Points of View

Intelligent Automation Is Coming of Age

May 15, 2016 Tom Reuner

First Blue Prism successfully managed an IPO, then Pega acquired OpenSpan. Now Accenture launches an Amelia practice designed to accelerate client adoption of artificial intelligence based on IPsoft’s virtual agent platform: All of these are reference points for the maturation in the market development of Intelligent Automation. These milestones are complemented by a broadening and deepeninging of the approaches spanning the HfS Continuum of Intelligent Automation as well as the increasing knowledge and maturity in the discussions of the industry stakeholders in the context of automation and artificial intelligence.


The launch of the Accenture Amelia practice represents the transition from an incubator to a formalized practice that is the first of its kind in the industry. This practice is designed to accelerate client adoption of artificial intelligence to improve operations and create new growth opportunities for their businesses. Accenture will utilize IPsoft’s Amelia platform to develop go-to-market strategies, solutions and consulting service offerings around deployments of virtual agent technology for clients across several industries with initial focus on banking, insurance and travel. While the initial practice size at launch is small, the plan is to grow rapidly to support increasing market demand, and the team will work on tasks such as to integrate Amelia into SAP accounts payable functions that may have a broad impact for Accenture. For IPsoft, this represents a massive boost in its attempt to drive Amelia deeper into business process centric scenarios.


The launch needs to be seen in the context of an acceleration in the adoption of a broad set of artificial intelligent tools and platforms. Back in April, Accenture launched the myWizard platform, comprising a number of virtual agents that use machine learning to collaborate with human co-workers to manage projects, apply analytics to support business goals, advise on a range of judgement based tasks and monitor numerous aspects of Agile development. The focus here is on applications testing and development. At the same time, IBM’s Watson is starting to gain traction as a virtual agent—with examples including HCL’s Lucy virtual agent or Royal Bank of Scotland’s Luvo “Robo advisor” project. Thus, we expect the build out of a broad set of use cases where virtual agents will leverage a disparate set of emerging technologies.


The maturation of Artificial Intellgence is a reminder that organizations need to orchestrate and integrate a diverse set of automation approaches across the Intelligent Automation Continuum. Therefore, the focus needs to shift from tasks that appear as low hanging fruit to more holistic strategies that fundamentally decouple service delivery from labor arbitrage at a strategic level. These strategies need to go beyond traditional organizational models and anticipate an increasing convergence of IT and business process centric scenarios. Having merged IT and operations, Accenture continues to be a trendsetter both in service delivery as well as being a pioneer in Intelligent Automation.


What continues to be lacking is case studies and reference material that play back the learnings and experiences from those early engagements. We would love to hear your views as to how best to advance the evolution of Artificial Intelligence and what models might aid these discusions: [email protected].