Artificial intelligence (AI): AI technologies can perform tasks that previously required human intelligence, such as extracting meaning from images, text or speech, detecting patterns and anomalies, and making recommendations, predictions or decisions. They include machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing and generation technologies. AI enables the processing of unstructured data and the automation of specific tasks that traditionally require human judgment or tacit knowledge.
Robotic process automation (RPA): RPA is business process automation in which software performs tasks that can be codified in computer code. It is often referred to as 'robotics' or 'robots’. It is defined as the automation of rule-based processes with software that utilises the user interface. It can run on any software, including web-based applications, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and mainframe systems.
Automation-as-a-Service: Automation is provided as a service rather than a one-off build by a third party. Typically, the third party builds and hosts automation services on its own platform on behalf of an organisation. This includes research and analysis, design, development, and ongoing support and maintenance of automated processes.
Private cloud: A private cloud consists of cloud computing resources deployed exclusively for one business or organisation. The private cloud can be physically located at an organisation’s on-site data centre, or a third-party service provider can host it. But in a private cloud, the services and infrastructure are always explicitly configured for one organisation.
Public cloud: The cloud resources are developed and operated by a third-party cloud service provider at scale for many organisations. With a public cloud, computing infrastructure, a range of platform components and advanced services are made available by the cloud service provider and consumed by organisations who configure these services for their use in subscriptions (or similar). Microsoft Azure is an example of a public cloud.
Low-code: In the context of automation, low-code refers to automation tools with a graphical interface that enable a broader population of nontechnical users (rather than trained software technicians) to build automations.
Orchestration: In the context of automation, orchestration refers to how automations are managed and scheduled to optimise workflow. Orchestration can be manual or scheduled, or it can leverage data and algorithms to understand when the best time would be to perform tasks.
OCR/ICR: Optical character recognition (OCR) is a technology that enables the conversion of noneditable documents, such as scanned paper or PDF files, into digital text. Intelligent character recognition (ICR) is the next generation of this technology which uses AI to enhance the quality of data extracted from documents using context and machine learning.
Process intelligence: Process intelligence refers to digitalised process diagnostic and execution management tools that enable an organisation to mine data. The results can provide better decisions that will allow the organisation to transform. It includes process mining, task mining, simulation and execution management tools with the capability to re-engineer and automate processes to realise rapid process optimisation and deliver end-to-end cost, revenue, and risk efficiencies.
Process mining: Process mining uses specialised data mining algorithms to identify trends, patterns and details in event logs recorded by an information system to define and understand the underlying business process.
Task mining: Task mining uses data captured by recording the interactions of users to capture process actions at the desktop level, including actions performed on non-core systems such as spreadsheets and emails, to define and understand the underlying processes.
Process monitoring: Process monitoring refers to using tools, including process mining in a connected ‘always on’ state, to monitor process performance in real-time. The insights generated can be used to execute processes better or transform them (sometimes called process management).
End-to-end automation: End-to-end automation is a methodology that enables the delivery of automation solutions across an entire process/value chain, which may involve using multiple tools.
Citizen-led development: Citizen-led development is a framework that encourages non-IT employees to use IT-sanctioned low-code/no-code platforms to develop low-complexity, attended automations within their function. This framework empowers business users to create new task-based automations for their own use, and it helps with increasing automation awareness throughout the organisation.