How Does AI and Machine Learning Fit Into Low Code/No Code and Process Automation Environments?

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Gregg Rock interviews George Barlow in April 2022. 

We are especially excited to let folks know that George is going to be presenting two of our newest courses that are part of the Digital Transformation Specialist series in our Summer Session 1 Training Event.

GR: So, George, earlier in this interview, you mentioned Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and I still think there's confusion within the BPM Community or with folks that maybe have not started adopting those technologies yet. So, I was hoping you could help our Members sort through what it is they need to know, what role those technologies are going to play, and how do they learn a little bit more about the current state of the art.

GB: Well, it seems like everybody's jumping on the AI, ML bandwagon. So AI is Artificial Intelligence, ML is Machine Learning and most people call it AI ML, or just ML.

There's a whole category, for example, of Low Code/No Code products that have appeared in the past 18 to 24 months that are allocated to data science and Machine Learning for No Code people. Think about that: This can be used by people like artists, teachers, and management and roles like that. Now, they're limited functionality, but you're able to build things quickly with drag and drop (No Code), so instead of creating the typical model where there's five or six steps in a traditionally AI process, you can really get it down to two: you can say “okay, here's the information about my data, here's my data—figure it out machine learning”, and many of these vendors are able to give you some pretty good stuff with just about that much effort—a spreadsheet and a goal.

Now, one of the interesting things to look at is the convergence that's happening here in the industry. Everybody wants to play in the AI ML space because it's hot. Once upon a time, everyone wanted to be in the BPM space, because there was that. So, the more things change, the more they stay the same, of course.

But let me give you a couple examples. So, UiPath, which is an RPA company and very successful one, has already begun making a whole new category of Low Code/No Code tools dedicated to things like intelligent document processing. Now, you may ask “what the heck is that?”, well, it's pretty interesting. What they do is they use AI to learn how to do things by watching the user process the documents, so the AI actually learns by simply watching, if you will, the actions and the fields and so forth in a document that are done by a user. So, you're training this machine language AI by just doing, and that's pretty interesting. But, you can see the convergence and they've got lots of things that they're offering in the ML space.

Celonis is another example, now here's a very successful and exciting process mining company. And they're doing all kinds of things in the machine learning area as well. For instance, everybody knows the problem with messy data, I mean ETL is a whole business all on its own. So, being able to use machine learning to see and understand patterns in the data and actually be able to clean up messy data from multiple sources is a pretty interesting use of machine language. Another thing they're doing is discovering and highlighting hidden friction points in processes; things that aren't intuitive to humans may very well be quite obvious to pattern recognition and machine learning. And then another thing Celonis is doing is actually recommending the best next action in the discovery of processes, so these learning tools are saying ‘well here's what we think you ought to do next’ which is pretty interesting.

GR: I think for those who have a solid foundation in BPM, it’s going to continue to serve them well to incorporate some of these new enabling technologies to better serve customers and make organizations more efficient. It’s where we’re going in the near future.

Relevant Courses: Process Automation Approaches: Working with Hyperautomation, Process Mining, RPA, and BPMN Automation & Low Code/No Code: The Good, The Bad and The Challenging

Relevant Specialist Certificate: Digital Transformation Specialist Certificate

Relevant Training Event: Summer Session 1


Editor’s Note: This is a five-part article and video series.

Watch the entire Need to Know: Digital Transformation video series

Read the other articles in the series here: 

Article 1: What do BPM Practitioners Need to Know about Low Code/No Code?

Article 2: What is the Current State of Process Automation? 

Article 4: What is the Triple Crown of Modeling? BPMN, DMN, & CMMN Explained. 

Article 5: What Strikes You as Most Significant About the Migration to Cloud Computing?


Want to be featured in the next Need to Know series to share your expertise? Get in touch - we'd love to hear from you. 


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