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Milomir Vojvodic
Director EMEA BusDev / Go-To-Market / Outbound Product Strategy

Automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and significance of process automation

Automation is based on systems that automate some work that was previously done by humans and intelligent automation adds the use of AI to automate, empower, and accelerate digital transformation.

Process automation is one of the most operationalized and most enterprise-practical aspects of AI. Applying the knowledge from data analytics techniques has been challenging due to its focus on historical data and lack of actionable outcomes. AI takes the analytics a step further – into actionable guidance - that are ideal for the process mapping and to be embedded in the integration or process flows. “Messy” unstructured work has been the hardest to automate and has not been available for the process coverage - while automation would be providing the highest value on top of exactly such unstructured and messy work. AI finally closes the gap by providing analysis of conversational, content, and web interfaces (for example sentiment analysis), and this way organizing and labelling unstructured work – giving finally organized and digitalized input to the process or integration component to proceed with automation. Application of AI technologies allows process-flow pattern detection and integration, process, and business metrics predictions - guiding corrective actions and reaching much higher levels of needed proactivity. AI-based automation leads to a new and intensive wave of business process redesign. The speed of processes and a boost in the coverage of complex processes is the transformational impact that AI brings on the success of the integration and process automation initiatives.

Oracle supports a wide range of customers in the Business Process Management (BPM), Digital Process Automation (DPA), and Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) space for more than 15 years. In recent years Oracle Process Automation is integrated part of the Oracle Integration Cloud (OIC) and provides a suite of business process improvements and next-generation services that assists the knowledge worker by removing repetitive, replicable, and routine tasks, and that radically improve customer journeys by simplifying interactions and speeding up processes.

Oracle Intelligent Automation Solution – on the top of enterprise applications

As a vendor with a long tradition with process automation and integration technologies – Oracle certainly provides leading connectivity to Oracle Software As A Service (SaaS) and Oracle Applications. However, there is more to provide from the world’s biggest enterprise software vendor. Our view is that the intelligent automation needs of our SaaS and applications customers would perfectly be fulfilled by the market-leading functionality of Oracle Platform Services in the area of process automation, application integration, conversational AI, low code application development, and content management.

There is a group of Oracle Platform Services - that is able to automate integration to help breakdown data silos, automate the new process to reduce manual and mandate work, automate experiences enabled by new conversational technology such as voice, mobile, chat across all of the applications, automate document and content capture and extraction. Integration, process, and experience layers provide bases for the additional automation with their set of pre-built skills, apps, and accelerators. These platform services are building blocks of Oracle Intelligent Automaton Solution.

Picture: Oracle Intelligent Automation Solution; Source: Oracle EMEA Go-To-Market Team

Building blocks of Oracle Platform Services in a complete Oracle Intelligent Automation Solution are:

Oracle Integration Cloud (OIC SE and EE): a home-grown, cloud-based offering that combines application integration functionality commonly found in iPaaS (integration platform as a service) offerings with a business process automation suite

Oracle Visual Builder (OVB): a low-code, graphical design, and development environment for web and mobile front-ends for workflow as well as database applications; bundled with Oracle Integration Cloud (OIC).

Oracle Digital Assistant (ODA): a platform and toolset for building AI-powered conversational chatbots that can handoff requests to human agents and automatically mine established written FAQs to create knowledge bases.

Oracle Content and Experience (OCE): a single content hub to create, manage, and publish omnichannel content including digital assets, user-generated content, web content, and business documents with full-text indexing and intelligent capture extraction.

The starting point of rationalizing AI and intelligent automation – is application infrastructures. Oracle Integration Cloud (OIC), Oracle Digital Assistant (ODA, Oracle Visual Builder (OVB), and Oracle Content and Experience (OCE) all become de facto standard platform elements for Oracle Cloud Applications, as well as for their secondary customization or extension by partners or clients.

As a global market leader in the enterprise applications space - in the Oracle Intelligent Automation Solution we provide very practical AI and AI that is specific to the enterprises (as opposed to a broad spectrum of AI).  The solution combines a set of tailored automation and intelligent services that make it easier for users to navigate through all the interrelationships across applications, simplify the interactions, bring data and processes closer to the users.

Enabling digital transformation with “one-stop-shop for intelligent automation” and "true enterprise intelligent automation”

Customers' transitions in the journey to the cloud need to be taken carefully and Oracle recommends two phases here: "move and improve” - a low-risk approach that revolves around hosting existing a client's on-premise capabilities on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI); and "improve and innovate” - transitioning to the new, cloud-native and Software As A Service (SaaS) applications with all modern application architecture approaches. Both phases include a roadmap to digital transformation, while still utilizing protected, moved, and improved on-premise assets alongside.

