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A quote from this article on Small Business Trends that says 80 Percent of Businesses Don’t Automate Processes, But AI Will Change That. What do you think?
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Businesses have been automating processes and will continue to automate processes (i.e. convert human tasks to machine tasks, streamline tasks that will continue to need to be done by humans) as they are asked to consider/approve ROI submissions that have attractive/short timeframe returns.

AI will change everything.
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I suppose I should read the underlying articles that give rise to some of these BPM forum questions.

Easy to believe that 9 out of 10 new ventures fail. But, not so easy to believe, particularly in the absence of references, that 80 percent of businesses “don’t automate processes, but AI will change this”.

What does “automate” mean, anyway?

My take is any organization that makes the effort to document processes that work for them is doing “automation”. All they need is a policy/procedure manual. Of course, we know that as processes become more complex, as geographic coverage increases, it pays to put processes in-line. And, who is not going to replace labor with software and robots if the ROI justifies this?

The end result is some of the work is performed by humans with the balance performed by software/machines. It can go from 5/95% automated, to 95/5% automated. Adjusting the balance between humans and machines is just one dimension of automation, you also need in-line orchestration and governance (i.e. workflow management and workload management).

AI will probably impact automation but as I indicated, corporations have been automating , are automating and will continue to automate , with/without AI.
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I look forward to small businesses being automated by AI. /sarcasm

Seriously now, yes AI will automate large processes with large data sets and with clear goals. Anything else - the jury is out there (in the wilderness).
CEO, Co-founder, Profluo
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Good interview... Most Businesses are small businesses, so unless they automate the needle won't move.

What I'm thinking is that smart Packaged Solution Vendors will start building AI into their product offerings to make those offering accessible to more small businesses.

There's a "configuration" barrier in these offerings today - Highly configurable solutions are daunting to configure and "one size fits all" solutions don't fit anybody.

Without help, it's really hard for a small business to properly configure and "tune" a packaged solution to meet their specific needs (and the cost of bringing in a professional is prohibitive) so they just make do without it.

If AI enables a packaged solution to "learn and adapt" to what an SMB needs in a few days, then it should be more attractive and "more small businesses will automate their processes".

This is of course just speculation - If you know any packaged solution company that's actually taking this approach I would love to hear about it.
Founder at John Reynolds' Venture LLC - Creator of ¿?Trules™ for drama free decisions
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I think the issue is that business do not understand how easy it is to bring automation benefits to many regular processes. The industry analysts fail to both research how then explain in language business understands. As ever the fear and cost of IT involvement is a barrier to understanding. If we can see AI cover automation of activity in business and lead by the BPM thinking then there is hope. Time for analysts to put end user customers first not repeating the marketing "bs" from vendors....
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What a fantastic future we can look forward to. AI will accelerate the automation of inefficient processes.
AI and automation ONLY come before discovery and simplification in the dictionary
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The interview by Brent Leary with CEO Katherine Kostereva is excellent -- more than many articles and interviews on AI and BPM (and CRM) the interview references lots of useful data points from bpm’online, the BPM/CRM company. Of particular interest is the suggestion that AI will make a substantial difference in the ability of SMB firms in the area of strategy adoption, where strategy adoption is defined as implementing processes. And the specific domain which is the focus of the company is CRM, i.e. sales and marketing automation. I believe however that AI application to CRM and BPM will be slow, for the following reasons (and these points are to the general proposition, not to specific ideas from the interview):

1) AI NOT SUITED TO STRATEGY - The assumption that strategy just needs execution is just that -- an easy assumption that the only problem with strategy is "alignment" of sales people. If strategy is however not just about execution but rather is a choice among alternatives for reaching goals, then the best strategies are constantly adjusted with full engagement by front-line staff. This means that encoding AI is less relevant. Until the singularity, AI is after-the-fact; strategy is before-the-fact and, hopefully, "during".

2) AI DIFFICULT -- AI itself is very difficult to do, as has been discussed many times on BPM.com. Encoding AI is especially difficult to do in the world of sales and marketing, where by definition one is traversing boundaries (across firewalls and corporate borders and cultures etc.).

3) FEW OPPORTUNITIES -- The economics and structure of any given market determine the number of sales deals will be closed during any given period of time. AI works well with large data sets. Most B2B business markets that can be addressed by any given play just aren't that large in terms of number of deals per day. And in any case, existing models for field sales partnered with inside sales give the required human edge for incremental sales wins. (Obviously there are excellent CRM/BPM opportunities characterized by big data sets and large volumes of transactions, just not that many opportunities.)
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Utter nonsense, all of it. As long as it is called AI all predictions and proposals are just hype! There is no such thing. There is statistical machine learning (ML) and adding that to a rigid process does nothing. And no, BPM vendors won't start to add ML because it disrupts the flowcharting and the prepackaged 'Smart Apps' business. And they won't 'start to add' because we already added ML to the ACM environment in 2009!!! We are in the third major version of the User-Trained Agent (UTA) and it is plug&play. We used statistical ML in document capture since 1998 and the patented transductive training since 2009 for task recommendations. Orthodox BPM is about automation for manpower reduction. The UTA is about true agility and augmentation. So most certainly AI or ML won't be used for automation because it would be worse than human analyzed processes. ML will be used for less automation but more individual service, more knowledge sharing and collaboration and better decision making.
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“Automation” is boring. AI will spawn entirely new applications, product offerings, and customer experiences. That's interesting.

That said: this AI stuff isn't intuitive for businesses (or almost anybody else). What can it do? How would it apply to my business? Can I trust decisions made by AI engines, and how can I vet those decisions before taking action (or do I even need bother to do so)? How can I measure the effectiveness of AI-driven actions or predictions, and what's more, how do I know what opportunities or risks the engine overlooked?

The low-hanging fruit will, as always, be consumed rapidly. But beyond that, this stuff is going to take longer than people expect to find its way into mundane business applications.
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-Scott
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I am not completely sure if there's a replicable way to determine with precision an overall percentage of businesses not automating or not running BPM. In order to establish any meaningful sizing in that sense, I think, one has to segregate and analyze first different business types, sizes and markets. But I think in this interview the percentage is meant to be more a figure of speech then a correct determination, to reflect that there are many businesses that haven't embarked yet on the journey process optimization and automation.
However, the interview seems to go even further than that, focusing on the broader aspect of automation and not only business process management.
If you look at general automation (things as dispersed as email rules, vending machines, online shops with scripts that help to provide a more customized shopping experience among many other things), then I on one hand would say that SMB’s and businesses in general are actually well on their way of automating aspects of their operations and on the other hand by far exceed the estimated 20% of businesses that have engaged in automation.
Just look at new strides providers achieve with simple yet powerful features through services like Google forms or full cloud open source BPM platforms like Flokzu, all of which are already leading or will do so very shortly to some sort of automation initiatives.
While I agree that AI is an important component for Business Process Management (most likely starting with business analysis and improvements), I doubt that AI will become the trigger to start and obtain automation for companies that never have done anything comparable in the past.
Also important to notice is that BPM does not necessarily equal automation.
NSI Soluciones - ABPMP PTY
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