NelsonHall: Digital Transformation Technologies & Services blog feed https://research.nelson-hall.com//sourcing-expertise/digital-transformation-technologies-services/?avpage-views=blog NelsonHall's Digital Transformation Technologies & Services program is designed for organizations considering, or actively engaged in, the application of robotic process automation (RPA) and cognitive services such as AI to their business processes. <![CDATA[Automation Anywhere Launches AARI to Facilitate Bot Access to Employees]]>

 

NelsonHall recently attended Automation Anywhere's 2020 innovation day, where the company launched its Automation Anywhere Robotic Interface (AARI) digital assistant focused on making bot usage easier and more accessible to employees.

Automation Anywhere Robotic Interface

AARI “aims to elevate employees' workflows in the same manner as at-home digital assistants such as Alexa and Siri have enhanced their home life” and increase the adoption of RPA in the front and back office.

The AARI application allows users to:

  • Launch bots providing integrations to, for example, Salesforce, Google Sheets, and Microsoft Excel through a chat-based interface in addition to via the desktop application, mobile, and web interfaces. Automation Anywhere will also add voice support for accessing bots
  • Provide form-style entry into the bot, with the information then disseminated to the client’s business applications
  • Manage escalation scenarios.

Automation Anywhere expects CoEs to use AARI to create attended bots triggered using natural language conversations for workgroups or business users across front and back offices.

For example, in a contact center handling customer loans, once the CoE has established the logic behind loan terms and conditions, the workflow with AARI could be optimized to:

  • Collect the customer data from across platforms before the call, and present it in the contact center’s CRM platform of choice (e.g., Salesforce)
  • Provide forms during the call for the CX agent to populate with information from the conversation, which can then be used to populate the appropriate platforms, reducing the need for re-entry of information
  • Extract unstructured information from emailed PDFs using IQ Bot and run credit checks in the background
  • Suggest context-specific next-best actions incorporating business rules
  • On a natural language command from the CX agent to AARI, such as ‘send over the new loan terms to this customer,’ use the previously established logic to create a set of terms and conditions and email them to the customer.

Early adopter client examples include:

  • Colombian financial services firm Bancolombia using AARI to reduce in-branch wait times. The deployment of AARI was completed in one month and resulted in a $19m reduction in provision costs, 59% reduction in response time, and delivered a 1300% ROI in its first year
  • CX BPO firm TaskUs using AARI to improve employee experience along with shorter training cycles and improved agent performance for a San Antonio-based client, resulting in a 20-second reduction in AHT, a 3.4% improvement in CSAT, and 2.7% improvement in call quality.

Interactions with AARI are created using standard drag-and-drop task items from the toolbox and can leverage Automation Anywhere's Discovery Bot and other features. AARI will be charged on a $35 per user per month basis.

How distinctive is the AARI concept?

  • UiPath’s Forms feature provides an input form functionality similar to AARI to allow users to design forms for a user to input data, then disseminate the input data across its business applications, but does not allow users to launch bots through a conversational input with a digital assistant
  • The NICE Employee Virtual Assistant (NEVA) acts as an automation finder to launch pre-existing processes and conversational AI-based scenarios but lacks form-style entry
  • In the front office space, the use of bots to integrate platforms to reduce data entry and swivel chair activities is not new. Many of the CX Services vendors have had this form of capability for some years, in addition to handling escalation scenarios as a hygiene factor. These platforms do not, however, offer the automation capabilities of an RPA implementation. The CX vendors also have roadmaps to include features such as chatbots to capture sensitive information and assess the customer's tone to provide answers tailored to their emotional response.

Automation Anywhere differs in bringing together the form data entry capabilities of the RPA providers and CX vendors, and the more niche ability to interact with bots through more conversational means.

]]>
<![CDATA[AntWorks Targets Breadth & Depth in Client Engagements, Partners & Curation Capabilities]]>

 

Last week, NelsonHall attended ANTENNA2020, AntWorks’ yearly analyst retreat. AntWorks has made considerable progress since its last analyst retreat, experiencing considerable growth (estimated at ~260%) in the three quarters ending January 2020, and employing 604 personnel at the end of this period.

