With more than 80 percent of enterprises already using AI – and 30 percent planning on increasing their investment over the next three years – companies that aren’t already using automation to their advantage may be feeling the pressure to catch up. But there are so many options to consider that it can be difficult to decide where to focus your attention. Automation? Robotics? Machine learning? What’s the right technology for your business?
The Difference Between Automation and Robotics
The terms “automation” and “robotics” are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are minor differences between the two.
- Automation is the process of using technology to complete human tasks.
- Robotics is the process of developing robots to carry out a particular function.
Not all types of automation use robots – and not all robots are designed for process automation. That said, most robots are used for that specific reason – especially in the context of industrial use.
Traditional robots have sensors – like audio and visual sensors – that allow them to carry out complex physical processes without (or with very minimal) assistance from a human. (An example: a robot that travels around a warehouse, collecting items for orders.)
However, there’s also such a thing as a “software robot”, which refers to a computer program. Software robots – which can also be referred to as desktop automation or robotic process automation – are designed to conduct virtual processes rather than physical ones. For instance, some companies use data recognition software, which can be configured to “read” documents the same way that a human would. This reduces the need for manual data entry, which – when done by a human – can be time-consuming and error-prone.
Machine Learning & AI
Now that we’ve covered automation vs. robotics, we can introduce machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence) to the conversation as well.
- Artificial intelligence is the concept of using “smart” machines to complete tasks.
- Machine learning is the practice of users “teaching” machines how they should function.
While all forms of automation are taught at some point in their development, machine learning is an ongoing practice. These are the programs that become more adept at their jobs the more frequently they’re used.
Machine learning tools are considered semi-autonomous. They can function well on their own, although they do require occasional user input to “teach” them how to make complex decisions in real time. (Autonomous robots, on the other hand, work entirely without human intervention.)
The Role of Automation, Robotics, Machine Learning, and AI in Business
Here’s where all of these terms come together.
If you’re looking to incorporate new technologies into your business, you may have several options to consider. It all depends on what type of goals you’re looking to achieve.
If you’re looking to assemble your products more quickly, a robot may be able to help you speed up your factory operations. If you’re looking to make repetitive administrative tasks more efficient, software-driven process automation would be more appropriate.
Of course, these are just a few examples of industrial robotics and automation – there are hundreds of opportunities to explore. Each one can provide you with a unique competitive advantage – and a different ROI.
IntelliChief Robotic Process Automation for Businesses
If you’re not sure where to start, IntelliChief can help. As a leader in robotic business process automation, we provide companies with intelligent software to help them simplify their most time-consuming tasks.
Our tools can be customized to accommodate almost any administrative function. For instance, we offer solutions for:
- Collecting and verifying invoices
- Entering sales order information
- Producing customer invoices
- Administrating HR benefits
- Onboarding and offboarding employees
- Managing logistics
When performed by employees, these repetitive tasks are highly inefficient and inaccurate – but our software robots are configured to make them faster and more predictable.
And, the more you use IntelliChief, the less you end up having to do. (For instance: type in a new customer’s information once, and we’ll remember it for the next time you bring up that account.)
To learn more about how our automation software can help you transform your business, contact us today. Or, visit our Resource Library to see how other customers have successfully implemented business process robotics in their back office.