AI is the buzzword everyone is talking about but the path to successful AI implementation starts with Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Bringing self-service bots to every business sector has become a top priority for us all, butaccording to McKinsey,most companies aren’t choosing AI immediately. Instead, most companies today are focusing on process automation solutions. If you’re a business leader that wants to add automation today your best bet is to start with RPA or other business-process automation technologies.
AI might be going viral on twitter, but RPA is making the biggest impact on businesses right now — especially in the customer service industry. Still an emerging technology, AI is a bit too difficult and costly for most companies to implement as their first form of automation. RPA still delivers significant benefits and advantages over manual systems while delivering results proven in real-world applications with much lower costs and easier implementations. These differences have launched business process and robotic process automation solutions to the top of the automation industry until AI becomes less expensive and easier to manage.
AI Is The Future
Smart AI bots and Machine Learning solutions that learn and grow over time has been the goal of automation developers for years. There are real options in the marketplace right now delivering on those dreams. Research from McKinsey has seen these cutting edge technologies get traction, but in its latest survey business leaders reported 4-5 times higher rates of RPA and business process automation implementations than AI and cognitive engine implementations.
The reason is simple: AI is more complex and advanced than most businesses’ need right now. Brand new AI solutions offer the biggest opportunity for automation, but any company looking at AI opportunities needs to commit massive IT workloads and be comfortable with the large costs of implementing cutting edge technology. AI is the future of automation, but RPA is the step most businesses need today.
“AI is the future of automation, but RPA is the step most businesses need today.”
Systems like IBM Watson and Google Assistant that “think on their own” and robots that code themselves over time are understandably exciting for any business leader trying to dive into the deep end of automation, but such brand new technology is still experimental. Without a highly trained and talented IT department or the budget to support a stellar third party team, AI and Machine Learning aren’t as desirable to most companies yet. Technology develops at an astounding pace, however, so keep an eye on AI to become commonplace over the next decade. As AI becomes easier to implement and manage, expect it to make big jumps in adoption rates.
RPA Is The First Step
RPA and Business Process automation platforms are easier to implement than robust AI systems right now, so business leaders looking for automation are starting there. These process automation systems deliver the right amount of automation for the right price right now.
Balancing the business-wide and bottom-line improvements AI and advanced automation can provide while demanding much lower costs and a smaller learning curve, Robotic Process Automation (known as RPA), is transforming the way contact centers and live agents do their jobs. The efficiency of RPA applied to repetitive tasks in call centers improves the customer experience, but also impacts employee experience.
Efficiency is the defining characteristic of any automation solution, and RPA is no exception. No matter how good a contact center agent is, an RPA bot is more efficient. RPA can handle more customers faster than an agent can, and can handle many times more customers at the same time. Since RPA and self-service platforms take care of simple tasks, the calls that do make it through to contact centers are always interesting, high-value interactions. Without the burden of tedious interactions, live agents have the freedom to treat these complicated interactions with the attention they deserve.
“Many tedious processes primed for automation can take multiple minutes for live agents. RPA bots achieve the same result in milliseconds.”
Zappix and other third-party RPA vendors have found great success applying the proven power of RPA to customer service. Reading an invoice request, searching the database for the appropriate document, downloading the invoice, copying the customer’s email address, writing an email, attaching the invoice, and sending the email to the customer is a multiple-minutes-long process for an agent. RPA bots achieve the same result in milliseconds.
Businesses Are Starting With RPA For Now
Automation is becoming increasingly important to business leaders across the globe. With a variety of options to explore, choosing the best way to automate can be a hard choice. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning deserve the headlines the technologies have earned, but for most businesses the need for that level of automation is still a few years away. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) strikes a balance between the speed and efficiency advanced technologies like AI can potentially provide with easier implementations and smaller learning curves.
By automating repetitive processes customers and employees touch often, RPA allows businesses to jump headlong into the automation trend without worrying about the costs of large AI and Machine Learning projects. Business leaders looking to automate effectively and improve CX quickly while also improving employee experience should look to RPA as a first step on the road to successful AI implementations in the future.