Automation delivers on the promise of overtaking manual tasks. Source: Shutterstock

Automation delivers on the promise of overtaking manual tasks. Source: Shutterstock

While automation is great, it’s not an intelligent tool

BUSINESSES need to be critically informed, well-consulted, and strategic when investing in new technology.

This is especially important to remember in an age where smart solutions – especially artificial intelligence (AI) – are greatly valued and highly advertised.

Naturally, some service providers and technology vendors are taking advantage of the AI hype by stamping the word “smart” or “intelligent” on simple automation tools.

In reality, automation tools are far from being “intelligent” because they do not offer valuable insights, possess the ability to learn or process information, or do more than what it is taught.

Automation, at its very essence, uses simple technology such as robotic process automation (RPA) – a programmable bot – to process manual or repetitive administrative tasks ‘as taught’.

The tools have a direct and simple objective with predictable outcomes – taking over monotonous, back-office processes, and freeing up employees to do more important work.

The thing with automation is, it adds value to businesses by scaling efficiencies, speeding up manual processes, and reducing human errors.

Not only that, it is easily deployable, low maintenance, and cost-effective – a robot with a simple, repeated goal.

Companies benefit from having their employees shift focus and energy towards cognitive-centered or creative-focused tasks which can boost operational values.

While AI does automate processes once it has learned certain functions and acquired specific intelligence, it is quite different from automation tools.

At the core of AI or smart solutions, is the ability to extend beyond simple automation — including decision-making abilities, data-driven solutions, and business intelligence.

Most importantly, AI has the ability to solve complex problems based on previous successes.

Although the difference between the two is clear and distinctive, it does not stop marketers from positioning automation technology as “intelligent”.

Automation tools are not elevated or enhanced despite being layered with application programming interface (API) features because, at the end of the day, they only deliver on the promise of automating tasks and processes.

Businesses must, therefore, be critical when introduced to automation tools by inquiring about the outcomes and benefits of the solution.

Deploying automation solutions can greatly add value to businesses by allowing them to do more and better with less.