IRPA & AI (Institute for Robotic Process Automation & Artificial Intelligence) 4th Annual “Automation Innovation Conference” Defines The Innovation Agenda
At a sold-out 4th Annual Automation Innovation Conference in NYC last week, IRPA & AI defined the future of robotics and artificial intelligence and what we can expect in several industry sectors.
Frank Casale, Founder of IRPA & AI, and Weston Jones, Partner at EY and Conference Chair, organized and delivered an outstanding conference including RPA & AI case histories from ADP, American Express, Cisco, EY, Fannie Mae, PNC Bank, Northwestern Mutual, Neo Group, Key Bank and Prudential Financial as well as “best practice” sponsors and vendors including IBM, EY, PWC, EdgeVerve, Wipro, Sutherland, WorkFusion, NICE, Automation Anywhere, UiPath, Kryon Systems, Celonis, CapGemini, Verint, Cognizant, HelpSystems, Softmotive, BluePrism, OpenConnect, AutomationEdge, EnableSoft, Cortex, Confiance, and CSI.
Matz Lukmani, Google Product Leader – EMEA, keynote speaker for this high quality IRPA Automation Innovation conference, signaled the long-term expectations regarding RPA and AI by sharing the following vision of Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO:
“We will move from mobile-first to an AI-first world.”
Matz discussed Deep Mind, a UK-based Google internal consultancy focused on AI processes and machine learning. AI innovations are currently transforming Google products including Google Translate, Google Home, and Google Assistant, all new consumer products.
Google Ads (the company’s core business) is applying AI innovations to reduce time spent on repetitive, manual work (80% of current time), applying AI to optimize ad content (including headlines, copy, artwork, and offer), with the vision of freeing up 1 day per week to enable greater creativity (more head vs. hand work).
Matz highlighted EMEA results for several clients using Google’s new Smart Bidding + cross-device integration + data-driven attribution resulting in +5% conversion at the same advertising cost. These are “game changing” incremental results and underscore Google will continue to be the category leader in mobile advertising.
Other outstanding keynote presentations were delivered by Boris Krumrey (Chief Robotics Officer – UiPath), George Kaczmarskyi (Partner – EY), Gene Chao (GM – IBM Automation), and the compelling closing presentation by Dr. Anand Rao (Global AI Lead – PWC).
Casale also announced 4 early-stage, fast growing companies that were named “AI Incubator Accelerator” firms including SiriusIQ, ChoiceWorx, Brain Boxx, and Ruta Medellin.
In the case history sessions, most companies reported they are still in the early stages of RPA & AI development and implementation including preparing the business case, conducting proof of concept pilots, and demonstrating ROI (cost savings) and other benefits (enhanced customer experience, improved conversion rates). RPA started in the BPO sector where the primary objectives have been to achieve cost savings by spinning off and consolidating high manual labor administrative and back office processes. Now RPA & AI initiatives are being pursued in virtually every sector (i.e., banking, healthcare, marketing services, insurance, technology) to achieve performance improvements and cost savings on an enterprise-wide basis.
The consensus of companies and vendor partners recommended the following guidelines to increase RPA & AI success rates:
1. Business led – RPA and AI initiatives need business leader (CEO, CFO, President) leadership, not IT leadership;
2. Think Big, Start Small – big scale initiatives should be the long-range vision, but don’t select the most complex processes first; prove the concept with small pilots and then expand to an enterprise-wide initiative;
3. Create a COE & Governance Policies – headed by a GM or Chief Automation Officer to plan and implement enterprise-wide RPA and AI initiatives as well as oversee governance (this is one of the most under-invested areas to-date); recommend control by the businesses vs. IT; CEO, CFO, or COO reporting is preferred;
4. Develop KPIs (including hard and soft benefits) – it’s only partly about ROI through cost savings; results should include improved customer experience, and increased conversion to new product/business offers;
5. Consider People Implications – does your company want to change people or the way people work? In many pilots, the reduction in manual labor has raised the needs for staff retraining to handle higher level strategic and creative functions after repetitive, manual tasks have been taken over by robots.
We may all be reading IRPA & AI surveys, updates and predictions thinking changes are still a long way off. However, consider how quickly Amazon Echo and other virtual personal assistants have been adopted by consumers. As one speaker stated, Gartner predicts by 2020, consumers will be having more conversations with chat bots than spouses.
Where does your company stand in terms of developing an RPA & AI strategy and plan? What “blue oceans” do you see on the horizon in terms of automation innovations that can transform and disrupt a category?
As always, we welcome your comments and input!
Best wishes for a Happy Holiday season!
Jeff Gundersen, CEO
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