Intelligent Process Automation: A short glossary
Intelligent Process Automation, IPA
Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) refers to the practice of process automation with solutions that involve smart attributes. IPA solutions are tailored to the specific requirements of the target process by combining technologies like, chat bots, computer vision, machine learning and robotic process automation software.
Robotic Process Automation, RPA
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) refers to process automation with software robots. The robots are programmed to use the applications required for the execution of the target process in the same way as a human operator would. They always follow pre-programmed rules and are easy to integrate into existing business processes.
Software robot is a software application that is used in robotic process automation to replace the actions of a human worker interacting with the user interface of a computer system. Software robots may have some vendor specific attributes, but implementing these technologies never requires changes to existing systems.
Enterprise RPA refers to the use of RPA technology in a large and industrial manner to achieve automation requirements of a large enterprise. Enterprise RPA solutions are scalable, easily managed and maintained. These features are achieved by specialized services such as: managing component libraries that allow the re-use of automation objects, expert support, staff training, following and managing RPA performance, support in setting up internal robotic center of excellence.
Business Process Automation, BPA
Business Process Automation refers to a high-level strategy that aims to streamline all business processes. It involves recording – and re-designing- all processes within the business to digital format and then integrating them with an automation software.
Digital worker/ Virtual worker
Digital or virtual worker refers to a software robot that takes over a process or task otherwise performed by human workers. Digital workers deliver Robotic Process Automation (RPA) services where the used technology is a pre-programmable software.
Intelligent digital worker
An intelligent digital worker is a technology platform that combines pre-programmed software robots with different cognitive technologies. An intelligent digital worker is able to handle processes that consist of more complex tasks involving unstructured data and interpretation. Intelligent digital workers are used to deliver Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) services.
Robotic Center of Excellence, CoE
Robotic Center of Excellence (CoE) is the organization’s management center for the use of automation technologies. The job of the CoE-team is to create, measure and manage a virtual workforce that supports the organization’s strategic goals.
Robotic Desktop Automation, RDA
Robotic Desktop Automation (RDA) refers to computer-specific automation that is applied to speed-up or enhance the performance of a human worker using the desktop. While RPA technologies can be referred to as virtual workers, RDA technologies work hand-in-hand with their human counterpart and thus may be called virtual assistants.
Optical Character Recognition, OCR
Optical character recognition (OCR) refers to the conversion of images of typed or hand written text into machine encoded text. OCR programs analyze scanned-in images to detect light and dark areas in order to identify alphabetic letters and numeric digits. When a character is recognized, it is converted into code. OCR is often being used to digitize typed or handwritten information.
Natural Language Processing, NLP
Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies enable computers to process large amounts of natural (human) language data. NLP technologies typically rely on machine learning to help them automatically learn new rules.
Computer Vision technologies are used to enable computers to gain high-level understanding from digital images or videos. These technologies seek to automate tasks that would otherwise require the human visual system.
Chatbots are computer programs that can conduct a natural language conversation. They are designed to simulate a human conversation partner convincingly either via auditory or textual means. Depending on the level of sophistication of the solution, chatbots can make use of NLP technologies or analyze keywords.
Machine Learning, ML
Machine Learning (ML) gives computers the ability to “learn” (i.e. progressively improve performance on a specific task) by processing data. ML technologies can “learn” under supervision, i.e. learn general rules to map inputs to outputs based on a set of example inputs and their desired outputs. The “learning” may also be unsupervised, in which case no examples are given to the learning algorithm. Instead, it is left on its own to find structures from its inputs. Unsupervised learning can be a goal in itself (discovering hidden patterns in data) or a means towards an end (feature learning).
Cognitive Computing, CC
Cognitive Computing (CC) describes technology platforms that involve cognitive technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and chatbots. The purpose of cognitive computing is to combine these technologies to find meaning from and understand a data set at a higher level. Rather than just pure data or sensor streams, cognitive computing can deal with symbolic and conceptual information. Cognitive computing enables computers to interpret information extracted from large data sets, while humans remain in charge of the decision process.
Artificial Intelligence, AI
AI is loosely used as an umbrella term for all cognitive technologies that enable computer systems to perform tasks normally requiring some form of human intelligence. A true AI machine would combine these different technologies in such a way that it would have augmented intelligence, surpassing humans in accuracy and insight. The individual technologies, on the other hand, that are performing tasks by simulating a specific area of human intelligence are called cognitive technologies.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, VR/AR
Virtual Reality technologies are being used to create simulated environments. These technologies allow the user to experience the simulation around them – as they were part of it – not just looking in from the outside. Augmented Reality (AR) integrates digital information with live video or the user’s environment in real time to augment the video with artificially added elements or effects.
Business Process Management (Suite), BPM(S)
A business process management suite (BPMS) is a set of automated tools for designing, implementing and improving activities to accomplish a specific organizational goal. BPMS is designed to support the entire process improvement life cycle from process discovery, definition, monitoring and analysis, and through ongoing optimization. BPMS tools allow the organisations to redesign or re-engineer the whole process or set of processes and often also the related IT systems (unlike RPA which is solely using existing IT- system without changes).
Enterprise Cognitive Systems, ECS
Enterprise Cognitive Systems (ECS) are a form of cognitive computing. They are focused on action, not insight, and their intention is to assess what to do in a complex business situation. ECS makes evidence-based suggestions about how the business can achieve its goals. It does so by finding past situations similar to the current situation, and extracting the repeated actions that best influence the desired outcome.
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