Is AI automation? or, is automation AI?

04.07.2021 | By Mark Speyers

Ah, yes, the age-old (or very recent…) questions: Are artificial intelligence (AI) and automation the same thing? How are they different? Is automation a result of AI? There’s not a simple answer to clearing this up. But, as AI becomes a critical part to your digital transformation strategy, it’s important to understand how it stands on its own and how it works with other technologies. And, even more important, how does it work with your IT service management approach.

Adopting AI leads to automation throughout your organization that can result in consistency, repeatability, and speed in performing tasks. The promise of improving efficiency and throughput while at the same time reducing the burden of tedious, repetitive tasks on people’s time, AI adoption can lead to more creative, strategic, or complex work that today often gets ignored or put off. So, of course, this technology has great appeal to many organizational leaders.

The term artificial intelligence, or ‘AI’, is often used in multiple contexts. And, while AI is very specific, it is often broadly used to describe many related technologies, like:

  • Automation – Technology that executes a task with minimal or no human interaction or assistance.
  • Orchestration – Often conflated with automation, orchestration is automating many tasks together.
  • Machine learning – Computer algorithms that improve automatically through use and experience.
  • Virtual Assistant – With advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP), they Interact with users more human-like offering higher efficiency and accuracy to complete any given task.
  • AIOps – The application of big data and machine learning to automate IT operations processes.
  • Big Data – Typically the target of machine learning, big data refers to large and complex datasets that cannot be dealt with using traditional means.

Perhaps the backbone of AI technologies is automation. Automation is a technology that performs defined tasks with minimal or no human interaction or assistance from humans. Simply put, automation is often the core element of leveraging AI within an organization.

The use and promise of AI-related technologies are seemingly unlimited. AI can be used to automate and orchestrate the execution of value streams, such as the onboarding of a new employee. AI can even help people make better decisions, because AI can manage and interpret large sets of (often disparate) data, helping people make fact-based decisions.

But how should an organization get started with AI? How can IT organizations take advantage of AI capabilities? What are some use cases for introducing and leveraging AI within an organization?

Tim Lawes

Senior Manager, Solutions Consulting at SymphonyAI Summit

Latest Insights