04 Feb Revolution in process optimization: KI.RPA researches AI-based automation
Software robots learn processes autonomously and execute them optimally I Trias of artificial intelligence, automated robotics and process mining I Project funding by the Federal Ministry for Research and Education (BMBF)
Darmstadt, 04.02.2019 – Robotic Process Automation is increasingly proving to be a key optimization technology for efficient, error-free and transparent business processes. However, the effort required to identify, analyze and document processes usually takes up well over half of the total effort. In addition, the overview of the actual variants of a process is often missing. For these reasons, the use of robotic process automation currently has business and procedural limits.
The KI.RPA research project funded by the Federal Ministry for Research and Education (BMFB) has set itself the task of changing that: started a few months ago, the project, which is planned to run for 2 ½ years, is pursuing a promising solution for autonomous process optimization. It is based on a unique technological combination of artificial intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and process mining.
The consortium leader of KI.RPA is Servicetrace GmbH, a leading manufacturer in the field of software robotics. Other project partners include the non-profit August Wilhelm Scheer Institute for Digital Products and Processes (AWSi), which contributes its expertise as a research service provider, the Process Analytics Factory GmbH (PAF) as a specialist and solution provider for process mining, the TU Darmstadt (Telecooperation Lab) as experts for the combination of AI and Process Mining as well as the Deutsche Telekom Service GmbH (DTS) as a practice partner, who has extensive experience with RPA projects already implemented in the company.
The way to a virtual employee pool
The goal of the project is to develop a tool that companies can use to create virtual employee pools based on robotic process automation, which support human employees in recurring routine tasks – without the limitations of today’s software robots, such as high configuration effort, rigid pre-given processes and low degrees of freedom in the process flow. “Servicetrace offers a unique holistic approach to robotic process automation to help companies to build their Enterprise Automation Journey strategically and sustainably. This project is part of our research activities to make the technology smarter and autonomous” explains Markus Duus, CEO of Servicetrace GmbH. For this purpose, the project team is developing a novel software system that records and analyzes the data and work steps of various end-to-end processes directly on the human interface, then learns the process independently – and then even executes it itself in an optimized form. A vision of the future could become reality: The closed system, which operates completely autonomously and constantly optimizing itself without intervention from outside.
“It is basically the dream of every industry: a technology that learns and manages on its own. With our process-mining tool PAFnow, which can be used at every digital workplace, we supply the data-based technological framework and, as it were, the Artificial Process Intelligence Core of the system” says Tobias Rother, CEO of PAF GmbH, on the role of process mining in the solution.
The core element of the tool is an AI, which is able to investigate the manual working steps of the human user with the input mask based on process mining technologies. The backbone of the software will be algorithms specially developed by KI.RPA based on deep and machine learning as well as a Process Robotics Engine. “Our research unites AI with process mining and has already successfully found its way to practice several times; This makes us very confident for the next level, namely the AI-based automation of laborious VDU work for business processes” explains Prof. Dr. med. Max Mühlhäuser, Head of Telecooperation Lab of the Department of Computer Science of the TU Darmstadt.
More efficient companies through better working conditions
In addition to technological innovation, the project also aims to give companies the opportunity to free employees from tedious routine tasks for more demanding jobs – and at the same time reduce costs, increase speed and reduce error rates. The underlying potential is enormous: As a rule, a software robot can relieve up to five employees of repetitive processes. Thus, man can devote himself to tasks that demand his unique experience and decision-making skills. “Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing classic office work. In KI.RPA, we develop intelligent, self-learning software robots that structure and automate processes. Companies are becoming more efficient, employees can work freer and more creative” says Dr. Christian Linn, Digitization Professional at the AWS Institute for Digital Products and Processes.
Billions in potential for many industries
The current market figures predict a worldwide market volume of around five billion US dollars for the year 2020 alone for the process automation in the IT environment (Source: statista, Transparency Market Research). There are also high-potential applications such as healthcare, sales and administrative processes. The solution sought by the project partners is aimed not only at large companies, but also at small and medium-sized enterprises, which were previously denied corresponding RPA solutions due to the cost-intensive, external consulting needs.
Further information about KI.RPA can be found under the following link:
Part of the project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), KMU-innovative funding line: information and communication technologies
About the project partners
Servicetrace GmbH (consortium leader)
Servicetrace has been developing innovative robotic solutions for 15 years. Today, Serviceetrace’s patented technology and future-oriented Robotics solutions are trusted by global players across industries, including many of the 2,000 largest companies in Europe. Servicetrace was one of the first companies to develop software robots and automation solutions. Today, the innovative robotics company offers organizations a completely new, holistic approach to robotic process automation (RPA). This enables organizations to set up and launch their Enterprise Automation Journey as simply as never before: www.servicetrace.de.
August-Wilhelm-Scheer Institute for Digital Products and Processes (AWSi gGmbH))
The AWS Institute for Digital Products and Processes (AWSi) promotes innovation and application-oriented research transfer on an international level. The main focus of the institute is the gradual and disruptive digitization of the economy and society. As an independent research institute, we work to develop new technologies and to think ahead business models. We attach great importance to the close integration of research, innovation and practice. www.aws-institut.de
Process Analytics Factory GmbH
Founded in 2014 by Tobias Rother, the Process Analytics Factory (PAF) is a global solution provider that democratizes and revolutionizes process mining. With intensive innovation research and development in fields such as AI, Blockchain, Predictive Analytics, Industry 4.0 and Robotic Process Automation, PAF ensures that work in data-intensive areas becomes simpler, more humane, more efficient and more up-to-date. As a self-financed company, PAF focuses on sustainable growth and is characterized by a particularly customer-oriented, trusting, innovation-driven and practice-oriented corporate management. The customers of PAF include digital companies, hidden champions from SMEs and industry as well as listed companies and corporations. With the establishment of process mining in a variety of work areas and sectors, PAF designs the working world of the future together with companies and their employees. www.pafnow.com
Telecooperation Lab (Technical University Darmstadt)
The Telecooperation Lab at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Department of Computer Science, is researching concepts and methods for people-friendly, intelligent rooms of all sizes: from personal cyber workstations and intelligent meeting rooms to intelligent cities and intelligent, resilient infrastructures. Our particular strength is our ability to combine different research areas to support smart spaces: advanced networks (eg edge computing and IoT platforms), applied AI (eg Federated Assistance and Process Mining), HCI (eg eg AR / VR and Tangible 3D-Printed) interaction) and cybersecurity (eg privacy and trust). Prof. Dr. Max Mühlhäuser leads this group together with several senior researchers and group leaders. We coordinate a doctoral school (DFG Research Training Group) on data protection and trust for mobile users, play an important role in the national cooperative research center for the Future Internet and carry out various research projects funded by the EU, federal and state ministries and industry. https://www.tk.informatik.tu-darmstadt.de/