Intelligent Automation Book

Welcome to the World of HYPERAUTOMATION

Learn How to Harness Artificial Intelligence to Boost Business & Make Our World More Human

By Pascal Bornet, Ian Barkin & Jochen Wirtz

This is the first book on Intelligent Automation (IA). Also called Hyperautomation, it is one of the most recent trends in the broad field of artificial intelligence. IA is a cutting-edge combination of methods and technologies, involving people, organizations, machine learning, low-code platforms, robotic process automation (RPA), and more.

This book is for everyone – whether you are an experienced practitioner, new to the topic, or simply interested in what the future holds for enterprises, work, life,  and society as a whole.

“This insightful and practical guidebook is instrumental for success in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”


Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum

What do research firms say about the book?

Gartner  – “This field guide is essential reading”

HFS – “Masterful insight, this book is more relevant than ever”

Forrester – “This book needed to be written”

Everest  “A compelling case for Intelligent Automation (IA)”

What other experts say about the book ?

“One of the most important books of our times! A must-read for everyone who wants to understand how Intelligent Automation is transforming our world”

Bernard Marr

Internationally best-selling author and strategic business & technology advisor, Author of The Intelligent Company

“This book is essential reading for anybody who cares about the future of work”

Arianna Huffington

CEO, Thrive Global

“The book is helping us understand the challenges and opportunities that automation, RPA, deep learning, and artificial intelligence represents”

Dr. Kai-Fu Lee

Author of NYT Bestseller "AI Superpowers"

“Through their hands-on experience, the authors provided a practical guide to what can technologies achieve in businesses today”

Dr. Luc Julia

Co-creator of Apple Siri

What you will get from this book ?


Get the lessons learned from 100+ IA transformation successes (and failures)


Benefit from the largest publicly available library of 500+ IA use cases by industry and by business function



Gain access to insights garnered from 200+ IA industry experts

Key Content Of The Book


What is Intelligent Automation (IA)?

Why has the use of IA been expanding so rapidly? What are the benefits it unleashes for people, companies, customers, and society?


IA generates massive business efficiency.

How have leading organizations been able to harness the full potential of IA, at scale, and generate massive efficiency gains?


IA can significantly improve society.

How can IA save 10+ million lives per year, triple our global budget for education, eliminate hunger, or help protect our planet?

What Readers Say About The Book

“The most pressing question we face today - Is this time different? – results from the rise of Intelligent Automation. Read this book for a careful but refreshing, grounded but provocative, and cautionary yet hopeful perspective, not just on the future of work, but on the future of humankind.”

Ajay Agrawal

Professor at the University of Toronto, founder of the Creative Destruction Lab, and Author of Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence

"In this book, Bornet, Barkin, and Wirtz provide a unique connection between in-depth technological analysis of Intelligent Automation and its economic and social impacts on the future of work. A recommended reading."

Jacques Attali

President of the Positive Planet Foundation

"The book presents a compelling case for Intelligent Automation (IA), supported by data and historical examples of change. If you needed convincing about IA, this is absolutely the book to read."

Sarah Burnett

Executive Vice President, distinguished analyst, AI & Business Transformation, at Everest Group

“Intelligent Automation is here, it is real, and it is about to change everything. This book is a must-read for all who care about both business and societal impact. It has been written by some of the top digital thought leaders on the planet. Thank you, Pascal Bornet, Jochen Wirtz, and Ian Barkin!”

Frank Casale

Founder of the Institute for Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence (IRPAAI)

“This book on Intelligent Automation is a must-read today for any organization executive – for profit or not. It describes in detail the advantages of human-and-robot interaction, emphasizing both corporate, personal, and societal benefits. If you have not started to implement automation yet, this book can help be a catalyst for action. If you have already started your journey, effectively scaling automation programs will be the critical difference in winning in the Automation First era.”

