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A comprehensive guide to Intelligent Process Automation

What is Intelligent Automation?

Intelligent automation (IA) is a combination of cognitive technologies that together can streamline and optimize business processes and decision-making. These include robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), business process management (BPM), process intelligence, no-code development, natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML), sometimes referred to as intelligent process automation or IPA.

Digital Workers

Digital workers are the frontline to IA, working together to help organizations deliver transformational results across the enterprise, from cost-savings and productivity gains to exponential growth, operational efficiency and exceptional experiences for customers and employees alike.

What Can Intelligent Automation Do for You?

Using insights from data and its predictive analysis capabilities, IA can automate business processes and improve the effectiveness of workflows. With a good IA solution, you can fast-track your automation journey and make it scalable across your enterprise.

Successful automation outcomes can optimize operations and transform customer experiences by offering quicker response times and more accurate, efficient services. IA can also help businesses make quicker and smarter decisions to better tackle operational challenges.

Adopting IA can boost your organization’s efficiency and prepare you for further innovation by relieving your staff from dull manual tasks. That means they can focus on more engaging, higher-level work such as finding better ways to optimize end-to-end processes for increased return on investment (ROI).

IA can enact enterprise-wide digital transformation among various industries. Examples include finance and accounting, customer service and human resources; uses include optimizing customer engagement, supply chain management and pricing.

At scale, IA has the potential to revolutionize entire industries.

How Intelligent Automation Works

IA combines cognitive intelligence technologies like AI, analytics, process discovery and process mining to expand the potential of business process automation. With these tools, you can automate from simple business tasks to entire end-to-end processes. This removes the need for human labor in many activities so your staff can focus on higher-value achievements.

IA essentially augments and upgrades RPA. By adding the right intelligence technologies, you can automate far more complex tasks and processes. You can also unlock new abilities, such as:

  • Discovering and evaluating processes fit for automation
  • Extracting data from data sets to compile into customized formats.
  • Understanding visual information and contextualizing it digitally
  • Evolving processing patterns with data insights
  • Solving problems without requiring human input
  • Bringing together people, processes and technology for a more unified workforce

What Intelligent Automation Means

Intelligent automation (IA) is business-developed, no-code automation that pushes the boundaries of RPA to deliver value across any business process in a connected enterprise. With it, you can streamline and scale workflows and processes across your enterprise and gain insights to aid more complex decision-making.

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The Difference Between RPA and Intelligent Automation


Read about the difference between AI and Intelligent Automation

RPA is robotic process automation. In RPA, software robots perform repetitive tasks normally run by human staff. You essentially gain a team of digital workers that can work more efficiently and with fewer errors than their human counterparts. Once your digital workers are trained in the steps of a business process, they can complete them without any human involvement.

RPA simulates the actions of a human, but on its own, it lacks human intelligence. RPA can download and move data but can’t interpret it. Intelligent automation, however, can act more like a full human employee. It can interpret data, make inferences and reach conclusions from that extracted data.

IA incorporates a range of technologies including RPA. By combining RPA with AI and cognitive technologies, IA lets you automate many more processes and gain far more efficiency.

Like RPA, artificial intelligence (AI) is a tool used within intelligent automation. AI is a cognitive technology with a huge range of forms and uses. Intelligent automation uses AI to optimize processes and decision-making.

Simply put, AI is a single tool for solving problems in a business. Meanwhile, intelligent automation is a collection of tools working together to solve key business challenges. By combining AI with RPA, you can intelligently automate entire business processes, something which AI could not achieve on its own.

An Intelligent Automation Solution

A good example of using IA productively is by automating form filling in healthcare. IA quickly and accurately extracts and inputs relevant data to fill out basic contact information forms for healthcare services, saving employee time usually spent manually keying in data, and improving patient experience by creating accurate documentation faster and securely.

Our SS&C | Blue Prism® Intelligent Automation Platform (IAP) is an IA solution combining the power of AI and ML to deliver digital workers to processes. IAP presents an opportunity for companies to speed up growth and stay competitive.

Our IAP will accelerate your digital transformation, allowing you to adopt an AI-powered automation strategy. And the platform functions in a secure, stable and compliant environment so your data is always safe and fully auditable.

Expanded cognitive, AI and analysis capabilities separate SS&C Blue Prism from other intelligent or hyper automation tools.

The Features Included in Our Intelligent Automation Platform

Design Studio

Drag-and-drop building of process automation that doesn’t require lines of code to create. Design studio allows users to create reusable ‘objects’, which can set up events within a process to then be implemented across the business, allowing for better scalability.

