Tech and Business

Machine Processes

The combination of Cloud, Big Data/Analytics, AI (RPA/Cognitive/Virtual Assistants) and Crowd will bring forward the first technological transformation: Machine Processes.

The technology for Machine Processes is finally ready at this point, and the large scale deployment of AI, Analytics, Crowd and SaaS capabilities in the dominant cloud providers signals its widespread availability. SaaS products are the early stage of Machine Processes, and will evolve towards this paradigm.

Machine Processes are the complete translation to the digital realm of business processes. In the digital realm processes will have a number of characteristics that will set them apart:

  • Data driven. Machine Processes capture, process and use all the data that is available to take automated decisions that optimize and continuously improve the process and adjacent processes and data stores.
  • Automated. Machine Processes are fully automated processing automatically any step or interaction that doesn’t require human judgment. Learning over time to manage exceptions that required human judgment to solve at first.
  • Human in the loop. Machine Processes introduce human input seamless only when it is needed and through any method of interaction for both humans inside the company or outside it, including customers.
  • Ubiquitous. Machine Processes will reside in the cloud and capture and process data on any device and in any location.

Machine Processes will represent a similar transformation for all information processing, that first steam and then the combustion engine and electricity represented for physical work. We can expect orders of magnitude of improvement so Machine Processes will fully replace conventional information processing for all but the most trivial tasks. All industries have some amount of information processing, so its effect will be universal, but industries that are focused on information processing at their core such as banking, BPO, professional services or some branches of the public sector will be specially transformed.

We can expect several impacts from Machine Processes:

  • Cost and decrease. Information capture and processing will become virtually free.
  • Employment transformation. Most employees dedicated to information capture and processing will be freed up to move to higher value-added tasks with the consequent disruption and need for retraining.
  • Inmediacy. Process metabolism will accelerate to digital speed, seconds, microseconds or nanoseconds depending on the application
  • Quality increase. Human error will be eliminated, so execution will be flawless.
  • Insight increase. Decisions will be taken at the equivalent level of a very experienced human operator with knowledge of all the relevant data
  • New applications rendered possible. Many applications that were not feasible before because of cost, speed, quality or human intervention will be enabled, creating a wave of innovation in applications (think electric appliances or plastics).

What should I do

  • As an executive start incorporating cloud, analytics and AI in your core information gathering and processing business processes. Look for partners to accelerate your move.
  • As an individual get a first-hand understanding of what cloud, analytics, and AI can do and start developing skills in them.

Where can I learn more

  • Andreessen Horowitz microsite on Machine Learning
  • Deloitte University Press report collection on Cognitive
  • Checking the cloud/AI/Analytics offerings of the three cloud giants: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google

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