In my career, I’ve been privileged to be at the forefront of numerous advancements in automation, especially recent innovations in low-code/no-code and artificial intelligence (AI). The surge of interest and investment in AI is palpable, but our mantra has always been clear: approach AI with caution and strategy, always seeking value and security over speed.
Recently, we hosted an AI-themed hackathon — a vibrant company-wide event where our teams and partners created numerous fully functional generative AI prototypes across work areas. The projects tested, and ultimately proved, many of our theories about how AI will radically transform the efficiency of our products.
The experience underscored the fact that AI and automation have the potential to bring about near-endless transformative shifts in business dynamics.
Possible changes that could unfold across four key areas in the future:
1. Customers integrating AI directly into their automations
When we contemplate the potential of AI-driven automation, the ultimate goal is to put the power of innovation directly into the hands of customers. We see a future where users aren’t just consumers, but active creators. They’ll be able to visualize a scenario and then use generative AI to craft an intuitive workflow. This will be driven by AI’s capability to decipher documents, extract data, and seamlessly integrate it all into automated processes.
2. Vastly improving customer experiences
With any new automation tool, there’s a learning curve. Traditionally, this functions as a barrier between the user and optimal productivity. With AI, we can find new teaching processes to flatten that curve and make the whole process a lot more enjoyable and user friendly. For example, an AI-enhanced helper is a personalized guide that ensures customers find what they need when they need it. This speeds learning while reducing initial frustration.
3. Using AI to optimize internal operations
AI is having a transformative impact on organizations. By incorporating AI tools into our fabric — from drafting help files to the intricate nuances of coding — we’ve ushered in a new era of precision and efficiency. And just like many other companies around the globe, we’ve had conversations about the possibility of AI replacing our jobs. However, we quickly shifted our perspective: it’s not about having fewer people, it’s about getting more done and more efficiently with the people we have (and will continue to hire). The goal is to accelerate growth through focus.
4. Utilizing AI directly in product features
Among the areas we’re most excited about is how we will be bringing powerful AI-driven features into products. Our recent introduction of a form generator is just the tip of the iceberg. By leveraging generative AI, the mundane can become extraordinary.
Let’s delve deeper into the fourth point. It’s pivotal as it promises to accelerate the time-to-value for customers, primarily as AI-based design-time features.
Automation caters to a diverse range of users: from line-of-business professionals and citizen developers to IT experts and solution partners. Current automation tools are employed to absorb process documentation, determine, and oversee processes, collaborate on workflow designs, and so much more. For nearly all these activities, AI features can be integrated to optimize user efficiency by leveraging relevant context.
For me, some of the most exciting areas of current AI innovation include process management, automation cloud integration, and app development. In all of these features, we’ll further reduce the need for manual generation and see monumental leaps in efficiency, embodying the very essence of automation. But as we leverage AI’s immense capabilities, it is non-negotiable that we ground ourselves in foundational AI principles.
Implementing AI responsibly
People at the heart of designs
We can all attest to the transformative power of AI. But AI-enabled automation is a tool, not the end goal. Every design blueprint, every strategy should be executed with the end-user in mind. By weaving the human element into your AI tapestry, you can ensure relatability, loyalty, and genuine impact. In our own products, when AI is used to expedite the design/creation of processes, workflows, etc. — our new AI assistants will always hand control back over to the designer — human-in-the-loop. AI acts as an assistant (not an oracle), and the human designer always has the last word and ultimate say in what gets published, tested, and released.
Championing transparency and accountability
Transparency isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a commitment. As we push the frontiers of AI, our pledge should be to ensure that every stakeholder — be it a partner or customer — understands the intricacies of AI tools. It’s about fostering a collaborative, informed ecosystem.
Governance and ethics
Governance and ethics should be an operational compass. In our AI journey, every step is taken with a profound sense of responsibility. We’re not just crafting tools; we’re setting standards, ensuring fairness, and preempting biases.
Safeguarding privacy and security
Data is the new gold, and its sanctity is paramount. Our foray into AI is marked by an unwavering commitment to data protection. Every algorithm, every tool is built with robust security, certifying the trust our users place in us remains intact.
As our journey into the nexus of AI and automation continues, our vision is underpinned by a blend of excitement and caution. It’s about seizing AI’s promise while staying rooted in ethics, responsibility, and human-centricity. The future holds immense promise, and we’re poised to stride into it, with a commitment to value and security for our customers.
Nintex Chief Architect Randy Grohs brings years of experience as a software thought leader in various roles and industries, ranging from crisis management to autonomous driving, to process automation. Along the way he has been granted 16 patents, and has been involved in automating many things, such as intelligent document processing, commercial printing workflows, emergency communications, and even in-silico drug discovery pipelines. Based in Boise, ID, USA, he enjoys working on the frontier of technology and collaborating with teams to bring new innovative ideas to life. Outside of work, Randy he loves hanging out with friends and family, playing music, skiing, or playing tennis.