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Taking the Robot out of the Human with Appian RPA and Blue Prism

Rahul Dubey
July 9, 2018

I,Robot PosterI, Robot the 2004 sci-fi blockbuster takes us to the year 2035, where technology and robots are a trusted part of everyday life.

But that trust is broken when a scientist is found dead and a skeptical detective, Del Spooner (Will Smith), believes that a robot is responsible. It's an intense scene.

"Human beings have dreams," says Detective Del Spooner. "Even dogs have dreams, but not you, you are just a machine. An imitation of life. Can a robot write a symphony? Can a robot turn a canvas into a beautiful masterpiece?"

"Can you?" replies the robot.

This question is as relevant today as it was in the Hollywood movie. How can we take the robot out of the human?

I believe every company or organization is similar to the human. And like the human, every company is unique. They have their own unique processes and characteristics which differentiate them from other humans, and they respond in different ways to various market conditions.

Likewise, companies go through the different stages of maturity cycles. Technology also plays a critical role in an organization's journey to digital transformation.

Machines and Intelligence

For starters, let me share some basic terminology first. A "machine" uses power to apply forces and control movement to perform an intended action.

Think of the scene in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey where man's earliest ancestors discover they can use a bone as a tool!

By the way, you're welcome for now having that song in your head. You should be humming that every day when you walk into the office!

So, what is the most critical aspect of the advancement of machines? Intelligence.

Intelligence is generally described as the ability to perceive or infer information and to retain it as knowledge to be applied towards adaptive behaviours within an environment or context.

Humans have long looked at ways to automate various tasks and leverage different machines to make work easier and more efficient. The first example of automation was the water clock invented by Greek engineer Ctesibius (285ñ222 BC). It is an incorporation of gears and a dial indicator to automatically show the time as the lengths of the days change throughout the year, because of the temporal timekeeping used during those days.

Since then, different types of process automation tools have been developed, like ANN ñ Artificial neural network, DCS ñ Distributed Control System, HMI ñ Human Machine Interface, SCADA ñ Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, PLC ñ Programmable Logic Controller, Instrumentation, Motion control, etc.

The most advanced one is robotics. With the advent of artificial intelligence technology and machine learning, we are now creating more and more artificial humans with artificial intelligence, called robots.

We live in the world of smart systems and connected devices, driven by the combination of sensors, connectivity, people and process - called the digital nervous system. There is a shift in workforce models, and new concepts like "liquid workforce" and the "human cloud" are emerging. Companies are creating a pool of resources which can be re-trained to new technologies and adapt to modern platforms.

This digital nervous system is impacting our way of doing business and our overall approach to running a business. For the foundation of digital transformation in an enterprise, every CxO is digitally transforming three key areas: customer experience; operational processes; and business models.

The Building Blocks of a Modern Enterprise

These companies are infusing services, products, and operational process with digital assets and technologies, disrupting old business models and creating new ones. Here are the modern enterprise building blocks:

The Building Blocks of a Modern Enterprise

Digital technologies are transforming the way companies operate and gives them the flexibility to experiment with business models combining the advantages of process automation with the creative energy of the human workforce.

Why? Because most enterprise applications today are siloed. Data is locked within applications and difficult to retrieve, and applications do not talk to each other. This makes transforming the business tough. On average, for example, organizations spend 80% of their budget maintaining existing systems, leaving just 20% for new projects and innovation.

Most enterprises going through the transformational phase adopt a world-class digital transformation platform to develop agility across the organization. Appian and Blue Prism are good examples of platforms for this purpose, helping organizations drive more innovation in business models and processes, be responsive to change and get to market faster and create aproductive, adaptable, scalableandsecuredigital workforce.

The Benefits of Combining Appian and Blue Prism

Here are some characteristics which make Appian and Blue Prism adoption easy across multiple industries:

    • Both provide the power of custom development, combined with the speed of a low-code platform and digital workforce.

    • Appian brings together required capabilities in one single platform ñ unified data with Appian Records, process automation (with BPM), the digital workforce (Robotic Process Automation (RPA) with the help of Blue Prism), and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

    • This confluence of technologies and capabilities enables the future of work - people working together in a flexible, adaptable, collaborative environment, supported by technology that automates out the low-value add work and intelligently assists with recommendations and other decision support.

    • Intelligent automation means that every application built on the Appian platform is designed to optimize business outcomes. Appian brings relevant data together into an integrated view and Blue Prism allows users to initiate and track the status of an end-to-end process in real time; the software will manage handoffs between different groups, including between robots and human users, and provide statistical data on bottlenecks.

    • At the core of Appian is the industry's most powerful business process management engine. This is critical to building applications for digital transformation because a process is where you can create distinctiveness and differentiation for your business.

    • Appian also offers a fully integrated robotic process automation solution, powered by the industry leader ñ Blue Prism. Appian RPA with Blue Prism enables you to automate repetitive manual tasks and free employees for higher-value work. It's also a great way to integrate with legacy apps that don't offer APIs. Appian RPA also makes managing your robotic workforce easy, with integrated monitoring, reporting, and exception handling for when those robots go rogue.

Intelligent Business Automation from Persistent Systems

Persistent is a strategic partner with Appian and Blue Prism. We help enterprise customers reinvent core processes, products and services, leveraging modern sets of technologies to refine business models to create new values and revenue streams.

The Intelligent Business Automation (IBA) Unit from Persistent Systems leverages advancements in software, robotic process automation, AI, machine learning, IoT, blockchain, analytics and process improvements along with a strong product development, API strategy and design thinking approach.

Persistent has dedicated IBA Center of Excellences across the globe. Our team of experts helps customers:

    • interpret text-heavy communications NLG

    • create robots to replace manual tasks

    • leverage machine learning to create rule-based decisions that don't have to be pre-programmed

    • offer their own customers suggestions through the use of cognitive agents

    • track and monitor process entities in real-time

    • take care of all security concerns

To learn more, watch my presentation from Appian World 2018, Man vs. Machine.

For more information on how to incorporate intelligent business automation into your own organization, visit

Rahul Dubey

SVP, Global Head - Intelligent Business Automation

Persistent Systems