By geography, AntWorks’ most successful geography remains APAC, closely followed by the Americas, with AntWorks having an increasingly balanced presence across APAC, the Americas, and EMEA. By sector, AntWorks’ client base remains largely centered on BFSI and healthcare, which together account for ~70% of revenues.

The company’s success continues to be based on its ability to curate unstructured data, with all its clients using its Cognitive Machine Reading (CMR) platform and only 20% using its wider “RPA” functionality. Accordingly, AntWorks is continuing to strengthen its document curation functionality while starting to build point solutions and building depth into its partnerships and marketing.

Ongoing Strengthening of Document Curation Functionality

The company is aiming to “go deep” rather than “shallow and wide” with its customers and cites the example of one client which started with one unstructured document use case and has over the past year introduced an additional ten unstructured document use cases resulting in revenues of $2.5m.

Accordingly, the company continues to strengthen its document curation capability, and recent CMR enhancements include signature verification, cursive handwriting, language extension, sentiment analysis, and hybrid processing. The signature verification functionality can be used to detect the presence of a signature in a document and verify it against signatures held centrally or on other documents and is particularly applicable for use in KYC and fraud avoidance where, for example, a signature on a passport or driving license can be matched with those on submitted applications.

This strategy of the depth of document curation functionality resonated strongly with the clients speaking at the event. In one such case, it was the depth of the platform allowing cursive and text to be analyzed together that led to an early drop out of a number of competitors tasked with building a POC that could extract cursive writing.

AntWorks also continues to extend the range of languages where it can curate documents; currently, 17 languages are supported. The company has changed the learning process for new languages to allow for quicker training on new languages, with support for Mandarin and Arabic available soon.

Hybrid processing enables multi-format documents containing, for example, text, cursive handwriting, and signatures to be processed in a single step.

Elsewhere, AntWorks has addressed a number of hygiene factors with QueenBOT, enhancing its business continuity management, auto-scaling, and security. Auto-scaling in QueenBOT to allow bots to switch between processes if one process requires extra assistance to meet SLAs, effectively allowing bots to be “carpenters in the morning and electricians in the evening,” increasing both SLA adherence and bot utilization.

Another key hygiene factor addressed in the past year has been training material. AntWorks began 2019 with a thin training architecture, with just two FTEs supporting the rapidly expanding company; over the past year, the number of FTEs supporting training has grown to 25, supporting the creation of thousands of hours of training material. AntWorks also launched its internship program, starting in India which has added 43 FTEs in 2019. The ambition this year is to go global with this program.

Announcement of Process Discovery, Email Agent & APaaS Offerings

Process discovery is an increasingly important element in intelligent automation, helping to remove the up-front cost involved in scaling use cases by identifying and mapping potential use cases.

AntWorks’ process discovery module enables organizations to both record the keystrokes taken by one or more users against multiple transactions or import keystroke data from third-party process discovery tools. From these recordings, it uses AI to identify the cycles of the process, i.e. the individual transactions, and presents the user with the details of the workflow, which can then be grouped into process steps for ease of use. The process discovery module can also be used to help identify the business rules of the process and assist in semi-automatic creation of the identified automations (aka AutoBOT).

The process discovery module aims to offer ease of use compared to competitive products and can, besides identifying transaction steps, be used to assist organizations in calculating the RoI on business cases and in estimating the proportions of processes that can be automated, though AntWorks is understandably reluctant to underwrite these estimates.

One of the challenges for AntWorks over the coming year is to develop standardized use cases/point solutions based on its technology components, initially in horizontal form, and ultimately verticalized. Two of these just announced are Email Agent and Accounts Payable as-a-Service (APaaS).

Email Agent is a natural progression for AntWorks given its differentiation in curating unstructured documents, built on components from the ANTstein full-stack and packaged for ease of consumption. It is a point solution designed solely to automate email traffic and encompasses ML-based email classification, sentiment analysis to support email prioritization, and extraction of actionable data. Email Agent can also respond contextually via templated static or dynamic content. AntWorks estimates that 40-50 emails are sufficient for training for each use case such as HR-related email.

The next step in the development of Email Agent is the production of verticalized solutions by training the model on specific verticals to understand the front office relations organizations (such as those in the travel industry) have with their clients.

