Process automation: advantages and road blocks to avoid
Process Automation is an accelerator of software development, both on premises and in the “cloud". Companies from various sectors and dimensions are joining and applying automation concepts in multiple areas of the business. The advantages are many, but only the use of experts avoids the repetition of past mistakes.
Companies are gradually adopting automation with tangible results both in terms of revenue and profitability, as a recent Capgemini study notes, but also on business models change. In addition, the user/consumer experience can be hughly benefited.
Continuous automation is evolving to improve businesses, who are still based on the on-premises model, to deliver infrastructure and provide applications as if they were native to the cloud. This allows organizations to improve business agility, free up resources and increase the ability to innovate, says the same consultant.
In practice it is simple to understand the benefits. Gartner predicts that by 2024, approximately 70% of managers‘ routine work will be fully automated, consequently changing the role of the manager and workers, who will be able to focus on higher-value tasks.
Like many other areas of IT, process automation has also benefited from the acceleration of the digital transformation of companies, motivated by the contingencies of the COVID-19 pandemia.
Process automation advantages
Automation tools allow you to eliminate time-consuming manual tasks by changing settings or implementing new policies, allowing to:
- Reduce the hours (effort) required to complete operational, repetitive tasks;
- Reduce human error that can cause significant damage;
- Improve performance and response time;
- Increase accuracy and quality;
- Determine which applications are working correctly or incorrectly;
- Increase security by reducing vulnerabilities.
But, the implementation of automation must be done gradually, otherwise we can only accelerate the multiplication of errors or problems.
With the endorsement of the company’s top leaders – without which nothing can be improved – and the management teams directly involved, IT teams should ask themselves which processes, elements and locations benefit most from automation. Namely:
- What are the most valuable and time-consuming tasks in current operations?
- What processes can be automated quickly, considering the tools available?
Automation tools should enable IT teams to better understand and resolve errors, manage service quality, or task planning. For this it is necessary to:
- Identify and prioritize automation opportunities;
- Map legacy systems and data sources;
- Understand how to maximize value from investments in technology and automation efforts;
Inspire employees to engage in change and new opportunities presented by automation.
Errors to avoid in the adoption of process automation
Being a relatively recent paradigm with regard to the work developed by IT teams in collaboration with business people, there is already enough experience in the market to highlight automation errors that should be avoided. The benefits are obvious:
- Reduction or elimination of repetitive and no added value tasks;
- Increased efficiency;
- Saving time and money;
- Improvement of the quality of work;
- Increase in companies’ financial results.
Whether using the most advanced Robotic Process Automation (RPA) systems to map business processes, through low-code and BPM, DevOps, cloud automation or IT service management (ITSM), everything presents challenges.
The specialized consultants are aware of these previous experiences, so they can help make everything go smoothly.
Your organization should be careful not to skip a few essential steps:
- Define an automation strategy. There must be a plan, a strategy and its goals to be achieved, for the development of automation, to prevent operations from getting out of control due to lack of vision or management control. Thinking big, but taking small incremental steps is recommended.
- Create strong use cases. Before moving on to automation technology, companies must understand what the total costs are and the benefits that can be collected, to calculate an accurate Return on Investment (ROI). You can’t waste too much time with a secondary process neglecting the predefined automation strategy.
- Gradually automate. The process must be gradual, automating everything at once can – and will – go wrong. It is important to involve early adopters and create specific use cases in order to be able for them to disclose the results achieved.
- Don’t rush to get to the RPA. The benefits of RPA can be substantial, but one should not jump into this technology before understanding how to implement automation. Before moving forward, it is necessary to understand the process that RPA software will perform. These tools can be powerful if implemented correctly, but will be extremely frustrating and expensive to implement if the processes are not fully
- Realizing that automation doesn’t mean anyone can automate. Not all business users can automate processes. Automation, like any other software development, needs testing, quality assurance, production control. The end user should not at first create their own automations, as they may conflict with other automations and systems.
- Don’t rush to use DevOps. Companies should resist the temptation to quickly jump into DevOps, as it will be easy to create additional branches in code or cloud environments in the absence of specific control or a process for branch It is important that all teams use the same tools, otherwise it is extremely difficult to control, standardize and reuse.
