Companies have been diving in head first to take advantage of the benefits that RPA and AI offer, albeit for very different purposes. RPA, which automates tedious, repeatable tasks, is enabling companies to increase productivity, and reduce costs and errors, while freeing up staff to focus on more meaningful activities. Companies on the other hand, are using the cognitive functionality of AI to recognize patterns in data, gain business insights and predict behaviors and outcomes.
But it doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. In fact, RPA can be used to augment AI and vice versa. I recently wrote about this topic in an SD Times article, “Is Smarter RPA on the Horizon?” For example, by integrating RPA with an AI system, it is able to conduct higher-level tasks. If a caller dials into an automated system to retrieve an account balance, an RPA system can provide that information to the customer by “reading” the data. Now, imagine if it can connect with an AI system which tells it to extend a specific offer to the customer based on his/her interests, past history and other key customer-specific information. Thanks to AI, the RPA system is able to offer a higher-level response based on intelligence.
At the same time, RPA can provide value to an AI system. AI requires lots and lots of data, the more the better to achieve the most accurate outcomes. And RPA can be a huge help in this area. By conducting screen scraping to aggregate website data, RPA systems can automate and help expedite the data collection process needed to feed the AI algorithms. This enables data scientists – who are in short supply – to focus on the key tasks of writing the algorithms and training the AI programs.
When developing RPA and AI programs that are able to work together, companies should make sure they have a very collaborative development process. For example, they should log all actions and share that information with all teams. It’s also important to have close oversight of RPA development because its fast processing speeds can easily allow a mistake to cause a lot of problems in a short period of time.
The RPA/AI partnership represents the next level of maturity in AI development, and we expect to see more companies combining these technologies for mutual benefit. That way it can make AI development faster and RPA programs “smarter.”