Daniel Dines

Co-Founder, and CEO at UiPath

“Pascal Bornet, Ian Barkin and Jochen Wirtz’s new book easily tops my favorites this year. While we’ve all read the headlines, IA still seems a mystery in terms of its impact on our job, business, enterprise, and world. What I particularly liked is that they don’t just repeat the reassuring waffle of ‘new jobs emerging to replace old jobs that are now automated.’ Instead, they embrace the truth: Work, as we know it, will probably disappear. And yet, this book asks the questions that really count: What is our purpose in life? Is it work? Might not an automation-centric future enable us to get back to our real true purpose – to be more human? Could the end of work lead to a golden age of well-being? I'll be buying the first copies for my children so that they understand the future they are helping to shape.

Barbara Hodge

Principal Analyst and Global Digital Editor at The Shared Services and Outsourcing Network

“Automation is going to bring profound changes to our society. Intelligent automation is the roadmap for the best version of a more human future. A future in which technology is used to augment our humanity and strengthen our connection to each other and to ourselves. This book is essential reading for anybody who cares about the future of work.

Arianna Huffington

Founder & CEO at Thrive Global

"AI is not a magic wand. Through their hands-on experience of numerous implementations across industries, the authors provide a practical guide to what technologies can achieve in businesses today. I am glad to see that this book shows that there is no such thing as Artificial Intelligence but that it's all about us, humans, to understand and learn how to use these new, powerful, tools in order to get the best out of them."


CTO and SVP Innovation at Samsung, co-creator of Apple Siri, and author of There is no such thing as Artificial Intelligence

“A global McKinsey consultant, a high-flying tech entrepreneur, and one of the world’s leading academics at the frontier of business knowledge. These three authors came together as one team to write a powerful, insightful, and immediately useful book on the future of work, life, and society. Intelligent automation will change our ways of learning, working, and living. This new book shines a light into the future we will all be sharing.”

Ron Kaufman

New York Times bestselling Author Uplifting Service

“Bornet, Barkin, and Wirtz have earned their automation “street credentials” through years of helping clients gain benefits from intelligent automation. Therefore, they know of what they write; The authors meaningfully distinguish between artificial intelligence (AI) and Intelligent Automation (IA). While AI is ensconced with Hollywood-levels of fear and hype, IA is a realistic Wall Street-to-Main Street business strategy supported by a collection of tools to redesign knowledge work. The authors describe what IA technology actually does today. They cover tools like Robotic Process Automation (RPA), machine learning, optical character recognition, chatbots, cognitive agents, blockchains, and many more. Most refreshingly, the authors recognize that the implications of IA are emergent and therefore avoid naïve predictions. Instead, the authors refreshingly describe the extreme views of the future of work in an increasingly automated world and let readers debate this and decide it for themselves. I think this book will be a welcome read in any graduate business course on contemporary strategy, automation, ethics, or information technology.”

Professor Mary Lacity

Director of the Blockchain Center of Excellence, at the University of Arkansas

“This book needed to be written. Intelligent Automation is taking hold. An excellent summary and guide on how to make it work.”

Craig Le Clair

Forrester Research, Author of Invisible Robots In The Quiet Of The Night

"This book is an important exploration of Intelligent Automation and the future of work. It is helping us understand the challenges and opportunities that automation, RPA, deep learning, and artificial intelligence represent."

Dr. Kai-Fu Lee

Chairman, and CEO of Sinovation Ventures, President of Sinovation Ventures Artificial Intelligence Institute, and New York Times bestselling Author AI Superpowers

“This well-articulated book provides excellent insights into Intelligent Automation technologies, their early and potential applications, and their impact on work, business, and people. I especially enjoyed the sizing and opportunity sections. If you want to get a glimpse into the future of work and, more importantly, participate in building that better future, this book provides an excellent foundation. The world is at the cusp of unprecedented transformation.”

Alex Lyashok

Co-founder and CEO at Workfusion

“One of the most important books of our times! A must-read for everyone that wants to understand how Intelligent Automation is transforming our world and why this means that we have to completely rethink the nature of business and the concept of work as we know it today.”

