5 reasons you need Intelligent Process Automation

May 21, 2021 | Process and Change, Research and Innovation, Technology and Partner, Vision and Strategy

Introduction – 5 for Friday

Welcome to our May edition of 5 for Friday. In this edition we’re explaining why you need Intelligent Process Automation.

Intelligent Process Automation brings together the fields of process automation (often through robotic process automation (RPA) or low/no-code approaches) and Artificial Intelligence. Allowing the creation of a digital workforce that can transform how your organization operates, how it engages with customers and the products and services it provides.

Intelligent Process Automation at scale is also called Hyperautomation so we’re covering that as well!

This post links in with our video series on Intelligent Process Automation where our CEO, Steve Sheppard discusses this topic with our friends at Digital Workforce and special guests. You can find this video series here.

You are also invited to attend our free interactive webinar on intelligent process automation being held on the 17th June 2021 at 11am (UK time). Please register via the following link: webinar registration. If you would like to suggest a question for us to answer during the webinar please email us at ipa@combined-intelligence.co.uk.

Why you need Intelligent Process Automation

Our first two reasons focus on the benefits of process automation. Starting with the core benefits that most organisations focus on before then looking at the bigger picture benefits that are sometimes missed. We then consider how process automation and AI (i.e. IPA) will transform the workplace, enable innovation and, for organisations that get it right, deliver differentiation and competitive advantage. Ultimately explaining why you need (we’ll go as far as saying must adopt) Intelligent Process Automation irrespective of the size of your organisation.

1. Process Automation – The basics

Process automation programmes often start by looking at high volume repetitive tasks performed by teams of people. These tasks typically involve people taking data between systems and applying simple business and data rules as they do this. These tasks are usually mundane and not particularly rewarding for the people involved. Automating these tasks frees people time, providing the organisation the opportunity to reduce costs (fewer people needed) or ideally allow its people to do higher value work.

Many automation business cases are driven primarily by cost reduction objectives typically based on this time (and therefore cost) saving based approach. This can make initial sense for some organisations but misses the bigger picture opportunity.

2. Process Automation – The bigger picture

Process automation has the potential, when done well, to deliver many more benefits. These benefits can cover operational improvements, better service delivery and also further financial benefits (such as indirect cost reductions and revenue growth opportunities). For example:

  • Throughput – Process automations, e.g. Bots, are usually faster than people in performing the same process and can run 24×7 without breaks. This increases throughput and reduces turnaround time (time to achieve the task outcome) leading to an improved end user/customer experience as well as enabling scale with fewer resources.
  • Quality – Well implemented process automations will achieve greater accuracy, consistency, reliability and ultimately higher quality outcomes than people when it comes to mundane repetitive tasks. Reducing the need for quality checks and rework will further free up time as well as improve data quality.
  • Security – People are often required to remember multiple usernames and passwords to access the various systems they need to perform their work. Managing and controlling access to these systems appropriate to each individual’s role is also challenging. Process automations can manage their own passwords and will only perform the operations they’ve been programmed to do. They will not share passwords, write them down insecurely or try to access information they shouldn’t. This reduces security risk and enhances compliance.
  • Resilience – Automations can easily be scaled out through additional compute resources. Updates to business processes can be applied rapidly in one place rather than needing to retrain multiple people. Ultimately increasing resilience to demand changes and unexpected events (such as a pandemic).

All these factors will also contribute to improved customer service, contributing to greater customer satisfaction which in turn will improve revenue.

Although automation will reduce the number of people needed it usually removes work that people don’t really want to do. Enabling these people and the organisation to focus on more satisfying and rewarding work.

3. Transformation and Innovation

The combination of AI with process automation provides a platform to enable the organisation to truly transform how they operate. Although it does require organisations to think beyond the, typically department based, task automations. Considering how they can transform end to end processes and ultimately how they, in the future, want to deliver services and products to their customers.

The addition of AI to process automation enables the processing and understanding of unstructured data (such as documents). It also enables the incorporation of automated decision making that goes beyond the application of programmable business rules. AI also allows much greater volumes of data and information to be processed and used, enabling greater insight and more informed decisions.

These technologies can also be incorporated within the products and services the organisation provides. Enabling the organisation to innovate in its offerings.

4. Future of Work

How we work has changed dramatically since the start of 2020. We’ve seen a rapid acceleration in digital transformation and much greater dependence on digital technologies to allow us to work. Alongside this, RPA and other process automation technologies have created a digital workforce which in turn has further changed our role within the workplace.

The rise of the digital workforce will continue and, in turn, our people workforce will need to evolve in both what they do and how they do it. This will lead to further efficiency gains but will also provide new opportunities for organisations willing to fully embrace technologies such as intelligent process automation and AI.

Read more about the future of work in our previous 5 for Friday post on how intelligent technologies will change the workplace here.

5. Differentiation and Advantage

As discussed above, intelligent process automation has the potential to transform how organisations operate; increasing efficiency, reducing costs and improving delivery. It can also enable organisations to innovate. This combination of transformation and innovation, in turn, provides the opportunity for leading organisations to differentiate themselves from others. Ultimately enabling them to achieve a competitive advantage.

It’s important though that organisations have a vision and strategy for IPA that goes beyond just the basics i.e. reason 1 and even reason 2. If they don’t, their initial gains will not grow to realise the full potential but their competitors might!

The potential is there, does your organisation have the foresight and drive to realise it?


If not, then get in touch and we can help! Email us at info@combined-intelligence.co.uk to accelerate your IPA journey.

We have also produced other articles on intelligent process automation the you might be interested in. If you want to know more about intelligent process automation then please read our blog series here. If you’re interested specifically in the benefits and pitfalls of IPA then read this series.

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