BPOs Can Make Robots Even Smarter with Content IQ Skills
Business process outsourcing (BPO) organizations are in a unique position to move clients into the digital age and address the ever-changing demands of their industry. BPOs implement a mix of technologies to improve processes and provide unimagined ways to enhance the work environment, customer interactions and the way they do business.
A key piece of digital transformation is the ability to bring together an intuitive understanding of content and automatically extract all relevant information from documents. Add to that robotic process automation (RPA) to automate business process activities by utilizing software robots to mimic the steps human employees take to accomplish a wide range of tasks. As the use of robotic automation increases, BPOs have the opportunity to expand the use of these digital workers to “intelligently” automate content-centric processes involving images, documents and text, to further enhance operations and create better customer experiences.
Working in concert with RPA is artificial intelligence (AI). AI can learn from content and optimize performance. Its ability to understand and act on unstructured data is critically important in planning and achieving new levels of process efficiency and profit. In addition, AI aids in the development of new and innovative products and services.
Yet, RPA has had some limitations while working with unstructured content and has resulted in many BPOs and organizations alike taking a narrow approach with these technologies – only for specific uses cases such as purchase orders, for example. To grow and expand the use of RPA within an enterprise, robots must become smarter and be able to interpret and understand unstructured content (documents, images and text) and turn it into actionable structured information. Think of RPA as the starting point for intelligent automation where three digital classes are emerging and where different digital robots deliver varying degrees of cognitive and advanced content IQ skills.
Digital Class 1: Rules
Rules are “tried and true” automation tasks that can be found in every organization. Robots are used to extract and interpret existing applications for the purpose of automating rules-driven transactions. The cognitive content IQ skills include content digitization, searchable content and screen scraping. An ideal automation candidate for this class involves well-defined activities that: are organized in a repeatable sequence, deal with structured data; and include multiple systems requiring data entry or extraction. Processes may require digitizing documents using OCR (Optional Character Recognition), and delivery of that content to a repository. This use of rules is the easiest to implement and most widely adopted.
Digital Class 2: Learning
This class involves robots that learn and are able to understand unstructured content and apply it to process automation. The cognitive content IQ skills include content digitization, classification, extraction and learning. It makes RPA digital workers smarter, so they can automate a wider array of activities involving documents. This type of automation can learn from experience using machine learning to classify and extract data from images, documents and text – while automatically updating and improving processes to minimize human intervention. Learning is a fast-growing class of RPA that requires the ability to classify and extract data from a wide range of documents while delivering high value to an enterprise.
Digital Class 3: Reasoning
Cognitive robots are subject matter experts – learning from your existing processes, data and human decision making. This is where robots automate tasks involving intuition or problem solving. They mimic human intelligence and judgment. Advanced content IQ skills are used at this level to analyze and understand text. Reasoning combines advanced technologies such as natural language processing, AI, machine learning, and content analytics to mimic human judgment and problem solving to determine things like intent (requested action), sentiment and relationship between data. Reasoning is where forward-looking organizations are focusing their digital transformation.
When combined with RPA or any other intelligent automation platform like a BPM (Business Process Management), CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or EPR (Enterprise Resource Planning), content IQ skills make the software robots smarter and assist in automating content-centric processes. Cognitive skills target activities required by the digital worker to solve specific business problems. Advanced cognitive skills can be designed and trained for specific document use cases to give the digital worker the necessary competencies to perform the work that would otherwise be handled by an employee. Most significant, they change the way BPOs work by powering the new digital workforce with the understanding needed to transform operations and dramatically improve the customer experience, while reducing costs.