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Introduction to Cognitive Automation

Everyone’s heard of robotic process automation (RPA), and nearly everyone is doing it. Sales of RPA software between 2016 and 2022 is predicted to rise at an astounding 57 per cent yearly rate at a time when enterprise software budgets are growing at just 4.1 per cent annually. But one aspect of RPA is raising corporate eyebrows even higher. Cognitive automation. Almost half of enterprises implementing RPA in the next six months will be doing so with cognitive capabilities. But what is cognitive automation? Confusion abounds, especially as it relates to artificial intelligence (AI)—another term that is bandied about fairly frequently these days.


What is cognitive automation?

Deloitte defines cognitive automation as a subset of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that mimic human behavior: IBM takes that definition and adds to it, defining cognitive automation as differing from AI in how it is used: Combine these two definitions together, you see that cognitive automation is a subset of artificial intelligence—using specific AI techniques that mimic the way the human brain works—to assist humans in making decisions, completing tasks, or meeting goals.

“At Automation Anywhere, we thus think of cognitive automation as bridging the gap between traditional RPA and full-blown AI.”


What can RPA plus cognitive capabilities do?

Conventional RPA automates standard and easily repeatable tasks that involve processing highly structured data, such as that found in relational databases or spreadsheets. A good candidate for RPA would be processing payroll or sending invoices to customers based on standardized data input from applications or forms. Cognitive automation, on the other hand, is capable of automating more complex tasks based on semistructured or unstructured data.

For example, a software robot (commonly called a bot) could use natural language processing to look at unstructured data in customer service emails — say, a customer asking for the status of an order —to send automated emails back. Since the amount of unstructured data in the world is much greater than structured (79.2 per cent compared to 20.8 per cent) — and growing much faster — cognitive automation is a welcome addition to traditional RPA.


Accelteam believes that any company can operate with unprecedented productivity when they have the most intelligent and intuitive robotic process automation platform. Adding cognitive capabilities to robotic process automation (RPA) is the biggest trend in business process automation since RPA In fact, for the past two decades, Accelteam has been one of the leaders in providing robotic process automation (RPA) throughout the region. If you would like to learn more about Cognitive Automation, please reach out to us at