IBM: top five ways AI can enhance RPA
“RPA is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and growing. A technology that creates and uses so-called “software robots” to supplement human work, RPA is a critical part of the automation process,” commented in a public statement.
With its capabilities to reduce repetitive tasks, solve complex IT problems and increase productivity, efficiency and resiliency, the robotic process automation (RPA) industry is estimated to be a US$10.7bn industry by 2027.
With this in mind, Michael Gilfix, IBM’s Vice President for Cloud Integration at IBM details the relationship between RPA and AI in addition to how the technology will transform the future of work.
1. Unlocking the full power of RPA with AI
When it comes to RPA, Gilfix details that the technology can be used to complete tasks that have predictable steps, while AI insights can help drive people to take action. However, “when RPA is paired with AI capabilities like natural language processing, unstructured content extraction and exception handling, the potential for enhanced productivity is enormous,” commented Gilfix.
2. COVID-19 has accelerated the demand
Following the impact of COVID-19, dynamic customer demand, market disruption and remote working, has increased the demand for intelligent automation of both customer and non customer facing operations.
“RPA is an excellent tool for maximising the benefits of document digitisation. When documents are digitised and brought online, software robots can drive users to self-service options and reduce processing overhead. This aspect of RPA is leading a lot of people to look at automation who weren’t looking at it before,” added Gilfix.
3. As businesses emerge from COVID-19, the use of RPA is expected to increase
As the COVID-19 pandemic increases uncertainty within the economy, Gilfix explains that digitisation and automation is expected to be a core element for companies and their ability to adapt to rapidly changing conditions and to scale sustainably.
4. Vast potential for business and IT operations
“IDC predicts that, by 2024, enterprises powered by AI will be able to respond to customers, competitors, regulators and partners than those that aren’t using AI,” notes Gilfix. RPA has huge potential for cost savings, with this technology IT system breakdown problems can be quickly resolved by software robots.
5. RPA is reinventing work
“More broadly, RPA technology will allow people to ask themselves, ‘If I could use my time differently, what would I do?’ Tons of us have to do many menial tasks that aren’t what we really want to do, or what produces value,” details Gilfix who believes that the technology enables people to harness their time differently creating a more sustainable value.
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.