What is Intelligent Process Automation (IPA)?

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Imagine the following scenario . . . 

You’re in charge of running a company with a large amount of crucial yet repetitive, mundane, and click-intensive operations. Left unattended, these operations would cause a massive loss of efficiency and profitability. 

In this scenario, however, nobody is really tending to them. Because, well, they're boring. 

And besides, the bots are already on it, tirelessly tackling those operations around the clock and without supervision. 

What you've just pictured here is something called intelligent process automation (IPA).

Peeling away the layers of intelligent process automation

IPA is an integrated SaaS solution that uses software bots to perform repetitive tasks. These bots, or digital workers, get the job done automatically in the background, handling things like data entry, invoicing, payroll, and compliance faster and more efficiently than human workers can.

You might hear IPA referred to as robotic process automation (RPA) or IT process automation. The terms are often interchanged, but what's important here are the numbers: IPA greatly increases business efficiency and reduces process operating costs by an average of 87%, all while consistently delivering ROIs in the triple digits.

With that kind of ROI, it's not surprising that the projected annual spending on IPA for 2022 is $7.3 billion.

If it helps, you can think of IPA as a full-stack solution for enterprise automation. At its heart are the software bots operating where humans would have in the past. This is technically the RPA level of the stack.

But intelligent process automation really involves more than just robots parsing spreadsheet data and welcoming customers to the chat. It's not just setting and forgetting the bots; it's also monitoring, managing, and optimizing them.

That's where the rest of the stack comes in. By reinforcing your base-level RPA with technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine and cognitive learning, natural language processing, and smart workflow management, you end up with a robust suite of services working to maximize efficiency and minimize expenses.

Taken together, all of these layers compose intelligent process automation.

IPA at Thoughtful

Adopting intelligent process automation is a surefire way to supercharge your business operations and redirect your human workforce away from mundane tasks and onto value-add projects.

However, most companies find the initial investment to be an insurmountable obstacle. The upfront cost is typically $1 million or more, and payback on that can often take three to five years. 

Enter Thoughtful with a faster, more affordable alternative.

The basics: How our IPA platform works

At Thoughtful, we've created a proprietary automation-as-a-service platform that businesses can leverage to deploy digital workers in as little as six weeks. 

We code our robots in the natural language of artificial intelligence—Python—which means they're fast, efficient, and easily scalable if demand surges. They can run right on top of your existing IT, so there are no additional resources required in that department. We don't charge implementation or maintenance fees, and our flexible, no-contract monthly plans come with 99% uptime SLAs.

When it's all said and done, your total cost of ownership will be around 75% less than if you launched your own internal automation solution. You'll see payback within three to six months, and you'll have your digital workers up and running in weeks, not months.

Case studies: How our IPA platform helps

To help visualize how our IPA platform creates results, consider these two studies from the behavioral healthcare industry.

The first case involved automating a company's revenue cycle. The RC department's internal claims, patient responsibility, invoicing, and zero-payment subgroups were all functioning on different sets of documentation and credentials, creating inefficiencies that ate up a lot of human time and energy.

Thoughtful streamlined this disjointed system by deploying five digital workers to manage 3,000+ clicks over three web apps and 12+ spreadsheets. The company retains ownership of all back-end documentation, and the bots dynamically update to account for any changes. 

The result? Increased operation speed, decreased human error, continuous delivery, and a 70% reduction in human time spent on processes.

Now on to the second case, which took us into the world of invoicing. The main problem involved a growing backlog caused by a staff shortage and the repetitive nature of the invoicing process. 

To address this issue, Thoughtful designed a bot that could navigate 45 clicks over three web apps, call an API, and send out a customer-facing email. 

The results included a 200% invoicing capacity increase, an 87% reduction in cost, a human time savings of 90%, and an ROI of 235%. 

IPA: The future of workforce automation is now

We live in a world rich with software and artificial intelligence options. But that rich availability doesn’t have to feature a hefty price tag. When it comes to enterprise workforces, the time to automate is now.

Building robots to manage repetitive, click-intensive tasks saves your human resources for more value-add, high-intellect projects. 

It overwhelmingly improves your operational efficiency.

And it paves the way for investment returns that would otherwise be unreachable. 


Navya Prabhushankar

Navya is a Customer Solutions Manager at Thoughtful, and is closer to our customers’ processes than anyone. Together with our automation team, Navya walks through our customers’ processes through every step and click, and ensures that no step or variable is missed on their path to a smooth, successful, and rapid automation.

Get human-attended automation for digitally managed tasks.

At Thoughtful, we're a team of technology professionals with deep industry experience, and we're here to help your business take full advantage of the power of intelligent process automation. Schedule a demo today, and we'll be in touch!

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