Please Try a Different Browser

You are using an outdated browser that is not compatible with our website content. For an optimal viewing experience, please upgrade to Microsoft Edge or view our site on a different browser.

If you choose to continue using this browser, content and functionality will be limited.

A blurry panoramic photograph of an office corridor with overhead lighting

Artificial Intelligence vs Intelligent Automation: What’s the Difference?

Over the past several years, the buzz surrounding artificial intelligence technology has built to a near fever pitch. The business world is always looking to the “next big thing” to cut costs, boost efficiency and gain a stronger competitive edge. Grand promises about the revolutionary potential of AI have been made time and again. Meanwhile, new tools and techniques under the umbrella of “intelligent automation” have begun to generate a buzz of their own.

What’s the difference between artificial intelligence and intelligent automation? Although one is an integral part of the other, you’ll see that intelligent automation is the future of doing business and AI is the means to help you get there.

In this blog, we’ll explore the following topics looking at AI and intelligent automation:

What is Automation and Artificial Intelligence?

Untangling the jargon that often swirls around these topics can be a challenge of its own. However, separating intelligent automation from artificial intelligence is easy when we break down the differences. In the broadest sense, artificial intelligence is a tool for problem solving, while intelligent automation looks to use many tools together to tackle big issues. Let’s break it down further.

A Quick Look at Artificial Intelligence

For simplicity’s sake, “AI” here refers only to the applications as they currently exist—not hypothetical software that could draw original conclusions or make fully independent decisions. Today’s artificial intelligence lies at the confluence of decades of research into neural network-powered machine learning algorithms. So-called “deep learning” on extensive datasets also exists. A well-trained algorithm can execute tasks such as recognizing the contents of an image, identifying a face, understanding the contents of a document and more.

AI applications trained for a specific purpose can become excellent at sorting and classifying both structured and unstructured data. Deep insights into trends and extensive analysis of historical data can also reveal new trends and patterns that help businesses improve.

Defining Intelligent Automation

Automation has been a key factor in remaining competitive for many businesses across industries as disparate as healthcare and finance. Rule-based software products, such as robotic process automation or RPA, have allowed companies to speed up tedious tasks and reduce human errors. Intelligent automation is an evolution of this effort—not a replacement technology, but one that can foster connections and make improvements. AI is a necessary component of intelligent automation.

What Does Intelligent Automation Do for Businesses?

Intelligent automation incorporates basics such as RPA but expands overall capabilities with the addition of AI-powered tools. These platforms intelligently connect systems. For example, a financial institution monitoring transactions for fraud could use IA platforms to “connect the dots” between different systems. Those workflows might include transaction flagging, sanctions list checks, report authoring and more. There are many exciting use cases for IA.

With IA, the entire business process can be transformed to achieve a specific purpose from end to end. The applications are almost limitless. Through such technology, businesses can approach solutions for problems previously too complex to automate.

IA tools make “decisions” based on multiple data sources, training directives and past choices. Humans engage with the process to approve these decisions and monitor outcomes. Faster operations, lowered costs and insights for new business improvements are all possible.

A solid software platform is a must-have for businesses looking to future-proof operations and to prepare strategies that can unlock new efficiencies and opportunities. With the Kofax Intelligent Automation platform, companies gain a wide array of tools that enable tasks such as document intelligence, enhanced security and much more. Learn about the platform and explore its potential for your business today.

The Difference Between AI and Intelligent Automation

It should be clear that the AI and automation difference lies in how companies use each tool. AI on its own might have important applications within a business, such as using image recognition software to carry out quality control inspections on manufacturing or production lines.

Intelligent automation efforts could use the output of that AI’s decision and incorporate it into a touchless workflow that analyzes quality, checks fault rates and raises a warning if it detects something wrong.

Thus, when it comes to intelligent automation vs. artificial intelligence, the latter one is a foundational part of the former.

Investing in the Future: Is Now the Time for AI-Enabled Automation?

Why take steps now to begin exploring the opportunities that exist at the intersection of new AI/Machine Learning technologies and the latest in automation? Understanding the benefits—and the wide reach that automation can have—offers answers to that question.

The Core Benefits of Investing Now

Four core benefits of deploying automation strategies.

Businesses who invest the time, organizational effort and planning into deploying intelligent automation strategies can tap into benefits that ultimately have a positive impact on how you do business. These benefits include:

  • Connect legacy systems. The chance to connect legacy systems with newer technologies eases the difficulty of modernization while gaining AI-driven insights into how your processes work and where you can improve.
  • Lower operational costs. Automation using IA technologies can make processes faster, which inherently saves money. It can also reduce human errors that cost the business money. In some cases, IA tools can help you better manage payroll through process improvement.
  • Reduced risk. When deployed in sectors with strict regulatory requirements or where managing risk is a daily task, artificial intelligence packaged with IA solutions can make this complex undertaking easier to digest.
  • Better customer-facing outcomes. IA isn’t just for improving the back office—it’s an essential element in providing a seamless customer experience. Consider an intelligent process that classifies and analyzes a loan application, consults various sources and provides a near-instant quote for rates. Consistently good customer service is achievable with IA.

Investing now means getting in on the ground floor of the next wave of the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution. It also provides additional time to develop strategies for effectively deploying IA and managing its challenges. With maturing technologies and intensive, continuing research into improving AI’s capabilities for business, exploring the potential impact of intelligent process automation offers a chance at better outcomes both now and tomorrow.

Taking Steps to Bring Businesses into the Future

While the advent of “true” artificial intelligence capable of fully independent decision making remains a far-off possibility, today’s machine learning-enabled applications nonetheless provide superior advantages. With an array of technologies combined under the umbrella of an intelligent automation platform, overhauling end-to-end processes is within reach.

So too are programs to improve employee job satisfaction, enhance compliance procedures and of course, save money. With mature platforms available today, now is the best time to learn about artificial intelligence and automation and embrace this technology.

cta banner

Ready to get started?

Work Like Tomorrow—today. Let's chat.