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5 Advantages of Enterprise Intelligent Automation

Roland Alston, Appian
May 16, 2024

The competitive advantages of intelligent automation (IA) aren’t just theoretical; they’re tangible and impactful, as exemplified by the real-world success story of leading multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis. To implement a new ethical conduct framework, Novartis used intelligent automation to seamlessly integrate ethical policies into daily operations and streamline practices across thousands of workflows and locations.

By taking an intelligent process automation platform approach, the company reduced workflow approval time by 55%, slashed IT service desk tickets by 90%, and generated $5M in direct operational savings. Since its launch in 2023, the platform is expected to serve 70,000 users, process over $700 million in payments annually, cover 130 countries, and span 5,000 workflows. This success story illustrates the advantages of using intelligent automation to drive compliance and cost savings on a global scale.


[8 experts weighed in on harnessing the power of enterprise AI. Download their insights in the 2024 AI Outlook.]


1. Supercharge process efficiency.

Intelligent automation is like rocket fuel for operational efficiency. It streamlines how work gets done by integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies into business processes to streamline workflows, optimize operations, and make informed decisions in real time.  

For example, insurance underwriters spend up to 40% of their time on manual tasks like gathering and entering data for submissions and renewals, which could cost the industry an efficiency loss of up to $160 billion by 2027.  

Enter a leading commercial property and casualty insurance company, ready to tackle this challenge head-on. They devised an innovative, intelligent automation solution, a groundbreaking application that delivered a 60% time savings. This cutting-edge technology empowered underwriters across 164 countries to track policy status, potential issues, timing, claims, and payment status in real time from any location.



2. Bolster operational resilience.

Intelligent automation bolsters operational resilience by empowering companies to adapt swiftly to changing market dynamics. For example, a major Canadian telecommunications provider used intelligent automation to simplify a complex and time-consuming integrated planning process. 

With numerous teams involved and increasing interdependencies among systems, operational efficiency was paramount to the company’s success. So, IT leaders at the company implemented a unified digital platform strategy—driven by intelligent automation—to automate the planning process and facilitate seamless data management between systems. The results were impressive. The automated system is expected to cut planning cycle time by over 55%, saving more than 7,200 employee hours annually and preventing up to $42 million in misaligned capital exposure. 

Now that we’ve documented how intelligent automation bolsters operational resilience, let's delve into a financial services use case. This case not only exemplifies how intelligent automation accelerates risk governance processes in banking but also highlights the broad applicability of this technology across industries.


[Want the playbook for end-to-end process automation? Get the Process Automation Guide: How to Achieve End-to-End Process Excellence.]


3. Elevate risk governance to the next level. 

NatWest is the UK's leading business bank and second-largest retail mortgage provider. Lengthy change implementation processes hindered risk governance at the bank.  Initiating change projects or launching products and applications meant navigating layers of policy checks and approvals, which could take up to 73 days. The bank implemented a new change-risk governance solution on an AI process automation platform, fortified with a data fabric foundation, and achieved the following results:

  • Reduced risk governance implementation time from 73 days to minutes.

  • Consolidated 14 separate processes into one workflow.

  • Enabled seamless utilization of enterprise data for risk governance.

As we continue to explore the remarkable advantages of intelligent automation (IA), let’s shift our attention to the pivotal role intelligent automation plays in delivering a personalized and seamless customer service experience for a major insurance company.


4. Optimize customer service operations.

Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer with 33 million customers across 16 countries, wanted to optimize customer service. But legacy systems, disparate data, and disconnected processes across hundreds of acquired insurance companies got in the way, forcing employees to navigate numerous systems to resolve customer issues.

That's where intelligent automation came into play, enabling Aviva to unify 22 disparate systems using AI process automation and a data fabric approach. The company used an AI-powered process automation platform to create a single interface for call center operations and delegated repetitive tasks to RPA bots. The result? A 9x acceleration in customer service response times.

Having witnessed the transformative impact of intelligent automation on optimizing the customer experience, let's now zoom in on a specific application of this technology: document processing. In the upcoming section, we'll explore how intelligent automation allows banks to classify and extract data from documents with precision and accuracy.


5. Automate document processing workflows.

While digital transformation drives all aspects of modern business operations, content and documents are still central to capturing information. Yet, for many companies, manual processing of paper forms remains a massive operational challenge. The ability to process this content automatically is essential for business success. That’s where Intelligent document processing (IDP) shines.

IDP is a powerful capability in the intelligent automation toolbox. It leverages natural language processing and machine learning to transform unstructured data into usable formats, improving operational agility, compliance, and decision-making capabilities. 

For example, a leading smart service lets companies integrate AI-powered document classification into their document processing workflow. This IDP smart service uses custom artificial intelligence models to analyze documents and then returns a document-type prediction based on user-configured thresholds. This allows banks to automate document classification and routing of loan applications to loan officers and beneficiary change forms to account managers. 

Select the right tools for complex process automation.

Intelligent automation is changing how businesses operate and compete in the age of AI. However, IT leaders still lack the tools to orchestrate end-to-end process automation. Faced with numerous disconnected islands of automation, organizations need help managing increasingly complex automation challenges.

Selecting the right tools and technologies for your enterprise involves several crucial steps:

  • Take inventory of your organization's needs and goals.

  • Consider scalability, integration capabilities, and alignment with your existing IT infrastructure.

  • Evaluate solutions based on fit for your organization’s intended use cases.

  • Prioritize features such as AI, machine learning, and natural language processing.

  • Consider factors like vendor reputation, support services, and total cost of ownership.

  • Conduct pilot tests or proofs of concept to validate effectiveness.

  • Ensure selections align with your organization's strategic goals and objectives.

Now that we've outlined the crucial steps for selecting the right tools and technologies, let’s explore what it takes to unlock the full potential of enterprise intelligent automation.

Create competitive advantage with enterprise intelligent automation.

Whether you’re an IT leader or a business stakeholder, intelligent automation (IA) offers undeniable advantages for enterprises, from supercharging operational efficiency and speeding time to revenue to fortifying risk management and optimizing customer service. However, the key to unlocking IA’s full potential lies in selecting tools that align with your organization’s strategic business goals and objectives. Ready to take the next step?

[Get the Gartner® Hyperautomation Trends Report and discover the tools you need to orchestrate end-to-end process automation in your enterprise.]