How Workflow Software and AI Will Make Great Partners
Artificial intelligence, or AI, is the process of mimicking human intelligence with machines, particularly computers. The acquisition of information and rules for using it, which is AI “learning,” and using those rules to reach conclusions, which is AI “reasoning,” offers another level of automation on top of already-automated means of production.
Artificial intelligence must also have a certain capacity for self-correction. Do you remember the Black Monday stock market crash of October 19, 1987? Some of the blame for the race to the bottom was placed on program trading, which was an automated system of selling by certain hedge funds. Since then, backstops have been integrated into automated trading programs in an attempt to prevent such problems from recurring.
But AI has a place in countless industries aside from finance. Food manufacturers may use sensors in their production lines to alert appropriate personnel when, say, a product temperature approaches its tolerance limit. Automated appointment scheduling systems “know” not to double- or triple-book appointments. There may be a place for AI in your business, and it can take your workflows to a higher level.
Machine Learning Input to Automated Workflows
Machine learning is a type of AI in which algorithms work with often large quantities of raw data with the aim of recognizing patterns in it. You have probably already noticed the results of machine learning when, for example, you order a kayak online and are then presented with advertisements for carrier kits, outriggers, and the like.
Machine learning can be used in countless other ways, however. It could be put to use scouring sensor data from machinery as well as breakage and repair data in order to find patterns indicating that the risk of breakage is higher. When this happens, the right people can be notified so the machinery can be examined and serviced if necessary to prevent breakage.
Your Workflow Software Must Be Easy to Integrate
If you want to use AI in your automated workflows, it’s imperative that your workflow software be easy to integrate with different data sources. For example, a temperature sensor could be set up to deliver data automatically into a database or spreadsheet, and the data can then be used by your workflow software to inform the progress of a workflow.
When businesses – and in particular, small businesses – choose workflow software, they may not consider how well it integrates with other systems, thinking they do not need this functionality. However, integration capacity is a feature to look for, because it allows greater flexibility and scope in how the software can be used.
Predictable and Fixed to Dynamic and Uncertain
In many businesses, automated workflows are used for processes that are repetitive, predictable, and fixed. In other words, once A happens, B is triggered, and Person X is notified. While this can greatly improve efficiency over manual workflows, workflows are capable of doing much more. In fact, one of the most promising aspects of marrying AI technology to automated workflows is the possibility of applying automated workflows to processes that are dynamic and less predictable. For this reason alone, it’s important to select workflow software that offers users significant scope and flexibility, whether they put those qualities to use right away or not.
Result: Further Efficiency Gains
Artificial intelligence isn’t necessarily complex, but it can be. We’re only just learning many of the potential applications of AI in ordinary business processes. The future looks tremendously promising, however, and once AI and automated workflows become established partners, companies in all industries can expect even greater efficiency gains over standard automated workflows.
It’s important that even smaller, newer companies take the long view when choosing workflow software. PerfectForms serves the needs of the leanest startup to the biggest enterprise, with workflow software that not only has an intuitive user interface that doesn’t require programming but also is designed to integrate with web pages, spreadsheets, CRM systems, databases, and directory service lookups.
If you are interested in workflow software that takes your company’s processes to the next level through advanced integration capabilities, we invite you to watch some of our training videos to see PerfectForms in action. The videos on adding intelligent / dynamic behaviors to workflows and on creating connections may be of particular interest.