Digital Workforce

A digital workforce uses autonomous software robots functioning under AI technologies to mimic human intelligence and learning processes.

Control Room

Allows you to train digital workers and assign processes to them so you can receive real-time insights into process performance.

SS&C Blue Prism's Intelligent Automation Solution Delivers Value in Five Key Ways

Creating Journeys

Assessing, improving and developing processes.

Accelerating Work

Automating tasks and processes, using insight for more complex decision-making and processing documents intelligently

Transforming Experiences

Helping you unlock new business value by delivering insight, empowering your workforce and developing new experiences

Offering an Enterprise Platform and Robotic Operating Model

Scalable and secure with flexible deployment, an extensive ecosystem and a proven methodology.

The Benefits of Intelligent Automation

Intelligent Automation Benefits

Intelligent Automation offers benefits across various industries. Here are six key advantages.

Intelligent Automation Can:

  • Streamline and optimize processes
  • Reduce business costs
  • Reduce business risks
  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Increase efficiency
  • Improve employee productivity

Streamline and Optimize Processes

When you team RPA with intelligent automation, multiple discrete tasks can become one continuous process. Manual labor can often be removed, and with it, human error.

With IA, you can quickly sort through and analyze reams of data. You’ll also gain valuable insights into your processes, which you can then use to optimize those processes for increased productivity and efficiency.

Reduce Business Costs and Risks

Digital workers can drastically lower overhead costs. And IA makes human employees more valuable. With less time spent on manual tasks, staff members can take on more complex and creative work.

A study by KPMG suggests RPA alone could cut costs by 75% in the financial services industry.

IA can also reduce business risk. It cuts out the risk of human errors entering processes. And it can transform your approach to compliance. For instance, digital workers can automatically cross-check systems for compliance assurance, and they standardize and document processes for easier auditability.

Improve Customer Satisfaction

Certain customer-facing tasks will always benefit from the ‘human touch.’ But many areas can be improved with IA. For instance, when employees and digital workers collaborate, customers can enjoy much quicker response times.

And with digital workers taking on much of the load, customer service staff have more time to give each case more care and attention.

Increase Efficiency

Businesses using IA enjoy increased levels of efficiency. Digital workers complete tasks much faster than humans and IA identifies patterns and trends to help you optimize your processes for maximum efficiency.

IA also cuts many time-consuming manual tasks. Staff can work on more important things, making the business more efficient overall.

Improve Employee Productivity

Some people are still skeptical of automation and robots. Many worry about machines taking human jobs. But IA isn’t intended to replace people. It’s designed to improve working life and change the nature of work for the better.

With less time spent on repetitive tasks, employees are also likely to feel more engaged and motivated. Engaged employees are productive employees!

Why Is Intelligent Automation Important?

The benefits of intelligent automation touch on some of the reasons why it’s important in today’s business landscape, but if we were to summarize it, IA is ultimately essential for the successful operation and longevity of your organization in a digital-first era.

At the end of the day, intelligent automation works to ensure that your business processes, workflows, tasks and operations are running as efficiently and effectively as they can be without needing constant human intervention. It ensures that your organization has the agility and speed to respond to market conditions and growing customer demands. And in a fast-paced world that’s characterized by relentless digitization and data complexity, this ability to adapt, innovate and respond quickly is crucial to capitalize on success. But it’s not just about removing humans from the equation completely; its importance lies in liberating talent to focus on higher-value, strategic activities that can push an organization to further achievements.

These benefits and their importance are evident when intelligent automation combines with other cutting-edge technologies, such as optical character recognition (OCR) and computer vision, to enhance its capabilities, broaden its applications and fortify an organization’s strategic advantage.

Intelligent automation is not just a technology trend that organizations can implement to get ahead; it’s a strategic imperative that is reshaping the future of how work is done. Organizations that embrace IA will find themselves in a better position than those who don’t.

How AI is Used in Automation

At its most basic, IA links ‘thinking’ and ‘doing’. RPA is all about the ‘doing’ aspect of a job. It’s great at working through simple, repeating tasks. But without AI, you may need to involve several people to complete processes fully.

With AI, you’ll enjoy better business process automation and automate far more complex jobs. While RPA handles the ‘doing’, AI provides the ‘thinking’ element of intelligent automation. The result is AI-powered automation that allows you to streamline higher-value tasks.

In an enterprise context, you might use AI to extract data from documents. Say you have a bunch of forms filled in with handwritten details. You can’t move the data with RPA alone. Normally, staff would have to do this by hand, but something like SS&C | Blue Prism® Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) can extract and translate that data, then save it in a form your systems can use. With the data in the right format, RPA can use it to complete tasks.

