There is no formal acronym to celebrate the coming together of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) — obviously it would be AIRPA if there was — but the twining (or at least the joint adoption and development of) these two key enabling technologies appears to be right at the top of the roadmap for many technology vendors now seeking to position themselves at the cutting edge.
Low-code software platform company would probably agree with the above statement.
The firm has used its annual developer/user show to illustrate the application point of both AI and RPA on its platform with new functionalities designed to deliver both functions… but through the lens of its low-code efficiency play.
An eye on AI
Appian has decided to call its AI tool Appian AI, well, it’s a logical enough choice that probably didn’t need any extended use of Machine Learning (ML) data exposure to come up with.
Appian AI will add AI services powered by Google Cloud Platform into an application built on the Appian Platform. Although it’s ‘just’ a Google option at the moment, the company suggests it may look outside Google’s AI universe later.
Examples of the kinds of AI available through Google’s AI eye include application functions such as image recognition and sentiment analysis. These functions can often be used in ‘human workflows’ to help transform optimise operations and reduce costs. However, building these applications can be complicated and costly.
Medhat Galal, vice president of software development at Appian says that there’s a big efficiency advantage here for programmers building enterprise applications that could make use of new AI functions.
Galal has explained that Appian sets up the customer/users link to Google’s AI services – and Appian will subsidise the entire cost of the free tier of Appian AI, so all the customer has to think about is which services to use for their business problem.
This is all part of Appian’s ‘Connected Systems’ vision and architecture that aims to make its low-code platform the central orchestrator of an ecosystem of third-party applications and services that are integrated through no-code plug-ins.
Appian AI services include: Google Translate API – including Language Detection and Translation services; Google Vision API – including Label Detection, Optical Character Recognition (OCR); Google Natural Language – including Entity Recognition, Sentiment Analysis, Syntax Analysis and Content Classification services; and full Google Console administration and management by Appian.
Aye-aye to RPA
Looking onward from AI to RPA then, Appian has also added a no-code integration between its own platform and Automation Anywhere, a robotic process automation (RPA) platform that specialises in software bots.
UK-based psKINETIC uses both technologies in its customised patient/customer referral and case management solutions.
“Integrating human and robotic workflows is transformational for business outcomes,” said Ingolv Urnes, CEO of psKINETIC. “In addition to getting a single view of the customer/patient and delivering a better user experience, we have automated over 95% of admin tasks and reduced lapsed time by over 70%. Increasing the speed and ease with which developers can build such solutions, and simplifying operational management of a digital workforce, are key to value.”
Automation Anywhere bots automate manual, repetitive, human tasks — and they are said to be able to overcome integration challenges with hard-to-connect legacy systems – they also complete data read and update processes with speed and accuracy that humans cannot match.
“Appian’s low-code platform uses visual design instead of complex coding to accelerate application development up to 20 times faster. Appian applications manage business processes end-to-end, orchestrating and optimizing interactions between people, systems and software robots,” said the company, in a press statement.
To round up all these helpful robots, Appian is introducing its own Appian Robotic Workforce Manager solution for Blue Prism – a company that specialises in connected- RPA software.
Appian has also partnered with UiPath in the RPA space.
Param Kahlon, chief product officer at UiPath has said that his firm’s alliance with Appian, together with bi-directional ‘no-code’ integration, enables our joint users of the firms’ technologies to integrate their RPA and business process management initiatives.
“This is delivering an end-to-end ‘automation first’ approach where robot, system, and human activities are orchestrated uniformly to deliver accelerated digital transformation,” said Kahlon.
The UiPath Enterprise RPA Platform delivers rapid automation of manual, rules-based, repetitive processes — and it has been used to automate millions of tasks for business and government organisations all over the world.
If bots and AI engines and RPA are going to be part of our lives and feature in so many of the apps that we use every day, then we’ll need a means of controlling, directing, tasking and managing them… and Appian wants to put all of that into low-code control.
Office admin (and indeed repetitive works tasks of any and every kind) haven’t quite ceased to exist… but many of them are on their way out.
Don’t celebrate quite yet, your lunch break is still only 1-hour for now okay?