AI can now help you get a leg up on tedious office work. Just ask Param Kahlon, who is developing teams of bots that can make life easier in the workplace.
Kahlon is chief product officer at UiPath, a pioneer in robotic process automation (RPA) software, which helps humans work with machines to automate aging software workflows.
Tasks like processing invoices, payroll and insurance claims can gobble up massive back office hours for employees jumping between spreadsheets, databases and email. Now, AI-powered software bots can open these applications and handle it all.
UiPath is growing in popularity among finance and accounting, accounts payable, claims processing, healthcare payer and contact center departments.
RPA aims to improve employee productivity to boost company services and save money. “We can help take the slack out of a business process. It could take hours, days or weeks and instead take minutes,” Kahlon said of the difference for UiPath customers.
UiPath has been early to harness the convergence of big data and advances in neural networks powered by GPUs to develop automation for office software tasks.
Founded in 2005, UiPath is leading the way in a workplace revolution for those handling rules-based tasks. It’s the type of work decision processes — if this, then that — that machine learning does extremely well.
The RPA market is expected to reach $2.9 billion by 2021, according to research firm Forrester.
UiPath raised a $225 million Series C round at a $3 billion valuation in September. The startup, which earlier this year raised $153 million at a $1.1 billion valuation, has secured more than $400 million in funding in total from investors.
Customers include BMW Group, the American Red Cross, Fujifilm, Japan Airlines, Korea Telecom, Landmark Group, NASA, Pandora, Thomson Reuters, General Electric and Equifax.
Starting AI Bots
UiPath can handle a sequence of desktop software tasks. For example, it can learn to produce a report in Salesforce so that employees don’t have to create reports. With UiPath’s Studio software, customers can use visual diagrams to describe how they would like to automate such a process. The alternative might be costly system integrations between software.
UiPath Studio also enables customers to record a series of desktop software steps taken by a human — such as logging into programs, clicking on buttons, using drop-down menus and typing into boxes — to automate the steps for report generation and other tasks.
The company offers a bot control center as well: Its Orchestrator software is a platform for managing and monitoring the bots a company uses.
GPUs for Bots
Behind the scenes, UiPath is using computer vision, machine learning and natural language processing to automate desktop software tasks of humans. It’s using image recognition of convolutional neural networks, for example, to understand handwritten documents for conversion into digital forms.
It uses machine learning for classification and data extraction within documents, based on a history of transaction data that’s been used for training.
UiPath is handling computationally demanding problems to deliver software automation. “We’re recording every keystroke and every click action, and we are using NVIDIA GPUs locally and in the cloud for training the models and for inference,” said Prabhdeep Singh, vice president of AI at UiPath.