Bernard Marr

Internationally best-selling author and strategic business & technology advisor, Author of The Intelligent Company

“In this thoughtful book, the authors make the indisputable point that the upside of AI on the future of work outweighs any downside. With AI soon to impact jobs in nearly every industry, the authors uniquely describe how this technology has the power to create a “real renaissance” for our personal and professional lives. The book provides a great perspective for any organization looking to understand better how AI will augment, not replace, the human experience.”

Asheesh Mehra

Co-founder, and CEO at AntWorks

“Humans are generally creatures of habit. But we are not made for repetition. The world of Intelligent Automation (IA) is giving us the opportunity to refocus on our creativity; it is opening us up to an infinite realm of possibilities. This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the different aspects of IA. The language is very accessible to anybody interested in the world of machine learning, robotics, and blockchain. It will help many of us rediscover our relationship with the concept of work.”

Sylvia Saw McKaige

Founder and CEO at Salween Group

“This book brilliantly demonstrates the full potential of IA to impact our society, save millions of lives, and conserve trillions of dollars. Anyone interested in these topics simply cannot afford to pass this book up! Reading it will help you to understand how IA has the potential to provide a real renaissance of our society… and how to implement it.”

Leonard A. Schlesinger

Baker Foundation Professor-Harvard Business School, President Emeritus-Babson College

"Bornet, Barkin, and Wirtz have been able to brilliantly describe and provide guidelines to maximize the impact and benefits of Intelligent Automation. They present this analysis at employee, customer, company, global economy levels, and even from a society point of view. It is rare to read a book about technology, which includes such diverse levels of analysis and reading. As an outcome, this creates a unique, complete and rich guidebook useful and accessible to a wide variety of audiences"

Klaus Schwab

Founder and Executive Chairman at the World Economic Forum

“In our world with a continued acceleration of transformational technologies, and the positive and hidden consequences associated with many, this book on Intelligent Automation frames crucial considerations for so many across all industries. Leaders of core technologies, ‘back-office operations,' and revenue/customer-facing business functions alike can all benefit from the authors’ articulation of how Intelligent Automation can -- and will -- in so many ways transform the global human condition.”

Prag (Pragnesh) Shah

Global Head Experience & Innovation at Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd.

“The Intelligent Automation revolution has already started and what we see now is just the tip of an iceberg. This book is right on the spot; the future impact depends on human understanding its values and capabilities to build the entire ecosystem that will change the world. The impact of AI and automation is the black swan of our generation. The book helps leaders and curious people to understand the situation better and redefine their approach to ensure the brightest future.”

Harel Tayeb

CEO at Kryon

"A must-read book that not only enables a deep understanding of Intelligent Automation but also presents its incredible potential to achieve a higher societal purpose.”

Tiger Tyagarajan

President and CEO at Genpact, and Board Member at Catalyst

"A powerful assessment of the promises and practicalities, Intelligent Automation is a timely guide replete with examples and advice culminating in a detailed, sane mapping of where all this could lead."

Leslie Willcocks

Professor at London School of Economics, Co-author of Robotic and Cognitive Automation: The Next Phase


Pascal Bornet is a recognized global expert and pioneer in the field of intelligent automation. He is passionate about the capacity of artificial intelligence and automation to make our society more human. Bornet is a senior executive with 20+ years of experience leading digital business transformations and creations. Over the last ten years, he has founded and led the “Intelligent Automation” practices, first for EY (Ernst & Young) and then for McKinsey & Company. These lines of business delivered high-impact results to corporate clients across industries through innovation, research, strategic investments, and cutting-edge technology developments. In these contexts, he successfully led hundreds of intelligent automation transformations at scale across industries and functions. He has also created and managed a proven track record of distinctive, innovative solutions, technologies, and IP portfolios.