APaaS is a point solution consisting of a pre-trained configuration of CMR to extract relevant information from invoices which can then be API’d into accounting systems such as QuickBooks. Through these point solutions offered on the cloud, AntWorks hopes to open up the potential for the SME market.

Focusing on Quality of Partnerships, Not Quantity

Movement on AntWorks’ partner ecosystem (now ~66) has been slower than expected, with only a handful of partners added since last year's ANTENNA event, despite its expansion being a priority. Instead, AntWorks has been ensuring that the partnerships it does have and signs are deep and constructive. Examples of these deep partnerships include Bizhub and Accenture, two partners who have been added and that are helping train CMR in Korean and Thai respectively in exchange for some timed exclusivity in those countries.

AntWorks is also partnering with SBI Group to penetrate the South East Asia marketplace, with SBI assisting AntWorks in implementing the ability to carry out data extraction in Japanese. Elsewhere, AntWorks has partnered with the SEED Group based in Dubai and chaired by Sheikh Saeed Bin Ahmed Al Maktoum to access the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) region.

New hire Hugo Walkinshaw was brought in to lead the partnership ecosystem very recently, and he has his work cut out for him, as CEO Ash Mehra targets a ratio of direct sales to sales through partners of between 60:40 and 50:50 (an ambitious target from the current 90:10 ratio). The aim is to achieve this through the current strategy of working very closely with partners, signing exclusive partnerships where appropriate, and targeting less mature geographies and emerging use cases, such as IoT, where AntWorks can establish a major presence.

In the coming year, expect AntWorks to add more deep partnerships focused on specific geographic presence in less mature markets and targeted verticals, and possibly with technology players to support future plans for running bots on embedded devices such as ships.

Continuing to Ramp Up Marketing Investment

AntWorks was relatively unknown 18 months ago but has made a major investment in marketing since then. AntWorks attended ~50 major events in 2019, possibly 90 events in total, counting all minor events. However, AntWorks’ approach to events is arguably even more important than the number attended, with the company keen to establish a major presence at each event it attends. AntWorks does not wish to be merely another small booth in the crowd, instead opting for larger spaces in which it can run demos to support the interest in clients and partners.

This appears to have had the desired impact. Overall, AntWorks states that in the past year it has gone from being invited to RFIs/RFPs in 20% of cases to 80% and that it intends to continue to ramp up its marketing budget.

A series B round of funding, currently underway, is targeted on expanding its marketing investments as well as its platform capabilities. Should AntWorks utilize this second round of funding as effectively as its first with SBI Investments 2 years ago, we expect it to act as a springboard for exponential growth and these deep relationships and continue to lead in middle- and back-office intelligent automation use cases with high volumes of complex or hybrid unstructured documents.

]]>
<![CDATA[UiPath: Forging Connections Between Business Users & Automation]]>

 

Reboot work was the slogan for UiPath’s recent Forward III partner event, a reference to rethinking the way we work. UiPath’s vision is to elevate employees above repetitive and tedious tasks to a world of creative, fulfilling work. The company’s vision is driven by an automation first mindset, along with the concept of a bot for everyone and human-automation collaboration.

During the event, which attracted ~3K attendees, UiPath referenced ~50 examples of clients at scale, and pointed to a sales pipeline of more than $100m.

Previously, UiPath’s automation process had three phases: Build, Manage, and Run, using Studio, Orchestrator, and Attended and Unattended bots respectively. Their new products extend this process to six phases: Plan, Build, Manage, Run, Engage, and Measure. In this blog, I look at the six phases of the UiPath automation process and at the key automation products at each stage, including new and enhanced products announced at the event.

 

 

Plan phase (with Explorer Enterprise, Explorer Expert, ProcessGold, and Connected Enterprise)

By introducing the product lines Explorer and Connected Enterprise, UiPath aims to allow RPA developers to have a greater understanding of the processes to be automated when planning RPA development.

Explorer consists of three components, Explorer Enterprise, Explorer Expert, and ProcessGold. Explorer provides new process mapping and mining functionality building on two UiPath acquisitions: the previously announced SnapShot, which now comes under the Explorer Enterprise brand, and the newly announced ProcessGold whose existing clients include Porsche and EY. Both products construct visual process maps in data-driven ways; Explorer Enterprise (SnapShot) does this by observing the steps performed by a user for the process, and ProcessGold does this by mining transaction logs from various systems.

Explorer Enterprise performs task mining, with an agent sitting in the background of a user machine (or set of users’ machines) for 1-2 weeks. Explorer then collects details of the user activities, the effort required, the frequency of the activity, etc.

ProcessGold, on the other hand, monitors transaction logs and, following batch updates and 2 to 3 hours of construction, builds a process flow diagram. These workflow diagrams show the major activities of the process and the time/effort required for each step, which can then be expanded to an individual task level. Additionally, at the activity level, the user has access to activity and edge sliders. The activity slider expands the detail of the activities, and the edge slider expands the number of paths that the logged users take, which can identify users possibly straying from a golden path.

Administrators can then use the data from Explorer Enterprise and/or ProcessGold in Explorer Expert. Explorer Expert allows the admin users to enter deeper organizational insights, and either record a process to build or manually create a golden path workflow. These workflows act as a blueprint to build bots and can be exported to Word documents which can then be used by bot creators.

Connected Enterprise enables an organization to crowdsource ideas for which processes to automate, and aims to simplify the automation and decision-making pipelines for CoEs.

Automation ideas submitted to Connected Enterprise are accompanied by process information from the submitter in the form of nine standard questions, such as how rule-based it is, how likely to change it is, who the owner is, etc. as well as process owners. This information is crunched to produce automation potential and ease of implementation scores to help decide on the priority of the automation idea. These ideas are then curated by admins who can ask the end-user for more information, including an upload of ProcessGold files.

The additions of Explorer and Connected Enterprise allow developers to gain deeper insights into the processes to be automated, and business users to connect with RPA development.

Build phase (with enhanced Studio, plus new StudioX & StudioT)

New components to the build phase include StudioX and StudioT along with a number of enhancements to the existing Studio bot builder.

StudioX is a simplified version of the Studio component which is targeted at citizen developers and regular business users, which UiPath referred to ‘Excel power user level’, to create more simplistic bots as part of a push for citizen developers and a bot for every person.

StudioX simplifies bot development by removing the need for variables, and reduces the number of tasks that can be selected. Bots produced with StudioX can be opened with Studio; however, the reverse may not necessarily be the case depending on the components used in Studio.

The build-a-bot demo session for StudioX focused on using Excel to copy data in and out of HR and finance systems and extracting and renaming files from an Outlook inbox to a folder. Using StudioX in the build-a-bot session was definitely an improvement over Studio for the creation of these simple bots.

StudioT, which is in beta and set to release Q1 2020, will act as a version of Studio focused entirely on testing automation. NelsonHall’s software testing research, including software testing automation, can be found here.  

Further key characteristics of the existing build components include:

  • Long-running workflows which can suspend a process, send a query to a human while freeing up the bot, and continuing the bot once the human has provided input
  • Cloud which has a 1-minute signup for the Community version of the aaS platform and (as of September 2019) has 240k users, up from 167k in June 2019
  • Queue triggers which can automatically take action when items are added to the queue
  • More advanced debugging with breakpoint and watch panels
  • Taxonomy management
  • Validation stations.

With the introduction of StudioX, UiPath aims to democratize RPA development to the business users, at least in simple cases; and with long-running workflows, human-bot collaboration no longer requires bots to sit idle, hogging resources while waiting for responses.

Manage phase (with AI Fabric)

The Manage phase now allows users to manage machine learning (ML) models using AI Fabric, an add-on to Studio. It allows users to more easily select ML models, including models created outside of UiPath, and integrate them into a bot. AI Fabric, which was announced in April 2019, has now entered private preview.

Run phase (with enhancements to bots with native integrations)

Improvements to the run components leverage changes across the portfolio of Plan, Build, Manage, Run, Engage, and Measure, in particular for attended bots with Apps (see below). Other new features include:

  • Expanding the number of native integrations, for which UiPath and its partners are building 100s of connectors to business applications such as Salesforce and Google to provide functionality including launching bots from the business application. Newer native applications are available via the UiPath Go! Storefront
  • A new tray will feature in the next release.