Intelligent automation accelerates the path to digital transformation by eliminating barriers between business applications through a combination of machine learning, embedded best-practice guidance, and pre-built application integration and process automation. In Oracle Integration Cloud (OIC), we enable faster time to market, better business agility, and complete visibility across business process lifecycles where AI co-works with automation services to mimic activities carried out by humans and collects the data and analytics about these activities - and learns over time to do such activities better. With the addition of a range of automation-driven cloud services that also utilize AI: complementary Oracle Visual Builder (OVB), Oracle Digital Assistant (ODA), and Oracle Content and Experience (OCE) products – we are able to support "one-stop-shop for intelligent automation" and "true enterprise intelligent automation".

AI capabilities and advantages of Oracle

Oracle has built a mastery of AI, deep learning, and natural language processing within our conversation experiences tooling. Our integration and process automation layers provide, generation of auto-matching/mapping, recommendations for building canonical models, best next actions in workflow design, identification of patterns or anomalies on streaming data and predictive SLA violations, orchestrating Robotic Process Automation (RPA) bots, adaptive intelligent apps, machine learning service, and intelligent decisions. The hybrid architecture of the Oracle Integration Cloud (OIC) can support models that allow intelligent edge devices to communicate. A high volume of existing customers of the application integration layer – gives a vast amount of data for creating machine learning models. Oracle's application and SaaS market leadership can leverage end-users to efficiently generate, augment, and review the training data. Most types of reviews can easily be put into an Oracle Integration Cloud (OIC) workflow to receive a simple human annotation or judgment. Continuous feedback sets up transfer learning from a cohort of humans rather than machines.

The add-on value of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI)

We continue to invest heavily in its own Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and the portfolio of application and platform products on OCI, offering simplicity, security, safety, and cost. Oracle Integration Cloud and other Platforms Services in the Oracle Intelligent Automation Solution - run natively on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). OCI is a true enterprise cloud, supporting scale up as needed, highly performant, and for real production workloads. Oracle’s next-generation infrastructure (OCI) provides a set of native Cloud Native services that can be categorized into services for application development and operations services and services for observability and messaging. The Platform Service can leverage OCI services, such as Oracle Functions and OCI Events.

Oracle Platform Services in the Oracle Intelligent Automation Solution integrate with Oracle data management and infrastructure platforms. A great place to start in intelligent automation is not far from the database, a critical part of the organization. Oracle Autonomous Database automates routine database tasks, allowing focus on getting the most out of data. Oracle DB Machine Learning extends Oracle DB & enables users to build “AI” apps and analytics dashboards with its powerful in-DB ML algorithms and automated ML functionality, integrated with Python & R. OCI Data Science is a platform for building, training, and managing ML models on Oracle Cloud, making them available for apps and analytics and focusing on the collaboration of teams of data scientists in the enterprise.

RPA and Oracle Intelligent Automation Solution

Oracle Content and Experience (OCE) provides capturing of content and business documents with full-text indexing and intelligent extraction and allows to scan and import documents in bulk from an imaging scanner, from a business application or from an email account or monitored folder, reorganize them and classify, assign document profiles, automate their grouping, read barcodes, populate metadata values¸ create content capture workflows, give an uploaded document to the OIC process, associate documents with processes, provides a custom user interface for interacting with business processes. These are often major needs of initial RPA projects and can be successfully fulfilled with OCE.

Eventually, Oracle is able to partner with RPA vendors and have already some of their offerings on OCI Marketplace. Oracle Integration Cloud (OIC) comes with some of free native RPA Adapters - enabling third-party RPA bots to be invoked from integration flows, in order to access data from applications. Also, RPA vendors can be integrated using some of the technology adapters available in OIC (for example REST adapter).

Oracle Intelligent Automation Solution can complement RPA projects by helping to identify opportunities for automation, tidy process, and make it efficient (so that the RPA bot can spend less time on training), and help to track the progress of the RPA project. Oracle does not consider RPA as a centre of intelligent automation, rather as one of its components that has to be orchestrated by the Oracle Integration Cloud (OIC) alongside other components from content, conversational and web interfaces and alongside decision models, AI models, human and system components, milestones, dynamic processes, and integration composites. Apart from simple tasks - automation of activities, systems, and more complex processes will not be instant but rather evolve through levels of a changing relationship between the human and the machine – indicating automation high dependence on process and integration component of Oracle Integration Cloud (OIC). RPA market grows from the fact that task automation and desktop automation (of fewer tactical processes) - is the automation project that very often actually starts first. Enterprises already started to explore a broader toolbox to help them orchestrate true end-to-end processes and automate more complex processes that bring an enterprise’s customers, employees, and suppliers closer. Oracle Intelligent Automation Solution is a perfect fit for such needs.

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