clients are already using intelligent decisioning, content, capture, and workflow capabilities to digitize and automate all types of work—applying AI to workflows to better understand situations, detect opportunities or problems, and make better decisions.
What will change with the inclusion of WDG Automation’s RPA capabilities? With RPA in the box, AI insights can be acted on by sending instructions to bots that complete tasks via the Cloud Pak and other systems—with no lag time or human intervention—for greater process efficiency and better customer/employee experiences.
Today, a lot of AI insights are still driven to people to take action. For example, Procure to Pay workflows still involve invoice processors at some point, usually at the point where you need to approve an invoice for payment. Imagine instead being able to easily identify the manual steps, quickly build an aligned RPA robot, and then add it to the pool of invoice processors. The workflow engine would gradually determine that the best way to handle certain types of invoices is to route them to the bot, sending recommendations directly to it. This automatic routing reduces response time, saves time for the invoice processor to focus on other work, and enables end-to-end automation of the process.
Managing IT operations: Reducing IT backlog
When we talked with CIOs and CTOs to better understand current challenges, less than half reported having an end-to-end understanding of their critical environments, despite decades of investments in “smart” tools for monitoring and automating their operations. Seventy percent said their resources were tied up keeping alive what they already have. They described situations of thousands of incidents per month—from minor to major outages—with users spending a frustrating amount of time switching from tool to tool, combing through data, and diagnosing signals before finding the thing that leads to resolution.
By using RPA with Watson AIOps, CIOs and CTOs will be able to self-detect, diagnose, and respond to IT anomalies in real time. IT users will be able to intelligently automate IT tasks for efficiency and make their IT processes and infrastructures more resilient to future disruptions. Staff will have more time to deliver new features and fix problems for good.
The solution path is similar to the Procure to Pay example above, but instead of adding the new RPA robot to a pool of invoice processors, it gets added to the AIOps action list. The bot can then respond to tickets and take action on behalf of the human operator.
Start simple intelligent automations, faster and easier
With RPA capabilities in the IBM Cloud Pak solutions—and a simpler licensing model—clients can more easily start and scale quick-win, high-impact task automation projects. And, as we infuse more AI into the RPA capabilities (such as exception handling, natural language processing, and unstructured content extraction), business and IT teams can look forward to quickly activating intelligent bots that can do more in more places—compliance, risk, human resources, security, and supply chains—aligning to more job roles, such as the reliability engineer.
Our aim is to help clients stand up successful AI-infused automation solutions for improved productivity and efficiency across business and IT operations. With a full set of integrated automation capabilities, including AI and RPA, CIOs and COOs will be able to do the following:
- Empower teams to quickly and easily create automations using low code tooling.
- Infuse these automations with intelligence—including templates for the most common scenarios for business and IT operations.
- Enable automation to work seamlessly alongside teams with pre-built integration to the most common applications and collaboration tools.
- Deliver all of this with a unified, consistent, cloud-ready runtime to drive down total cost of ownership.
Our aim is to help clients take AI insights into virtually every corner of their organization.
Watch the replay of the “Ask Me Anything” webinar where we answer FAQs about the acquisition. Learn more about the What, Why, How, and When.
* The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.
 IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Digital Transformation 2020 Predictions, Doc # US45569118, Oct 2019