Engage phase (allowing users direct connection to bots with Apps)

Apps act as a direct connection for users to interact with attended bots through the use of forms, tasks, and chatbots. In Studio, developers can add a form with the new form designer to ask for inputs directly from the user. For example, combined with an OCR confidence score, a bot could trigger a form to be filled in should the confidence score of the OCR be substandard due to a low-quality image.

Bots that encounter a need for human intervention through Apps will automatically suspend, add a task to the centralized inbox, and move on to running another job. When a human has completed the required interaction, the job is flagged to be resumed by a bot.

With the addition of Apps, the development required to capture inputs from the business users is minimized to allow for a deeper human-bot connection, reduction of development timelines, and helping to enable the goal of ‘a bot for every person’.

Measure phase (now with Insights to measure bot performance)

Insights expands UiPath’s reporting capabilities. Specifically, Insights features customizable dashboarding facilities for process and bot metrics. Insights also features the ability to send pulses, i.e. notifications, to users on metrics, such as if an SLA falls below a threshold. Dashboards can be filtered on processes and bots and can be shared through a URL or as a manually sent or scheduled PDF update.

What does this mean for the future of UiPath?

While UiPath and its competitors have long-standing partnerships with the likes of Celonis for process mining, the addition of native process mining through the acquisitions of SnapShot and ProcessGold, in addition to the expanded reporting capabilities, position UiPath as more of an end-to-end RPA provider.

With ProcessGold, NelsonHall believes that UiPath will continue the development of Explorer, which could lead to a nirvana state in which a client deploys ProcessGold, ProcessGold maps the processes and identifies areas that are ideal for automation, and Explorer Expert helps the bot creator to design this process by linking directly with Studio. While NelsonHall has had conversations with niche process mining and automation providers that are focusing on developing bots through a combination of transaction logs and recording users, UiPath is currently the best positioned of the big 3 intelligent automation platform providers to invest in this space.

StudioX is a big step towards allowing citizen developers. During our build-a-bot session, it was clear that the simplified version of the platform is more user-friendly, resulting in the NelsonHall team powering ahead of the instructor at points. However, we were somewhat concerned that while StudioX opens up the ability to develop bots to a larger scope of personae, the slight disconnects between Studio and StudioX could lead to users learning StudioX and wanting to leverage activities that are currently restricted to Studio (such as error handling) becoming frustrated. NelsonHall believes that the lines between Studio and StudioX will blur, with StudioX receiving simplified functions currently restricted to Studio, which will enable more bots to be passed between the two personae.

Conclusion

With the announcements at the Forward III event, it is clear that UiPath is enabling organizations to connect the business users directly with automation; be that through citizen developers with StudioX, the Connected Enterprise Hub to forge stronger connections between business users and automation CoEs, Explorer to allow the CoE to have greater understanding of the processes, or Apps to provide direct access to the bot.

This multi-pronged push approach to connect the developer and automation to the business user will certainly reduce frustrations around bot development and reduce the feeling from business users that automation is something that is thrust upon them rather than being part of their organization's journey to a more efficient way of working.

]]>
<![CDATA[Automation Anywhere’s Enterprise A2019, Simpler to Use, Quicker to Scale]]> ‘Anything Else is Legacy’ was the messaging presented at Automation Anywhere’s Enterprise A2019 launch, hosted in New York.

The event, the first under new CMO Riadh Dridi, showcased improvements in the new version of the Automation Anywhere platform around:

  • Experience – the most immediate change is in the UI. While prior versions utilized code, workflow, and mixed code/workflow views, the new version features a completely revamped workflow view that simplifies the UX with little coding environment
  • Cloud –delivery now utilizes a completely web-based interface, allowing users to sign in and create bots in minutes with zero required installation. This speed of development was demonstrated live on stage with SVP of products Abhijit Kakhandiki successfully racing to create a simple bot against the arrival of an Uber ordered by CEO Mihir Shukla. The bot used in this example was part of Automation Anywhere’s RPA-aaS offering, hosted on Azure leveraging its partnership with Microsoft. Automation Anywhere was also keen to point out the ability to use the platform on-premise or in a private cloud, as is deployed at JP Morgan Chase, the client speaking at the event
  • Ecosystem – Automation Anywhere highlighted it has strong and growing ecosystem. With Microsoft, for example, the partnership has been operating for over a year and has so far featured the ability to embed Microsoft’s AI tools into bots, and the above-mentioned Azure partnership. The event featured a demonstration of the integration of Automation Anywhere into Office: a user was able to select and use bots from Excel, as a single joined experience
  • Intelligent Automation – in addition to leveraging the ecosystem for its ability to drag and drop third-party AI components, another improvement in A2019 was the integration of the capabilities gained through the Klevops acquisition earlier this year to improve assisted automation capabilities, providing a greater bot and human collaboration across teams and workflows