Technologies Used by Intelligent Automation

Each IA solution is different, with its own collection of technologies. However, you can expect intelligent automation technologies to include:

  • RPA
  • Natural language processing (NLP)
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Business process management (BPM)
  • Machine learning (ML)
  • Process discovery
  • Process mining

Discovering Processes for Intelligent Automation

It might sound obvious, but you should only automate processes when it will positively impact your business. The impact should outweigh the resources you’ll need to spend. In other words, your automation strategy should result in a good ROI.

Look for processes where you can reduce costs, eliminate human errors and increase accuracy.

Eligible Processes for Automation Success

You’ll realize ROI much quicker on processes performed frequently. Automating these tasks is likely to increase staff morale.

Vulnerable to Error

Automation can remove human error. Results are likely to be higher quality and you’ll save time checking and correcting mistakes.


Automation can zip through processes that keep staff bogged down for hours.


Errors often creep in when people are under high time pressure.

Good IA platforms often include a process discovery and assessment tool to save time and remove the guesswork for automation teams. Some IA solutions also offer end-to-end tools for process mining, task mining, automation and monitoring. These help you gain the right processes running more efficiently, with easy automation and quick insights.

Intelligent Automation Use Cases

IA has almost unlimited applications. Below are a few example use cases of intelligent automation in action.

Uses of Intelligent Automation in Financial Services

  • Customer onboarding
  • Fraud detection
  • Sanctions screening
  • Due diligence checking
  • Compliance monitoring and reporting
  • Mortgage or loan calculations
  • Application processing
  • Intelligent contact centers

Learn about the use of Intelligent Automation for Financial Services

The Uses of Intelligent Automation for Insurance Companies

  • Customer service
  • Renewals
  • Midterm adjustments
  • Underwriting
  • Claims adjustment
  • Settlements
  • Compliance
  • Back-office processes

Learn about the use of Intelligent Automation for Insurance Companies

The Uses of Intelligent Automation in Healthcare

Read our comprehensive guide to healthcare automation

Learn about the use of Intelligent Automation for Healthcare

The Uses of Intelligent Automation in Manufacturing

  • Quote management
  • Parts and product tracking
  • Account and order management
  • Performance reporting
  • Auditing
  • Data management
  • Employee onboarding and exit

Learn about the use of Intelligent Automation for Manufacturing

The Uses of Intelligent Automation for Utilities and Energy Companies

  • Customer service
  • Complaints management
  • Maintenance planning
  • Asset management
  • Billing and payments
  • Meter readings collation
  • Consumption checks
  • Compliance
  • Auditing
  • Contract management

Learn about the use of Intelligent Automation for Energy & Utilities

The Uses of Intelligent Automation in Transportation and Logistics

  • Shipment tracking
  • Scheduling
  • Freight requests
  • Predictive maintenance
  • Data aggregation
  • Cybersecurity
  • Trend analysis
  • SAP operations

Learn about the use of Intelligent Automation for Transport and Logistics

The Uses of Intelligent Automation for Telecoms

  • Contact center transformation
  • Back-office processes
  • IT management
  • Network security and configuration
  • Cybersecurity
  • Performance monitoring

Learn about the use of Intelligent Automation for Telecommunications

The Uses of Intelligent Automation in the Public Sector

  • Citizen experience
  • Data security
  • Contact center
  • Employee experience
  • Employee onboarding and exit
  • Data tracking
  • Accounts payable and receivable
  • Cybersecurity
  • Reconciliation

Learn about the use of Intelligent Automation for Public Sector

The Uses of Intelligent Automation in Retail

  • Customer experience and service
  • Personalization
  • Price matching
  • Returns
  • Contact center
  • Customer insight
  • Data collection
  • Forecasting and reporting
  • Fraud prevention
  • Order fulfillment
  • Stock tracking
  • Employee onboarding and exit

Learn about the use of Intelligent Automation for Retail

Key Takeaways

  • Intelligent automation (IA) combines several technologies, including AI, BPM, ML and RPA. Together, they can streamline processes and optimize decision-making.
  • IA links the ‘thinking’ of AI with the ‘doing’ of RPA. This lets you automate far more complex tasks.
  • Key benefits of IA include increased efficiency and reduced costs. IA can also maximize staff and customer satisfaction.
  • IA has countless use cases. It can kick-start digital transformation in all kinds of sectors and business areas. Examples include customer service, compliance and HR.
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