- Involve end-users. Before automating, consider the impact it will have on the people most affected by the change. There may be processes working beautifully that do not need to be automated and whose automation would only cause problems. End-user involvement is key to ensuring that automation initiatives have a positive impact on experience, operational efficiency and, of course, costs.
- Go beyond technology. The principle ‘people, processes and technology’ also applies to automation. In addition to technology, it is necessary to take into account people and processes. The processes involve measuring the maturity of the organization in terms of tools, culture, automation and talent. Working with people is crucial to build the right automation culture, equips them with skills and knowledge to work in a new environment.
Porque é que a plataforma da Uniksystem é diferenciadora?
A UnikSystem está disponível para ajudar as empresas em todo este processo de transformação digital com toda a experiência acumulada ao longo do tempo. A UnikSystem disponibiliza soluções que permitem o processamento de fontes de informação não-estruturadas com velocidade e total qualidade, com casos de uso em indústrias reguladas como a Banca, Seguros e o Tribunal de Contas.
Pode começar por exemplo pela interacção em formulários móveis ou da web, caixas de entrada de correio electrónico, serviços Web ou outros aplicativos através de interfaces (API), com suporte de gestão de níveis de serviço (SLA) e notificações em tempo real. Disponibiliza ainda, em tempo real, a análise e os KPI para que os utilizadores os possam consultar em qualquer lugar ou dispositivo, podendo deste modo tomar decisões conscientes e gerir a informação do negócio com rigor.
A plataforma Unik foi projectada para suportar uma abordagem DevOps nas operações dos principais fornecedores de infra-estrutura Cloud com funcionalidades de auditoria de processos e dados de negócios, de forma segura e expansível com suporte aos principais fabricantes de tecnologia de software e base de dados.
Why is Unik Low-Code BPM Platform differentiating?
The Unik low-code BPM platform is available to help businesses throughout this digital transformation process with all the experience accumulated over time. UnikSystem offers solutions that allow the processing of unstructured sources of information with speed and total quality, with use cases in regulated industries such as Banking, Insurance and Public Organizations.
You can start, for example, by interacting in mobile or web forms, e-mail inboxes, web services, or application scans through interfaces (API’s), with service level agreement (SLA) management support, and real-time notifications. It also provides, in real time, analysis and KPIs so that users can read them anywhere, thus being able to make conscious decisions and manage business information accurately.
The Unik platform is designed to support a DevOps approach in the operations of leading Cloud infrastructure vendors with business data and process orchestration features, in a secure and expandable way, supported by leading software and database technology providers.
The Unik platform allows to:
- Create enterprise applications, visually, with great speed;
- Decrease software development time by 70%;
- Reduce costs by 60%;
- Moving from paper and Excel to a collaborative digital platform;
- Be able to operate in the cloud (Google, AWS, Azure) through DevOps;
- Extract data from documents with 100% accuracy and pay per use /volume model;
- Have an advanced workflow engine with iFlowBPM;
- Make seamless integrations (SOA compatible) with DocDigitizer, M-Files and LDAP;
- Take advantage of a secure, auditable and flexible low-code platform;
- Be compatible with leading technology vendors (Microsoft, Oracle, IBM);
- Have an SLA support level in line with the business needs.
Modules for multiple purposes
The modules have different prices to meet the needs of companies of all sizes. The requirements and needs from a multinational are naturally greater than the needs of a small business with few users or customers.
The Unik Low-Code BPM platform has (among others) the following modules:
- iFlowBPM: Workflow’s Version Control;
- iFlowBPM: File Manipulation (documents) and control;
- iFlowBPM: Workflows, Processes and Audit Trail;
- Data Capture & Filing Content with 100% accuracy;
- Integrations and External Data Sources;
- PaaS and DevOps support (MS Azure, AWS);
- Product Support and SLA;
- Business Solution Templates Options (Banking, HRM, Finance).
by Ricardo Barros – Chief Customer Success Officer @Uniksystem