The majority of these enhancements are already analyzed in NelsonHall’s profile of Automation Anywhere’s capabilities as part of the Intelligent Automation Platform NEAT assessment.

Using the above enhancements, Automation Anywhere estimates that whereas previously clients required 3 to 6 months to POC, and a further 6 to 24 months to scale, it now takes 1-4 months to POC and 4-12 months to scale.

Absent from the event were enhancements to the governance procedure of bots, vitally important as the access to build bots increases, and the bot store for which curation could still be an issue.

While the messaging of the event was ‘Anything Else is Legacy’, there were some natural points in which the announcement looks unfinished – the partnership with Office currently only extends to Excel, the rest of the suite will follow, and the Community version of Automation Anywhere, which is how a large proportion of users dip their toes in the water of automation, is set to be updated to match A2019 later in Q4 2019. Likewise, while the improvement to the workflow view is much cleaner, easier to use than competitors, leading to quicker bot development, the competitor platforms more easily handle complex, branching operations. Therefore, while A2019 can be ideal for organizations that are looking to have citizen developers build simple bots, organizations looking to automate more complex workflows should include the competing platforms in shortlisting.

NelsonHall's profile on the Automation Anywhere platform can be found here.

The recent NEAT evaluation of Intelligent Automation Platforms can be found here.

]]>
<![CDATA[NelsonHall Launches Industry-First Intelligent Automation Platform Evaluation]]>

 

NelsonHall has just launched an industry-first evaluation of Intelligent Automation (IA) platforms, including platforms from Antworks, Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism, Datamatics, IPsoft, Jacada, Kofax, Kryon, Redwood, Softomotive, and UiPath.

As RPA and artificial intelligence converge to address more sophisticated use cases, we at NelsonHall feel it is now time for an evaluation of IA platforms on an end-to-end basis and based on the use cases to which IA platforms will typically be applied. Accordingly, NelsonHall has evaluated IA platforms against five use cases:

  • Ability for Business Process Owners to Develop Automations
  • Bot/Human Co-Working SSC Capability
  • Ease of IA Adoption & Scaling
  • End-to-End IA Capability
  • Overall.

Ability for Business Process Owners to Develop Automations – as organizations move to a ‘bot for every worker’, platforms must support the business process owners in developing automations rather than select individuals as part of an automation CoE. Capabilities that support business process owners in developing an automation include a strong bot development canvas, a well-populated app/bot store, and process discovery functionality, all in support of speed of implementation.

Bot/Human Co-Working SSC Capability – in addition to traditional unassisted back-office automation and assisted individual automations, bots are increasingly required to provide end-to-end support for large-scale SSC and contact center automation. This increasingly requires bot/human rather than human/bot co-working, with the bot taking the lead in processing SSC transactions, queries and requests. The key capabilities here include conversational intelligence, ability to handle unidentified exceptions, and seamless integration of RPA and machine learning.

End-to-End IA Capability – the ability for a platform to support an automation spanning an end-to-end process, leveraging ML and artificial intelligence, either through native technologies or through partnerships. While many IA implementations remain highly RPA-centric, it is critical for organizations to begin to leverage a wider range of IA technologies if they are to address unstructured document processing and begin to incorporate self-learning in support of exception handling. Key capabilities here include computer vision/NLP, ability to handle unidentified exceptions, and seamless integration of RPA and machine learning in support of accurate document/data capture, reduced error rates, and improved transparency & auditability of operations.

Ease of IA Adoption & Scaling – the ability for organizations to roll out automations at scale. Key criteria here include the ability to leverage the cloud delivery of the IA platform and the strength of the bot orchestration/management platform.

