Top Intelligent Automation Technologies that You Need to Know in 2021

Intelligent automation enables you to automate business processes from end to end, as well as contributing towards the acceleration of digital transformation.

And with so many organizations recognizing their potential, many are increasingly embracing and implementing intelligent automation technology into their business. 

But this technology is always changing and evolving, which means it’s important that you are able to keep up with the latest trends. 

To help you do this, we thought we’d put together this guide on the intelligent automation technology that you need to be aware of this year. 

But before we get into it, we’re first going to look at what exactly intelligent automation is and why you need to introduce this technology in your business (if you haven’t already). 

We’ll then share our list of the top intelligent automation technologies you need to know in 2021. 

So let’s get started.

What is intelligent automation (IA)?

Essentially, intelligent automation is not just one thing. Instead, it is a combination of robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. 

When combined, these technologies drastically extend the capabilities of business process automation, far beyond what RPA can do alone. 

And as we mentioned above, intelligent automation technology makes it possible to automate entire business processes from end to end. 

This means it spans the entire automation journey, following the steps below:

  • Discovery
  • Automation 
  • Optimisation 
  • Automating front or back-office processes
  • Orchestrating work for the integrated workforce (combined human-bot teams)  

Lastly, the combination of RPA, machine learning and cognitive technologies like natural language processing (NLP) means that intelligent automation technology can not only mimic tasks once carried out by humans, but they can also learn to do these tasks better and quicker.

Why you need intelligent automation technology

For obvious reasons, we’ve talked a lot about intelligent automation so far in this guide, but we’re yet to explain exactly why you need these technologies, and tools in your business.

So that’s exactly what we’re going to do now. 

There are so many great benefits of implementing intelligent automation, so below, we’ve pulled together some of the key reasons you need intelligent automation technology. These include: 

  • Intelligent automation makes complex business tasks a reality 
  • You can automate a huge variety of business processes end to end 
  • Using robots instead of manual labour can save on operational costs and increase efficiency 
  • Intelligent automation technologies can process and organize complex, unstructured data 
  • Over time, repetitive tasks can lead to human error, but when using robots, you can reduce (and possibly even completely eliminate) the risk of an error 
  • Being able to deliver results, products and responses faster enhances the customer experience 
  • Automation liberates employees. It frees up their time from repetitive, mundane tasks and allows them to focus on more important activities 
  • These tools can help to strengthen your cybersecurity and ensure compliance with legislation such as General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

And it’s worth noting that this list is by no means exhaustive. As more and more intelligent automation technologies are created, businesses and individuals will continue to benefit from them in new and exciting ways.

4 of the Top Intelligent Automation Technologies

It’s now time to look at some of the top intelligent automation technologies for 2021. These are based on what we believe to be some of the more important business functions and focus points this year. 

For example, right now, offering the best possible customer experience is vital for staying ahead of the competition – and intelligent automation technology helps to make this possible. Other important functions that these technologies can help with include: 

  • Digital and remote workforces 
  • Data handling 
  • Performance management 
  • Marketing strategies 

Many of these will be key priorities for businesses that are hoping to thrive this year. 

So, our top tools below will focus on some of these key areas. This will also help you to understand further why you need to implement intelligent automation in your business.

Digital workers

Digital workers have never been more important. Particularly as a result of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, with many businesses now operating completely remotely and working their hardest to continue serving customers and keeping employees connected.  

These automated team members are trained to carry out a number of processes much like an employee would, but faster and with less room for error. They can manage multiple tasks at once and can be trained to prioritize certain activities. 

This frees up the time of your human employees to concentrate on more important tasks such as building genuine relationships with your customers or clients.

What’s more, intelligent digital workers are also much cheaper than paying for additional staff, making them much more cost-effective. And as they operate through cloud-based systems, these can be used anywhere and can be scaled up quickly. This is crucial for today’s growing remote workforce.

These workers are revolutionizing the workplace this year and almost all businesses will likely use these in some way in the future. So why not get ahead of the game and start implementing digital workers in your business right away?


You may already be aware of chatbots and you may have even interacted with these in the past. But if you don’t use these in your own business this year, you could be missing a trick. 

When they first started, chatbots could only really deal with frequently asked questions or sending users to relevant pages on your website. 

However, as intelligent automation technologies evolve, chatbots are becoming more intelligent and now have a number of important business applications. Some of the most beneficial ways you can use chatbots this year include:

  • Allowing your business to engage with more customers 24/7, something that has come to be expected in the era of instant gratification
  • Intelligent chatbots augmented with AI capabilities can evolve beyond basic chat services and can perform a range of cognitive tasks. For example, natural language processing (NLP) enhances the quality of conversations between a bot and human 
  • Chatbots can handle a range of robotic tasks that would otherwise take humans hours to complete 
  • These intelligent chatbots can help companies to boost their user experiences by offering more personal scenarios. For example, selling recommended products online or onboarding new clients
  • Intelligent chatbots can actually converse with customers in a range of different languages
  • Perhaps most impressively, these intelligent bots can recognize when a query is too complex to solve and then re-direct the user to the relevant human professional

Now, this is not the full list of uses and capabilities for chatbots. However, using chatbots for any of the above could give your business a competitive edge in 2021. 

Text messaging applications 

Text messaging, particularly for marketing, can be a hugely beneficial tool for organizations in 2021. Therefore, this is something that a lot of businesses have been embracing recently – and you should do the same. 

Think about it, we often check our phones several times a day. Whereas we may only check our emails once or twice. As such, reaching people by text can be a lot more effective. 

Text messaging applications can now automate tasks such as sending out alerts or reminders to thousands of your customers or contacts at once. 

This can be a hugely important marketing technique, but more than this, it is a great way to boost the customer experience. In fact, 64% of people want businesses to use SMS messages more than they do to interact with customers.

With intelligent automation technology now pushing the boundaries even further, you can use text messages effectively and intelligently without having to put in hours of manual labour.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices

The final suggestion on our list is the Internet of Things (IoT) devices. 

When you apply RPA and various cognitive computing capabilities to the Internet of Things (IoT), these tools can have a big impact on your physical workspace. 

In particular, IoT sensors can now be connected to cloud software platforms. This means they can report remotely on conditions such as usage and temperature in real-time. This means businesses can control more of their office environment or workspace remotely. 

What’s more, these can trigger software robots that offer recommendations for operations and maintenance drawn from the data they have captured. This means that IoT devices do not just predict problems, but also prescribe a solution.

But what does all this mean? 

Essentially it means that you can monitor and maintain the performance of equipment without requiring employees to be present. You can also monitor the workplace environment remotely. This will have different implications depending on the nature of your business.

Summary: The top intelligent automation technologies 

So there you have it. If you’re considering implementing intelligent automation into your business this year, you now know which technologies should be at the top of your list. 

That said, we thought it would be helpful to do a quick round-up of the article. The key points you need to take away are:

Intelligent automation is a combination of robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that allow you to automate processes from end to end.

As such, increased efficiency, lower operational costs, enhanced customer experience, and employee liberation are just some of the benefits. 

They are also some of the key reasons that you need to implement this intelligent automation technology in your business. 

And as we mentioned above, the key technologies that you need to be aware of this year include: 

  • Chatbots 
  • Digital workers
  • Text messaging software
  • Intelligent automation combined with IoT devices

Related articles 

If you’d like to know more about intelligent automation and see some more examples of how this can be used in your business, check out our related articles below:

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