AI at Work: The Building Blocks of Automation

As time marches on with the advent of another year, our ability to think and work in the same span of time has transformed, thanks in large part to automation. The initial promise of automating repetitive tasks has transformed our everyday lives with Artificial Intelligence (AI). Our cars are now worlds of augmented reality that help us be safer drivers, with assisted braking and collision detection. In many aspects of our lives, AI provides a heightened yet seamless awareness that enhances perception and streamlines decision-making.

Look in your side mirror, and AI is even closer than it appears, affecting much more than our peripheral vision. AI is freeing up time for more meaningful, knowledge-based work and thought. But to be successful, AI requires human-engineered building blocks: data, algorithms, content, enterprise architecture, user experience, and human classification and interpretation.

Automation and AI are making huge strides across the federal landscape as well, ranging in complexity from basic process automation to more intelligent analysis. At its core, automation is about using technology to streamline and improve the way work gets done. IntelliDyne has built on four basic types of automation to provide powerful solutions to increase your agency’s performance and transform the way you do business.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Federal agencies are using Robotic Process Automation to connect systems, process requests, and perform a multitude of repetitive, rules-based tasks such as data entry, onboarding, account creation, and data mapping with the click of a button. These tasks are often performed by humans, but they can also be time-consuming, error-prone, and expensive. RPA “bots” can be programmed to perform these tasks automatically. According to the 2021 State of Federal RPA Report from the Federal Government’s RPA Community of Practice, 49 programs have created almost 1,000 automations while freeing up 1.4 million hours (and counting) of capacity. In addition, 65 percent of RPA programs have more than 20 automations in their pipelines, and 75 percent of emerging RPA programs plan to launch a pilot within the next 12 months.

In addition to freeing up staff to focus on more complex and meaningful tasks, one of the main benefits of RPA is that it can be implemented quickly and easily. Unlike more complex automation solutions, RPA software can be set up and running in a matter of days. Additionally, RPA bots can be easily programmed to handle changes in business processes, which makes them more adaptable than traditional automation solutions.

• Repeatable and repetitive, rules-based tasks
• Defined inputs and outputs
• Structured data
• Scalability
• Eliminate human error and ensure accuracy for compliance
• Improve operational efficiencies, quality, and speed of customer service
• Increase security by building it into the design
• Reduce the cost of redundant work
• Shift workforce to elevated roles

IT Process Automation (ITPA)
ITPA takes RPA to an operational level, building upon the basic capabilities of RPA and leveraging advanced technologies to automatically respond to network events, handle helpdesk ticketing, job scheduling, asset management, and user account provisioning. ITPA can be used to automate both simple and complex processes, and it can be used to automate processes across a wide range of IT systems. In 32 percent of federal RPA programs in the 2021 report, the use of Machine Learning (ML), AI, image recognition, chatbots, and natural language processing (NLP) are stretching capabilities even further.

By automating the execution of tasks, ITPA can reduce the possibility of errors that occur during IT processes. Additionally, ITPA can help to increase the efficiency of IT tasks, which can save time and money for your organization.

• Complex, event-driven workflows and business processes
• High-volume transactions
• Processes that can be broken down into smaller, specific tasks
• Workflows that span across nonintegrated platforms or teams
• Replication of manual actions
• Learn from and improve upon human actions over time
• Reduce or eliminate manual input or intervention
• Improve team efficiency
• Reduce costs

Augmented Analytics
Intelligent automation is the next frontier and is achieved through the convergence of AI, Business Intelligence (BI), ML, and RPA technologies. BI dashboards illustrate WHAT is happening with data. BI combined with AI provides the WHY, allowing you to dig deeper, pinpoint issues before they happen, and improve the speed and quality of decision-making across huge data sets, discovering and delivering insights and trends that may be too difficult or impossible to detect manually.

The primary benefit of Augmented Analytics is the enablement of users with little or no data science background to perform sophisticated data analysis and gain insights from their data without the need for manual data preparation, modeling, or programming. This is achieved through the use of natural language processing and machine learning techniques that automate and simplify many traditional data analysis tasks. Augmented Analytics is the realization of automated data science, correlating relevant data and producing meaningful, actionable analyses for fraud detection, health condition reporting, IT and cyber incident management, component failure detection, and customer churn.
Additionally, Augmented Analytics can provide more accurate and actionable insights by using advanced algorithms that can identify patterns and anomalies in the data that would be difficult or impossible to detect manually.

• Management of large data sets, systems, and process
• Automation of required next steps and action items
• Automatic correlation and delivery of relevant data
• Eliminate time spent identifying areas of focus
• Quickly detect issues and automate next-step actions
• Eliminate biases and assumptions in human analysis
• Free up time for root cause analysis and remediation

Automated Data Pipelines
Automated data pipelines efficiently and consistently extract, transform, and load (ETL) data from various sources into a target system, database, or data warehouse. They are useful because they can handle large amounts of data and can easily scale to accommodate increasing amounts of information. Automated Data Pipelines can be used to automate a wide range of data-related tasks, such as data warehousing, data cleansing, and data integration.

Automated Data Pipelines help to ensure that the right data is delivered to the right place at the right time. By automating the flow of data through an organization, Automated Data Pipelines can help to improve the accuracy and timeliness of information. This allows organizations to quickly and easily gain insights from their data, make more informed decisions, and respond to changing business needs. Automated Data Pipelines can also save time and reduce errors by automating repetitive tasks, reducing the need for manual data preparation and cleaning, and ensuring that data is processed in the same way every time. Additionally, it can also improve data quality by detecting and removing errors and inconsistencies in the data as it is processed.

• Integration of data from a broad range of sources
• Data preparation and cleaning
• Facilitation of data governance and compliance
• Easily scalable to handle increasing amounts of data
• Save time and reduce errors by automating manual data preparation and cleaning
• Improve data quality through detection and removal of errors and inconsistencies in real-time
• Process data the same way every time

Artificial intelligence is already here, probably in the lane right next to you. If you don’t heed the blind spot, your competitors are going to overtake you. By understanding the strengths and limitations of different types of automation, you can make better decisions about how and where to implement automation in your own organization. Whether your goal is to automate repetitive tasks, manage IT processes, or streamline data flow, there is an automation solution that can help you to achieve it. Keep your eye on your long-term goals, instead of in the rear-view mirror, and free up your top resources to work on what matters most, your mission.

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