Overall – a composite perspective of the strength of the IA platforms across capabilities, delivery options, and the benefits provided to clients.

No single platform is the most appropriate across all these use cases, and the pattern of capability varies considerably by use case. And this area is ill-understood, even by the vendors operating in this market, with companies that NelsonHall has identified as leaders unknown even to some of their peers. However, the NelsonHall Evaluation & Assessment Tool (NEAT) for IA platforms enables organizations to see the relative strengths and capabilities of platform vendors for all the use cases described above in a series of quadrant charts.

If you are a buy-side organization, you can view these charts, and even generate your own charts based on criteria that are important to you, FREE-OF-CHARGE at NelsonHall Intelligent Automation Platform evaluation.

The full project, including comprehensive profiles of each vendor and platform, is also available from NelsonHall by contacting either Guy Saunders or Simon Rodd.

]]>
<![CDATA[Democratizing RPA through the Connected Entrepreneur Enterprise]]>

 

Following on from the Blue Prism World Conference in London (see separate blog), NelsonHall recently attended the Blue Prism World conference in Orlando. Building on the significant theme around positioning the ‘Connected Entrepreneur Enterprise’, the vendor provided further details on how this links to the ‘democratization’ of RPA through organizations.

In the past, Blue Prism has seen automation projects stall when being led from the bottom up (due to inabilities to scale and apply strong governance or best practices from IT), or from the top down (which has issues with buy-in and with speed of deployments). However, their Connected Entrepreneur Enterprise story aims to overcome these issues by decentralizing automation. So how is Blue Prism enabling this?

Connected Entrepreneur Enterprise

The Connected RPA components, namely Blue Prism’s connected-RPA platform, Blue Prism Digital Exchange, Blue Prism Skills, and Blue Prism Communities, all aim to facilitate this. In particular, the likes of Blue Prism Communities acts as a knowledge-sharing platform for which Blue Prism envisions that clients will access forums for help in building digital workers (software robots), share best practices, and (with its new connection into Stack Overflow) collaborate on digital worker development.

Blue Prism Skills helps in lightening the load with knowledge requirements for users to begin digital worker development. with the ability to drag and drop in AI components into processes such as any number of computer vision AI solutions.

Decipher for document processing was developed by Blue Prism’s R&D lab, and features ML which can be integrated into digital workers, and in turn can have skills such as language detection from Google dropped into the process. The ability to drag and drop these skills continues the work in allowing business users who know the process best to quickly and easily build AI into digital workers. Additionally, Decipher introduces human-in-the-loop capability into Blue Prism to assist in cases for which the OCR lacks confidence in its result. The beta version of Decipher is set to launch this summer with a focus on invoice processing.

Decipher will also factor in the new cloud-based and mobile-enabled dashboard capabilities in the new dashboard notification area which, in addition to providing SLA alerts, provides alerts when queues for Decipher’s human-in-the-loop feature are backing up.

Client example

An example of Blue Prism being used to democratize RPA is for marquee client EY. EY, Blue Prism’s fifth largest client, spoke during the conference about its automation journey. During the 4.5-year engagement, EY has deployed 2k digital workers, with 1.3k performing client work and 700 working internally on 500 processes. Through the deployment of the digital workforce, EY has saved 2 million-man hours.

In democratizing RPA, EY federated the automation to the business, while using a centralized governance model and IT pipeline. A benefit of having an IT pipeline was that the automation of processes was not a stop-start development.

When surveying its employees, EY found that the employees who had been involved in the development of RPA had the highest engagement.

Likewise, Blue Prism had market surveys performed with a partner that found that in 87% of cases in the U.S., employees are willing to reskill to work alongside a digital workforce.

Summary

There is further work to be done in democratizing RPA as part of this Connected Entrepreneur Enterprise, and Blue Prism is currently looking into upgrading the underlying architecture and is surveying its partners with regard to UI changes; in addition, it is moving aspects of the platform to the cloud, starting with the dashboarding capability. Also, while Blue Prism has its university partnerships, these are often not heavily marketed and are in competition with other RPA vendors in the space offering the likes of community editions to encourage learnings.

]]>