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CTO Insights: How Kryon Tackled the Challenge of Process Discovery

Posted by Nathaniel Davidson on Jan 30, 2019 1:22:45 PM

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The product of Kryon Process Discovery™ is so new and groundbreaking that sometimes it’s easy to forget that the idea of Process Discovery has actually been with us for decades. Those in the fields of artificial intelligence and process management have long speculated on ways to automatically identify work processes and streamline the process of automating them.

But until 2018, no RPA provider had created such a product.

There were process mining solutions that could identify and evaluate processes, but these solutions had never reached Kryon Process Discovery’s full potential in terms of speed, flexibility, ease of use, and – perhaps most importantly – the ability to automatically create automation workflows.

Why not? And why is Kryon the first company to do it successfully?

The answer to both questions is surprisingly simple: computer vision. By leveraging our unmatched computer vision, Kryon has created a solution that:

  • Works more quickly than process mining solutions.
  • Is easier to use.
  • Automatically creates fully functional workflows enabling software robots to perform each of the identified processes.

The story of how Kryon managed to utilize its technology to overcome the thorny challenge of Process Discovery is really the story of our company. It starts a decade ago, with our roots in Attended Automation (which, back then, we called “Performance Support”).

Kryon was founded in 2008 as a company that focused on Attended Automation. From the beginning, we prioritized the development of computer vision technologies that would enable our Attended Automation solution to offer unmatched levels of user-friendliness, efficiency, and flexibility. In 2014, we added Unattended Automation to our offering, while maintaining our belief in the promise of computer vision and continuing to move our technology forward. Two years later, we introduced our Hybrid Automation solution, in which attended (desktop-based) robots work in conjunction with unattended (virtual-machine-based) robots – both types of robots coming fully equipped with our computer vision technology.

By the time we released Kryon Process Discovery last year, we had been on the cutting edge of computer vision and its automation-related applications for a decade. We had successfully leveraged that technology to build three useful RPA solutions for businesses across industries and around the world. But we had never overcome a challenge as daunting, complicated, and – most of all – exciting as Process Discovery.

Here is a look at a few of the ways the technological pedigree we developed over our first 10 years prepared Kryon to make the leap into Process Discovery:

One-click process recording

Whether working with attended or unattended robots, many RPA providers require users to build their automation workflows line by line. This way, the user lays out the logic of the process explicitly and essentially tells software robots what to do. It’s an approach that gives the user a great deal of control over each process, but it is time-consuming and resource-intensive.

From the beginning, Kryon’s approach has always been different, emphasizing computer vision as the key to intuitive and user-friendly process creation.

Instead of requiring users to build automation scenarios manually, we allow them to simply click a Record button and perform a process as they normally would. Then, our robots use their computer vision to record the process according to the actions performed on the screen. The result is a fully functional automation workflow that the customer can fine-tune before assigning robots to start performing it.

While this capability allows users with no technical background to quickly and easily automate work processes, this is not the only practical advantage it offers. We at Kryon saw that the technology behind one-click process recording involved not only recording actions performed on the user’s screen, but also analyzing these actions to extract their logic through advanced artificial intelligence. More importantly, we saw that this technology could be used as the cornerstone for a visually driven Process Discovery solution.

Today, Kryon Process Discovery relies on technology remarkably similar to our one-click recording capability. It’s no coincidence that the leader in visual process recording is now also the leader in computer-vision-powered process discovery.

Unique character recognition capabilities

It is notable how far optical character recognition (OCR) technologies have come and how effectively they work. The leading commercially available platforms can glean text remarkably well from PDFs and printed pages. These capabilities can be useful for RPA within many industries, enabling robots to process paperwork such as invoices.

But while these products can work smoothly with text in print, they have a far more difficult time reading from computer screens. Consider that printed pages typically have a resolution of 300 to 600 dots per inch (DPI) or greater, while computer screens typically have a resolution of 96 DPI or less.

To overcome the challenge of reading text from a computer screen, Kryon developed a unique algorithm in-house that can detect letters with a thickness as small as a single pixel. Our algorithm has achieved virtually 100% accuracy, and it is compatible with the Latin alphabet, right-to-left languages, and Asian languages.

It is not hard to see why our OCR algorithm would be useful for our Attended, Unattended, and Hybrid automation solutions, as it vastly expands the usefulness and reliability of our one-click recording capability. It allows users to record a process involving text in virtually any language, without needing to worry that their text could be misinterpreted by an OCR product designed for printed text.

This technology is also a core capability that we incorporated into Process Discovery. Just like our users have long been able to record processes involving text quickly and easily, today Process Discovery can gather textual data right off the user’s computer screen. Then, Kryon uses this information both to identify processes with amazing accuracy and to create automation workflows enabling software robots to perform these tasks reliably.

In short, our unparalleled OCR algorithm increases the usefulness of our visual approach to automation – the approach at the heart of Kryon Process Discovery.

Consistent performance on visually diverse platforms

Another hurdle to making an RPA solution rely on computer vision instead of software integrations is the reality that a single platform or application can appear very differently on different machines. For instance, employees at a large company may use a single program – such as Word or Chrome – on a variety of computers running macOS Sierra, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10. On top of that, each computer may have a different screen size, and some users may use multiple screens.

How can robots perform the same task in the same way for all these employees? How can they achieve the 98 to 99 percent accuracy that we at Kryon consider to be the bare minimum? And how can we enable our enterprise customers to use one-click recording to create an automation workflow that’s suitable for all employees’ computers?

For RPA solutions that take a visual approach like Kryon’s, even the most advanced computer vision doesn’t on its own guarantee that robots will run accurately in such a visually diverse set of environments. Instead, Kryon robots gather and analyze visual data, extract the logic behind each process, and build that logic into their automation workflows.

This ability to use artificial intelligence to extract the logic behind a complex process is a key part of all of our RPA solutions. This has been our approach since the days when Attended Automation was our only product, and it is one of the main factors making our visual approach to automation so flexible and successful.

But – as our team realized – our Attended, Unattended, and Hybrid automation solutions are not the only ways we can make use of our innovative approach to finding the logic behind a business process. Rather, we could apply the same kind of technology to automatically analyze data collected from employees’ computers and identify the processes performed by those employees.

And that’s exactly what our team did.

Today, the technology behind Kryon’s logic extraction capability is at work in Process Discovery, helping our robots turn raw visual data into a breakdown of a company’s processes and an automation workflow for each one of them.

The Big Picture

Much has changed in the decade since Kryon’s founding. We have expanded our offering from one RPA product to four. Our technology has progressed and diversified, our team has grown, and our customer base has multiplied. But we have never stopped building automation solutions that utilize computer vision to address the real challenges facing real businesses.

That visual approach – along with the technological building blocks it has yielded – is at the heart of our newest product: Kryon Process Discovery.

Today, we are more convinced than ever of our belief in the ability of cutting-edge computer vision to address the automation needs of a wide variety of companies. More importantly, we continue working every day to develop technologies that prove that belief right.

 

This is the latest in a series of posts from our Chief Technology Officer, in which he shares his insights into the technological challenges of RPA, the ways Kryon addresses them, and how companies across industries can make the most of our innovative technologies.

Want to see Kryon’s computer-vision-powered RPA and Process Discovery solutions in action? Request a live demo today.

Topics: Process Discovery


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