Automate business processes simply and intelligently
What Is Process Automation
Process automation refers to the automation of (business) processes using IT support. In this process, data objects are controlled by an IT system and processed from process step to process step. In practice, this often involves invoices, vacation and travel requests, or approvals including further information such as file attachments. Process automation starts with simple input using electronic instead of paper forms and extends to complete dark processing. In the process, complex end-to-end processes are not necessarily automated, but rather often only process gaps are closed, for example via robotic process automation or data transfers using REST interfaces.
Demand for Automated Processes Increase
Since IT resources cannot keep pace with digital transformation, which in turn is causing data volumes to grow exponentially, process automation is an important topic for companies.
Process automation or workflow is nothing new to begin with. Workflow management platforms have been around for more than 20 years. What has changed, however, is the prioritization of efficiency and simplicity. The first is to enable anyone, the so-called "citizen developer," to automate a process. This means that so-called low-code/no-code solutions can be used to automate processes without IT specialists and without traditional programming skills.
At the same time, companies are increasingly faced with the challenging task of automating business processes in their entirety. This involves making processes independent across system boundaries with the help of robots (RPA) or intelligent technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Hyperautomation is the next evolutionary stage of digitization and automation and is supported by iBPMS (intelligent Business Process Management System) and process automation.
The Advantages of Process Automation at a Glance
There are different application examples for the automation of processes. On the one hand, you can automate end-to-end processes for which there is currently no or little IT support. Here, automation is often done using workflow management systems, proprietary systems (e.g., CRM, SAP), or even lightweight processes using low-code/no-code technologies. Examples include:
- Document receipt and digitization (e.g., invoice receipt processes).
- Release processes (e.g., generation of purchase requisitions, invoice releases).
- HR processes (e.g., complex onboarding processes).
- Incident management processes (e.g., information exchange in the event of incidents)
- Classic application processes (e.g., business trip application, vacation application, etc.)
Automation of sub-processes
On the other hand, it is worth looking at the sub-processes or sub-process steps that are manual, recurring, and/or time-consuming. In addition to low-code/no-code technologies, RPA is also used here. Examples are as follows:
RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is the use of software for process automation. Digital software robots take over recurring tasks that are traditionally performed manually by employees. These tasks are usually recorded using screen recording techniques (technology from test automation in software development), configured accordingly, and then executed automatically, usually on robot PCs explicitly provided for this purpose. RPA is often used where, for cost reasons, one does not yet carry out automation of the entire process or a renewal of the software but would like to make (partial) processes more efficient. Examples of such tasks are the transfer of information and values via copy-and-paste from one system (e.g., Excel) to another system (e.g., SAP). Avoiding errors in manual input is another argument for introducing RPA here.
Process Automation in Practice: With Arvato Systems, 5 Simple Steps to an Automated Business Process
Arvato Systems is your competent partner for all aspects of automating your business processes: We support you on your way to hyperautomation with process automation. Based on our experience from numerous workflow and digitization projects, we will show you how we support you in five simple steps to take the automation potential of your processes to the next level.
1. Identify & analyze processes
In the first step of the process automation project, we work with you to identify the processes with automation potential. This can be done, for example, through deviations in process key figures, known errors or performance problems in the process, or through feedback from customers and employees. IT documentation may be beneficial for better understanding.
2. Prioritize processes
Process automation is not free! For this reason, we recommend prioritizing the potential candidates for automation in advance and deciding which processes to automate and in which order based on this.
3. Document processes
Create documentation in TARGET for each process that is to be automated or optimized. In many cases, it is helpful to derive this from the ACTUAL model - if available. The documentation should include IT systems or IT methods (e.g., RPA, workflow management systems) and interfaces that have already been considered and serve as a blueprint for the following automation.
4. Automate processes
The first step is to set up the IT systems accordingly, if they are not already available. Depending on the approach, automation is then performed by IT-savvy staff, including testing, acceptance & go-live.
5. Measure the process
Although measurement is rather optional for process automation - successes should be celebrated! And that only succeeds when they become measurable. Moreover, metrics also serve as evidence of success to stakeholders and sponsors in your organization.
Process Automation for Citizen Developers With the Low-Code/No-Code Workflow
New technologies from our partners enable us to empower our customers to automate processes themselves. Almost without touching the source code, simply from within the application: With the low-code/no-code solutions of our intelligent Business Process Management Systems (iBPMS), an executable process is created from a process model in three simple steps:
Process documentation is usually carried out by our customers' departments with the support of our Arvato Systems process consultants, if required. We are also happy to train you in notations, tools and application areas, e.g., the implementation of quality management systems in your company.
Form and script editors enable almost anyone to automate the process. In the role of citizen developer, your employees can thus create their own smart applications from existing process documentation in no time.
Process release and process execution
Analogous to the release of the process models, the attached workflow is also published and can thus be executed immediately by authorized users. In addition, standard functionalities such as delegate, due date, substitute rules, and much more are available out of the box.
A Well-Coordinated Team: Our Long-Standing Partners
Intelligent business process management systems can be used to document processes, automate manual process steps, and analyze and measure processes. Steps that do not require human interaction are automated by software robots and decisions are made by the machine. At Arvato Systems, we are happy to support you in your automation project and rely on the expertise of our experts and consultants as well as our long-term partners: