Attended vs. Unattended RPA
This past February I was fortunate to be invited to attend a lecture by Professor Al Naqvi, the CEO of the American Institute of Artificial Intelligence. Dr. Naqvi is a distinguished researcher and lecturer regarding AI and has published several books about Enterprise AI with an approach that encompasses; behavioral finance, game theory, complex adaptive systems and integrated business transformation. The Topic of his talk was the important role Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and software robots have in the future of enabling organizations to incorporate AI solutions. In his lecture he presented the natural science concept of the human brain consisting of three levels; the hindbrain, midbrain and forebrain in order to discuss the relationship between business processes, RPA and AI, respectively. I am writing this article to build on that analogy and to discuss the importance and future of RPA based automation in Enterprise design, automating processes and delivery of AI.
Below we'll explain the analogy of the brain and it's relation to how automation works:
The hindbrain controls:
The midbrain is associated with cognitive skills such as:
While the Forebrain addresses higher cerebral faculties:
In this analogy for layers of intelligence the hindbrain would equate to basic business services and layered processes. This isn't to say that they are not important functions or don't have aspects of complexity contained within them. They are foundational components necessary to carry out and sustain any organization. There are shared services that enable most every enterprise to operate, like middle and back office financials, HR, Risk and regulatory functions. There are also services unique to an industry or a particular enterprise that are part of a core competency that a business offers to the marketplace. Examples of differentiating services would be market insights, customer service, transaction process and so on. The hindbrain is the nexus for accessing an engaging all of the components that make up the anatomy and the collection of information on the state of an organization.
The forebrain represents the higher intellectual functions of an organization. A place where innovation, analytics and other freeform reasoning take place. It is here where new business cases are developed, leading to new use cases, which will drive the behavior and activity of the entire enterprise. Artificial Intelligence and other adaptive learning solutions are adopted to increase the capabilities of the entire organization. Thoughts around the "art of the possible" and the new metrics to for new processes originate in this sphere. The challenge of the forebrain in creating concepts and processing data is how to transform those insights into action. These functions are carried out by Key stakeholders in business services and corporate governance, Subject Matter Experts in those areas and the increasing array of Artificial Intelligence services employed by an enterprise.
The midbrain is where cognition, awareness and motor control all operate. It is the connection, and the abstraction, between the forebrain and the hindbrain. Cognition is channeled to the hindbrain in order to provide the necessary senses and the motor control for reacting to external events. The midbrain also provides cognitive services to the forebrain in order to provide data and real-world feedback necessary for inspiring new ideas and validating new insights.
The midbrain is the layer where internal and external awareness by an organization are rendered and made available to the other spheres of the brain. The midbrain continually collects status on services governed by the hindbrain, ensuring that information is shared across systems and providing the necessary telemetry to autonomously sustain operations. The midbrain also makes this intra-organizational information readily available to the forebrain in order to provide awareness of critical information that will allow the current state and the future state of an company to align.
Finally, the midbrain provides motor control across an organization. It allows the reflexive activities managed under the hindbrain to be overridden, or modified, as needed in response to cognitive data and situation awareness. The midbrain also provides the methods for the forebrain to enable the corporate body to take action. Over time the enterprise can improve and reinvent itself only through the functions provided by the midbrain that allow for controlled interaction between the forebrain and hindbrain.
The analogy of the midbrain to layered RPA works on many levels. The Robotic Process Automation platform can increase the efficiency and quality in how an organization operates, with the same foundation enabling agility of an enterprise to perceive change and adapt to external market dynamics. By leveraging Intelligent Automation skills, a company can enhance or add cognitive skills to allow business functions to better ingest information and collaborate across organizations to create better and new solutions. SS&C | Blue Prism Digital Exchange allows an organization to easily employ analytics, cognitive automation and machine learning services by opportunistically integrating them into existing systems and functions. The Robotic Operating Model (ROM) provide the framework and best practices for allowing for reuse of automated processes to improve additional business services or enabling the introduction new ones.
All motor skills are learned, so they need to be trained. All cognitive services have to be learned, so using them requires training. All intelligent services need to be taught to be intelligent. When an enterprise invests in training a digital workforce, they are investing in the future health and viability of the company in an increasingly dynamic and competitive world.
Blue Prism will allow for the development and adoption of different kinds of cognitive technology beyond rules-based RPA tools and software solutions. There will be business process where human workers can initiate attended automated workflows to carry out mundane or error-prone repetitive tasks which never elevate beyond the level of the hindbrain. There will be assisted automated processes, where new capabilities can easily be introduced to an organization - from innovation centers residing in the forebrain of an enterprise made available to human workers across the organization. Finally, there will be autonomous automated processes where cognitive services and other shared services will manage themselves, to be available to the entire organization as needed.
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