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It’s not RPA and AI Silly; It’s Automation and Prediction!

RPA and AI buzzwords are everywhere. Combined together, both are marketed as the drivers of the 4th Industrial revolution. The term “AI” has suddenly started to show up in every marketing brochure from any company that has anything to do with technology. Pundits (most of whom, may not have done well in their high school stats class) are claiming to be AI experts and predict the AI future with ever increasing references to things like Chatbots, Self-Driving cars, and so on.

With that type of hype, the pressure is on the “corner offices” of every large, medium, and even small company to do something about “AI”. Now comes the hard part; What do you do with AI? For starters, let’s not refer to it as “AI”, or “Neural Networks”, or “Machine Learning”, or “NLP” …Let’s just call it a “Prediction” Technology based on Math and Statistics-based algorithms. Let’s also keep in mind that “Prediction” Technology is just that; it’s a technology that uses data and models to predict outcomes, and as more data is fed to the models, the better the prediction will be.

Similarly, let’s not try to explain to people what RPA is by using fancy-looking robot pictures, instead explain it to them as “Automation” Technology. Let’s keep in mind that there are still Corner Office Decision makers who refer to CRM as a “Contacts Database” rather than the official IT terminology, “Customer Relationship Management”.

So why are Automation and Prediction (aka RPA and AI) so important? Let’s explain it WITHOUT using the RPA or AI buzzwords.

Let’s take the example of a Digital Marketing and Messaging firm, in which I am an Investor. Our product uses messaging to deliver marketing promotions to customers and has a built in eCommerce functionality. This is fairly typical of Digital Marketing products. Like many other Digital Marketing products, campaigns have to be setup, customer information has to be configured, and a lot of manual work has to be done before a campaign can go live. This process is the perfect candidate for “Automation”, so, using Programming and Automation, we set a process up to execute campaigns automatically based on a set of rules and input parameters.

We then thought, what if we could add “Prediction” to our Automated Campaigns? So, we decided to use a “Prediction” technology to analyze our customer segmentation data from all of the prior campaigns to make our “Automated Campaigns” even smarter. Now our system can run specific campaigns on a specific set of customers at specific times with specific offers. Best of all, our software “learns” to “predict” better as it continuously feeds itself the data from the campaigns as it executes them. The net result from this is that we send fewer messages while getting more engagements because we got better at predicting who is more likely to respond to our offers.

Automation and Prediction Technology is all about either increasing revenue or reducing cost while making the Business more efficient. The glamour associated with the buzzwords is over-hyped unless one knows what to do with it in order to make a true impact on the Business.

There you have it. It’s not RPA or AI silly; Its Automation and Prediction!