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Stairway to Heaven or Highway to Hell: A Model for Assessing Cognitive Automation Use Cases

2023 , Christian Engel , Edona Elshan , Philipp Alexander Ebel , Jan Marco Leimeister

Cognitive automation (CA) moves beyond rule-based business process automation to target cognitive knowledge and service work. This allows the automation of tasks and processes, for which automation seemed unimaginable a decade ago. To organizations, these CA use cases offer vast opportunities to gain a significant competitive advantage. However, CA imposes novel challenges on organizations’ decisions regarding the automation potential of use cases, resulting in low adoption and high project failure rates. To counteract this, we draw on an action research study with a leading European manufacturing company to develop and test a model for assessing use cases’ amenability to CA. The proposed model comprises four dimensions: cognition, data, relationship, and transparency requirements. The model proposes that a use case is less (more) amenable to CA if these requirements are high (low). To account for the model’s industry-agnostic generalizability, we draw on an internal evaluation within the action research company and three additional external evaluations undertaken by independent project teams in three distinct industries. From a practice perspective, the model will help organizations make more informed decisions in selecting use cases for CA and planning their respective initiatives. From a research perspective, the identified determinants affecting use cases’ amenability to CA will enhance our understanding of CA in particular and artificial intelligence as the driving force behind CA in general.

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Deploying a Model for Assessing Cognitive Automation Use Cases: Insights from Action Research with a Leading European Manufacturing Company

2021-01 , Engel, Christian Thomas , Elshan, Edona , Ebel, Philipp

Cognitive automation moves beyond rule-based automation and thus imposes novel challenges on organizations when assessing the automation potential of use cases. Thus, we present an empirically grounded and conceptually operationalized model for assessing cognitive automation use cases, which consists of four assessment dimensions: data, cognition, relationship, and transparency requirements. We apply the model in a real-world organizational context in the course of an action research project at the customer service department of ManuFact AG, and present unique empirical insights as well as the impact the application of the model had on the organization. The model shall help practitioners to make more informed decisions on selecting use cases for cognitive automation and to plan respective endeavors. For research, the identified factors affecting the suitability of a use case for cognitive automation shall deepen our understanding of cognitive automation in particular, and AI as the driving force behind cognitive automation in general.

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Assessing the Reusability of Design Principles in the Realm of Conversational Agents

2022-06 , Elshan, Edona , Engel, Christian , Ebel, Philipp Alexander , Siemon, Dominik

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Moving Beyond Rule-Based Automation: A Method for Assessing Cognitive Automation Use Cases

2021-12 , Engel, Christian , Elshan, Edona , Ebel, Philipp

Facilitated by Artificial Intelligence technology, cognitive automation means to front and back offices what the pervasive automation through physical machinery and robots meant to production plants. Thus, we can automate tasks and processes that were unimaginable to be automated one decade ago. However, organizational adoption of cognitive automation is way below its possibilities, as this novel class of automation technology is perceived to be risky by organizations. This demands structured approaches for assessing the suitability of use cases for cognitive automation. Following the Design Science Research paradigm, we develop a method for assessing cognitive automation use cases. This enables practitioners to make more informed decisions on selecting, specifying, and embedding cognitive automation use cases in their organizations. For researchers, the method serves as a conceptual frame, which they can adapt to guide their empirical research or to use it for developing future decision support to shape the future of work.

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Opening the Black Box of Music Royalties with the Help of Hybrid Intelligence

2021-01 , Elshan, Edona , Engel, Christian , Ebel, Philipp

The ever-increasing complexity of the music industry and the intensified resentment of artists towards collecting societies call for a transformation and a change of behavior within the music ecosystem. This article introduces a hybrid intelligence system, that ameliorates the current situation by combining the intelligence of humans and machines. This study proposes design requirements for hybrid intelligence systems in the music industry. Using a design science research approach, we identify design requirements both inductively from expert interviews and deductively from theory and present a first prototypical instantiation of a respective hybrid intelligence system. Overall, this shall enrich the body of knowledge of hybrid intelligence research by transferring its concepts into a new context. Furthermore, the identified design requirements shall serve as a foundation for researchers and practitioners to further explore and design hybrid intelligence in the music industry and beyond.