Five things that can go wrong with process automation

Jan 18, 2024 | Automation


Without understanding the objectives, risk and compliance requirements, process automation is like driving a Formula 1 car without a steering wheel.

Digitalization is often interpreted as the automation of business processes but taking a focus this narrow can end in tears.

The market for automation technologies is growing at high double-digit rates, accelerated by the user-friendliness of the technologies. This drives automation projects into business departments, rather than IT organizations, and the role of the citizen developer, who can build applications for the requirements of his or her team without very deep IT know-how, has become widespread.

There are five things that can go wrong in this approach:

  1. You can automate suboptimal processes
  2. Selective automation of individual activities by specialized apps – without knowing the overall context – leads to islands of automation. This runs counter to the idea of end-to-end processes
  3. Processes extend beyond company boundaries and, without understanding the cooperation with your suppliers and distributors, there is a risk of process breaks and suboptimal management of supply chains
  4. You might miss new regulatory requirements that increasingly determine the requirements for process execution
  5. The decentralized development of apps and individual applications can very quickly lead to a tangle of technologies, resulting in high follow-up costs.

Process automation

Process automation is represented by a variety of different technologies: low-code/no-code platforms, workflow systems, intelligent document processing (IDP), robotic process automation (RPA), integration platforms, chatbots. Artificial intelligence has an increasing part to play in all these technologies. The combination of all these technologies is often referred to as hyperautomation.

Without understanding the overall objectives, performance and risk compliance requirements, process automation is like driving a Formula 1 car without a steering wheel. A clear alignment on the process goals and the integration into an optimization cycle are crucial for success.

Here are 10 steps to make sure these aspects are considered:

  1. Describe your business model in such a way that it defines the positioning in the market and the goals associated with the core processes, i.e. which processes focus on efficiency and cost control? Which processes are crucial for differentiation from competitors? What does differentiation in the process mean in concrete terms? (e.g., high delivery reliability, high product quality, fast throughput times, etc.)?

full version, originally published on 03/25/2022,  Five things that can go wrong with process automation | Software AG

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