Intelligent automation with Cognitive Automation Patterns

Ready, set, scale: Chart your intelligent automation journey with Cognitive Automation Patterns™.

New method enables automation across the enterprise

While 94 percent of companies believe that artificial intelligence (AI) is key to competitive advantage, only 1 in 20 companies have extensively incorporated AI in offerings or processes. Organizations struggle to understand how cognitive technologies can meaningfully impact how their business competes in a digital world. First, they must reimagine some functions, processes, and even operating models. This is complex.

This article offers a new and useful KPMG-developed methodology called Cognitive Automation Patterns™. Executives use this thought process and methodology to identify where and how to use AI and cognitive technologies to automate or augment knowledge work. They can use Cognitive Automation Patterns to visualize the potential effect cognitive technologies can have on their business and develop a roadmap for their transformation journey.

All companies establish and manage knowledge work patterns to document how they run their organizations and deliver for customer. KPMG’s Cognitive Automation Patterns are simple, repeatable knowledge activity and technology design patterns that can be the compass to guide using intelligent automation to transform the enterprise. Intelligent automation can enable new, radically different operating models. The greatest value comes from reengineering business processes and knowledge work.

Business executives and technologists can use Cognitive Automation Patterns to think about their processes in the context of digital transformation and identify advanced intelligent automation opportunities. KPMG professionals trained to use Cognitive Automation Patterns are actively engaged with clients to help them systematically identify, prioritize, and intelligently automate core business processes.

Common knowledge activity patterns

Gather input

Extract Compare Retrieve Classify Discover
Information analysis
Information monitoring
Information gathering
Information organization
Information dissemination
Foundational question

Is the required information in available data?
Foundational question

Does it comply with a rule/ clause/term/ regulation/law?
Foundational question

What are my best options or answers?
Foundational question

What judgment should be made from this information?
Foundational question

What are the conclusions from the research?
Interpret Comply Recommend Diagnose Conclude

Make judgement and decisions


This chart show 10 high-level knowledge activity Cognitive Automation Patterns. Each represents most people-and process-oriented enterprise decision-making activities. Most business processes can be represented as some combination of these knowledge activity Cognitive Automation Patterns.

Cognitive automation is at the next level. This is where knowledge work within the enterprise is either automated and/or augemented by bots capable of learning, reasoning, improving, and reaching conclusions much like how humans use logic and rationale. More advanced artificial intelligence technologies enable cognitive automation, including machine learning, natural language processing, and ontology-based reasoning. The fundamental difference between basic automation and cognitive automation is that highly definitive rules drive basic automation while cognitive automation is more iterative and probabilistic.

Early movers can gain a competitive advantage if they identify areas where cognitive automation can have the biggest impact and successfully scale solutions enterprise-wide. Read on to learn how KPMG’s Cognitive Automation Patterns can help organizations do both.