Bornet is a recognized author, thought leader, lecturer, and speaker on artificial intelligence, automation, and the future of work. He is also an influencer on the same topics, elected Top Voice in Technology 2019; he has more than 300,000 followers on LinkedIn and Twitter. Bornet holds an MBA from the University of California Los Angeles, an MBA from the National University of Singapore, a Master of Science in Management from EM-Lyon/Saint-Etienne, as well as several certifications in Data Science and Finance (US CPA).

Pascal Bornet

Ian Barkin is Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer at SYKES. He is a globally recognized thought leader and veteran in the Intelligent Automation space. Barkin co-founded Symphony Ventures, a pure-play Intelligent Automation consulting company. Built in 2014, the company had more than 225 employees in 2019, providing cutting-edge advisory services in Intelligent Automation to companies across all sectors. Symphony Ventures was acquired for US$69 million in 2018 by SYKES, a NASDAQ-listed global leader in Customer Engagement Services.

Barkin is a seasoned leader and innovator in Digital Operations, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Intelligent Automation, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), and the Future of Work. He is the author of popular LinkedIn Learning courses on RPA and the leadership best practices in the age of Intelligent Automation. He has a proven track record of digital transformation solution development and sales of complex global engagements. Barkin holds an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management, and a BA in Economics and Psychology from Middlebury College.

Ian Barkin

,Jochen Wirtz is Vice-Dean MBA Programmes and Professor of Marketing at the NUS Business School, National University of Singapore (NUS). He is also a research affiliate with the NUS Centre on AI Technology for Humankind, an international fellow of the Service Research Center at Karlstad University, Sweden, an Academic Scholar at the Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures (CIHF) at Cornell University, US, and a Global Faculty of the Center for Services Leadership (CSL) at Arizona State University, US. Previously, Dr. Wirtz was the founding director of the UCLA – NUS Executive MBA Program, ranked #6 globally in the Financial Times 2016 EMBA rankings (from 2002 to 2017) and an Associate Fellow at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford (from 2008 to 2013). Dr. Wirtz is a leading authority on services marketing and management. His research has been published in over 100 academic journal articles, including six features in Harvard Business Review. He has received over 40 awards in recognition of his excellence in research and teaching. His more than 20 books include Services Marketing – People, Technology, Strategy (World Scientific, 9th edition, 2021), and Essentials of Services Marketing (Pearson Education, 4th edition, 2021). With combined sales of over 800,000 copies, they have become globally leading services marketing textbooks.


Dr. Wirtz has worked with international consulting firms, including Accenture, Arthur D. Little and KPMG, and major service firms around the world. He has been an angel investor in a number of start-ups, including Accellion ( exit in 2020), TranscribeMe ( and Uplifting Service ( Dr. Wirtz received his Ph.D. from the London Business School. He holds a professional certification in banking. Originally from Germany, Professor Wirtz spent seven years in London before moving to Asia. Today, he shuttles between Asia, the US, and Europe.

Jochen Wirtz

Key Contributors

Mohsin Khan

Samiran Ghosh

Sébastien Bourguignon

Francis Carden

Lee Coulter
Ralph Aboujaoude Diaz

Bernard Golstein

Thomas Zakrzewski

David Ashton

Mael Plougastel

Mahesh Panbude

Gaurav Sharma



The Industrial Revolutions started over 200 years ago, automating “blue-collar” work in the agricultural and manufacturing industries. They provided massive and structural benefits to our society, such as the reduction of famine and an increase in standards of living, and they relieved people from laborious manual work.

IA, also called Hyperautomation, is one of the most recent trends in the broad field of artificial intelligence. It is a cutting-edge combination of methods and technologies, involving people, organizations, machine learning, low-code platforms, robotic process automation (RPA), and more.

Officially coined in 2017 by IEEE, Intelligent Automation (IA) ushers in a new revolution: that of office work, automating “white-collar” work. Today, office work accounts for more than 80% of the job roles in our global economy, such as lawyers, financial controllers, or call center operators. Like the previous automation revolutions, we believe IA will have a significant impact not only on employment but more broadly on our society.

