The Future of Work, Automation, and AI
In the last two years, Skan has experienced a massive uptick in interest around our AI-driven Process Intelligence platform. The recent successes of OpenAI’s ChatGPT have also drawn in more excitement, primarily around how, as an AI company, we will leverage advances in Generative AI and apply them to Process Intelligence.
Our vision for the future of work is much the same as it was two years ago. Due to recent advances in AI, we believe now more than ever that this vision will come to fruition.
The Future of Understanding Work:
A little over a decade from now, we expect most large enterprises to have adopted a Process Intelligence technology just like Skan. These technologies will help executives understand their operational processes, identify inefficiencies, and strategically target them.
As of today, the market is very nascent, and many enterprises still rely on what we view as out-of-date methods of process understanding: manual interviews, teams of Lean Six Sigma black belts, and Process Mining. All of these solutions require lengthy engagements, and in the case of Process Mining, heavy integrations with individual applications. The results of these methods also do not capture the exact nuance of how work is performed, and oftentimes, the real jaw-dropping insights are in the smallest of details.
The future of understanding work will require more sophisticated methods of data extraction—much like Skan’s revolutionary AI-powered approach. By observing from the front-end, Skan avoids any need for integrations with applications, specialized connectors, or application log files. Furthermore, the data that Skan outputs is truly an end-to-end view of the entire process across all operators, applications, and process nuances. This is only possible through AI and sophisticated analytical techniques, and no amount of mining log files will ever produce a comparable view.
It's our belief that current approaches like Task Mining and Process Mining will be officially subsumed into the next generation of Process Intelligence technologies. At Skan, we believe that creating a holistic 360-degree view of work means bringing together Task Mining and Process Mining into a unified product that produces all the traditional outputs from both techniques seamlessly. Historically, these two methods were separated because of their analytical approach (with Process Mining relying on mining log files and Task Mining relying on a very narrow set of screen-based activities, typically on the operators desktop). In a future where AI is king, there won’t be much of a logical reason to separate the two.
With the adoption of Process Intelligence Technologies, the modern enterprise will gain a better understanding of how work is performed in real-time. The next step will be to improve operations.
The Future of Automation:
The major issue with automation technology today is that bots break when context is changed. In a world where AI is sophisticated enough to adapt to ever changing context, the combination of AI and automation (often called intelligent automation) will create even more advanced bots that will be much more robust to these changes. Additionally, as Generative AI continues to advance, the output that bots are capable of will surpass anything we can imagine today.
Generative AI will make what humans could do in hours be done in minutes, and in minutes to seconds. In this world, digital automation will be much more powerful than it ever was before. Use cases that were previously passed over will become viable and millions of labor hours will be saved. For example, Skan’s Business Process Copilot can identify when a specific customer communication might need to be sent, and then automatically populate an email with the appropriate communication for an employee to send. This sort of automation would not have been possible without Generative AI and every industry will see disruption far beyond our imaginations today.
The Future of Work:
If we take the improvements in process understanding together with the improvements in automation, we produce a feedback mechanism that will revolutionize work in the modern enterprise. Think about the modern enterprise in 5 years.
Process Intelligence will display operational efficiency in real-time across all of your applications and operators within any business process. As automation opportunities arise and meet a set of criteria, automation scripts will be auto-generated and call on bots that could specifically automate that portion of the process. The scope of these automation opportunities will expand as vertical and domain-specific Gen AI models improve, and human-centric processes will start to dramatically shift to bot-centric. Bot output will eventually be indistinguishable from human output, and we’ll begin to see more and more digital processes being entirely performed through automation.
The telemetry that Skan captures will allow the bot ecosystem to be more self-aware and “self-healing”. After any process interventions are introduced, Skan could continuously monitor the process and check for improvement. Not every automation initiative may have its intended impact, and tools like Skan can identify if no improvement is made and then help you manage your bot usage. If any improvement is made, the improvement could be measured in real-time.
Real-time alerting can be implemented throughout the process, alerting operators of optimal next steps in the process, and real-time process data can help optimize the existing automations that the bots have already created. In this feedback mechanism, human operators and bots could be continuously optimized for performance. Skan would function as one component in this mechanism, allowing enterprise leadership to manage not just their workforce, but their bot ecosystems as well.
In the enterprise of the future, understanding work will be a continuous effort to achieve optimal work performance.
That being said, guardrails will need to be established around Generative AI and automation initiatives. These controls will ensure that business risks are mitigated and that projects are successful.
There are many advances in AI that need to happen to bring us closer to this future. As the years pass and AI becomes more capable, employees will naturally adapt and the way they perform tasks within digital processes will also shift. We’re already seeing changes in our customers’ processes as they incorporate AI, and here at Skan we believe that identifying Gen AI opportunities will soon be more important than identifying automation opportunities.
Maybe the future is closer than it seems?