Intelligent Automation Trends for 2024

by | Apr 24, 2024 | Artificial Intelligence (AI), Intelligent Process Automation

The landscape of Intelligent Automation is rapidly evolving, driven by advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Low-Code Application Platforms (LCAPs), Process Intelligence, and Robotic Process Automation (RPA). These technologies are not only enhancing operational efficiencies, but also transforming customer service, shared services, supply chain, and overall business strategies. 

So, what’s on the horizon for the rest of the year? Let’s take a look at the big storylines we see unfolding in Intelligent Automation in 2024.

“2024 will be the year of convergence.  Multiple modes of automation will merge to form more expansive capability that drives C-Suite value.  Automation, AI, and Data will meet to enhance experiences but also complicate governance and solution design.”


Marshall Sied, Co-Founder at Ashling Partners

Intelligent Automation is increasingly a C-suite imperative

As automation rapidly evolves, business leaders and IT leaders must work together like never before to balance risk with speed and agility. 

Gartner highlights this collaboration in their definition of Hyperautomation: “a business-driven, disciplined approach that organizations use to rapidly identify, vet, and automate as many business and IT processes as possible.”

Adding AI to Automated Process Automation is an objective of most executive teams. A recent Bain & Company and UiPath survey found that 70% of executives deem AI-driven automation either “very important” or “critical” for the future of their industries.

AI craze of 2023 spills over into 2024, but with more pragmatism 

The buzz around AI continues, but more than ever, organizations are looking beyond the hype and honing in on practicalities that will impact their automation strategies. Here are a few trends we’re seeing in this area:

  • Enterprise sector investments are expanding beyond the hot topic of Generative AI (GenAI). In fact, as it’s now an accepted solution, isolated investments in GenAI are slowing — instead, enterprise companies are opting for large transformation programs that include it.
  • Change management around AI is emerging as a top concern for leadership. Only 36% of CEOs surveyed by Avanade have confidence in their leaders’ AI fluency. 
  • AI-related business gains aren’t consistently in the news just yet. For now, media focus remains primarily on AI policy and ethics. 
  • If 2023 was the year of Microsoft Copilot, 2024 will be the year of connecting it with specific business contexts to start reaping tangible benefits.

Multimodal Automation is both necessary and complex

In 2024, the most successful automation transformation programs will utilize a multimodal approach, integrating strategic combinations of Low-Code Application Platforms (LCAPs), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Process Mining, Machine Learning, and GenAI. 

While this approach enhances outcomes, it also increases complexity around policy, governance, and the software selection process. Program frameworks for discovery, process and capability design, data modality, technology selection, and support need to evolve to support the evolution of end-to-end automation platforms.

 “Multimodal isn’t just about different modes of data. It’s also about adapting governance and policy based on the business problems we are solving and the solutions that drive that resolution. It’s about considering multiple levers that define value that include both green dollars and blue dollars.  Most importantly, it’s about engaging all business domain leaders to impact true enterprise change.”


Marshall Sied, Co-Founder at Ashling Partners

Value Management and Process Discovery remain a challenge 

70% of respondents surveyed in Ashlings’s 2023 State of Automation study rated “value capture and realization” as one of their top three challenges. 

One important contributing factor is the siloed adoption of technologies like Process Mining. To realize value, organizations need to take a holistic view of their processes and use it to create clear objectives across the enterprise — not just optimize individual processes. Otherwise, key opportunities for value and cost savings will be missed.

Proven use cases fly off the shelves

There’s a lot of exploration, innovation, and breaking of new ground in the world of Intelligent Automation — but we also have a powerful set of proven use cases that are ready for implementation. 

For example, Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) is a well-established use case for AI that’s quickly becoming the norm for paperwork-heavy businesses. By now, this technology has been extensively tested and refined, so the previous risks of using new, untested technology no longer apply. The other side of this double-edged sword is that IDP is no longer a significant differentiator — in many industries, it’s required to stay competitive. 

In 2024, we expect to see more companies incorporating automation methods like IDP now that they’ve been proven to deliver value with minimal risk. 

Additionally, speed-to-value will increase with the use of more reusable assets and coding assistance for business domains like shared services, contact centers, and supply chains. This will lead to a greater focus on industry- and company-specific applications.

Intelligent Automation looks within

In the past, it required some manual work to keep automated systems running smoothly. But advances in AI and machine learning mean that 2024 might be the year that automated systems leave the nest and start managing and continuously improving their own workflows. 

AI-powered assistants that can respond to prompts (e.g. “Build an automated workflow for processing invoices based on x, y, and z”) will rapidly reduce the number of hours it takes to go from ideas to action.  This will only further accelerate organizations’ ability to implement new systems, while automatic, intelligent improvements will maximize ROI faster than humans ever could. 

That said, more frequent automation program audits and assessments will be needed to ensure quality and value goals are consistent.

“As the technology evolves, we must constantly balance value-added activities like building new automations with ongoing rationalization of existing automations to prevent a technical debt balloon.”


Marshall Sied, Co-Founder at Ashling Partners

The evolution from pure play to platform play

So far, standalone solutions have flourished in the Intelligent Automation market. This year, however, we expect to see a shift towards comprehensive platforms that include automation and AI capabilities across departments and processes, from employee onboarding to CX automation and beyond.

By leveraging a single, integrated platform for a wide array of automation needs, organizations can simplify their tech stacks, reduce complexity, and reinvest their saved time and resources into fine-tuning their chosen system for maximum ROI, as well as performing other business-critical tasks.

However, selecting a platform — or a combination of platforms — won’t always be a clear-cut decision, as capability disparities and licensing models will still be a factor.

The future is bright for Intelligent Automation

Advancements in AI and machine learning have been a shot of high-octane fuel for business automation, and 2024 may be a watershed year for widespread growth and adoption. Continuous discovery with an evolved multimodal framework will ensure programs continue to outpace expected value.

Tried-and-true AI and RPA solutions are now low risk, high reward for some use cases — and experienced partners can deliver amazing ROI and time to value to help businesses realize the full potential of new Intelligent Automation technology.

“AI is another form of automation- something we call decisioning automation.  With this additional automation capability comes additional controls and risks that must be addressed.  But so much potential is also introduced.  Converging these capabilities now rather than let them bifurcate for too long will provide a laser-focus value machine and prevent a classic business-IT speed/prioritization paradigm.”


Marshall Sied, Co-Founder at Ashling Partners

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