PART ONE of this book covers the promise of IA for a better world. Even though IA has only been coined recently, its applications have spread incredibly quickly, validating its promise. It has already been adopted by more than 50% of the world’s largest companies, including ADP, JP Morgan, Lloyds Banking Group, Netflix, and Unilever. The expected impact on business efficiency is in the range of 20 to 60%. It involves the significant improvement of the customer and employee experience and the vast enhancement of process compliance. These benefits are available to all organizations, across industries, and regardless of function. This book provides a comprehensive library of more than 500 IA use cases to illustrate our point (provided at the end of the book). In addition to being a key improvement lever, we also demonstrate that adopting IA has now become a condition for business survival.

We also demonstrate how IA has the potential to save over 10 million lives every year and realize $10 trillion of cost savings. Such a vast amount of money would allow us to triple our global budget for education, help restore our planet from pollution, or even eliminate hunger! On top of that, IA has the potential to bring the next renaissance to our society by changing the way we work, making our world more human.

PART TWO explains the technologies leveraged by IA. IA automates knowledge work by mimicking four main capabilities of workers: execution, language, vision, and thinking & learning (see Figure 0.2). IA combines various technologies, including machine learning, sentiment analysis, data management platforms, speech analytics, data visualization, image and video analysis, biometrics, intelligent chatbots, smart workflows, low-code platforms, robotic process automation (RPA), and several more. In this book, we explain these components of IA and provide examples of how they are used. When these capabilities are combined in solving complex end-to-end business issues, synergies are created, allowing greater benefits to be delivered. We also explain how these technologies integrate within the current IT landscape of an organization and how to build an IA implementation roadmap.


Figure 0.2: A roadmap of the key notions covered in the book, including the capabilities (Part Two), the foundation of a successful transformation (Part Three), and the enablers (Part Three); © Bornet, Barkin & Wirtz

PART THREE explains how to succeed in implementing IA. While impactful, implementing IA is certainly not a silver bullet. While it is easy to succeed in implementing a pilot on a limited scope, many organizations have been struggling to scale their transformations. Based on our experience of hundreds of IA initiatives, we have listed in detail the most important factors to enable organizational leaders to succeed in their transformations. In addition to these leading practices, the book describes four new trends that have started to help businesses scale IA. They are also levers that any organization can use to increase the speed and scope of its IA projects. Examples include the democratization of IA, the convergence of technologies, the symbiosis of people and IA, and the use of IA to implement IA (see Figure 0.2). In the longer term, expected innovations will leverage new concepts, such as the internet of bodies, blockchain, augmented and virtual reality, and swarm robotics. The book explains what these cutting-edge technologies and concepts will bring to the automation of knowledge work.

PART FOUR is about reinventing society and work with IA. Entering into the fourth industrial revolution with IA is not without risks. In our view, to prepare our world to effectively translate the key benefits of IA, our societies’ roadmap should include some imperatives. New skills are required for workers to stay relevant while working with IA. How are we going to make sure people’s skills stay relevant and evolve together with IA capabilities? In addition, according to economists, the use of digital technologies over the last decades has resulted in increasing wealth inequalities. Which mechanisms could we leverage to remediate this issue? On top of this, IA might have a strong impact on the level of employment of workers. A few possible scenarios are outlined. One involves more job roles created, while another foresees the displacement of a massive amount of the workforce. What are the actions we should implement today to get our world prepared for both scenarios?

What if we see a scenario where a large amount of human workload reduction happens? Considering this scenario in addition to the fact that, currently, 85 percent of employees worldwide don’t feel engaged with their work, the book explains how IA could help redefine work. IA could offer our society the opportunity for a real renaissance by freeing us from many of today’s tedious, repetitive, and unfulfilling work activities. The book describes how we could use our time for more meaningful activities for society, for our families, and ourselves. To get to this attractive future renaissance, we need strong support from institutions, governments, and companies.




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