Nic Gardner, a marine Technology Analyst at Thetius, discusses process automation and its various forms that are used in the marine industry.
rocess automation is the use of technology to automate repetitive tasks and workflows. Processes can operate independently and in isolation, but they can also interact with and rely on other processes, Gardner notes. Technology-driven process automation streamlines complex business processes by incorporating three essential functions:
- process automation
- information centralisation
- reduced human input requirements.
Types of process automation
Modern maritime businesses are increasingly integrating process automation into their operations. With the rise of digital transformation, organisations are turning to computer-based tools to streamline their workflows.
According to Gardner some of the most widely adopted automation technologies include:
- Robotic process automation (RPA);
- Business process automation (BPA);
- Digital process automation (DPA); and
- Intelligent process automation (IPA).
Robotic Process Automation
RPA automates tasks with software bots. These bots are ideal for rule-based processes, as they use a pre-programmed set of rules and instructions to interact with computer systems and applications, Gardner finds. With low-code/no-code platforms, business users can create bots with minimal IT support.
Business Process Automation
As Gardner explains, BPA optimises processes, then automates a complex and multi-step business processes, from beginning to end. It automatically initiates the next step in a business process once the previous one is completed. Unlike RPA, BPA integrates multiple enterprise applications and systems. In this case, removing intervention reduces the risks of personal workarounds and unauthorised changes.
Digital Process Automation
DPA is a newer type of process automation that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to automate more complex, lengthy tasks. Gardner expressed the idea that DPA solutions can learn from data and adapt to changes, making them more flexible and adaptable than traditional RPA and BPA solutions.
Intelligent Process Automation
Finally Gardner believes that intelligent process automation (IPA) is the best solution. As she explains, IPA leverages technologies including AI, ML, and NLP to combine the other automation types in order to automate tasks intelligently and efficiently. This freesworkers to focus on the more strategic work that only they can do.
Generally, industry parties believe greatly in the future of automation. In the Out of the Box report, Thetius and Lloyd’s Register found that the AI-driven systems and vessel autonomy market will be worth a combined $5bn by 2028, with significant growth and crossover of both sectors expected.