PROCESS AUTOMATION OPPORTUNITIES ARE NOT ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM

Businesses are harnessing the power of automation to drive IT. This period may be regarded as the next generation of automation with Industrie 4.0 and large scale automation initiatives around.

Process Automation

PROCESS AUTOMATION CHALLENGES

Today, there is a wide variety of automation types ranging from the low-end screen-scraping and interface automation initiatives through to exploitation of Machine Learning and AI.
The challenge has been and remains the skill of determining what to automate and how to automate it to produce a pipeline of automations.
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    THE PROCESS ITSELF

    A very common challenge in the industry is a near-sighted view to automate specific processes that are well defined and well understood. This occurs when people look at specific problems and determine that the problem can be easily automated; this is seemingly a good strategy as it targets well understood processes directly. However, there are a number of potential pitfalls in this. Firstly, the going in assumption is that in automation terms the process itself is correct and the bounds of the automation are correct; this is often incorrect.

  • RECOGNISING THE RIGHT AUTOMATION CHARACTERISTICS

    A lot of organisations are undertaking automation initiatives using specific technologies, RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is probably the most common of the automation stategies. There is quite a lot of shoehorning of problems into specific technology solutions and the success rate is much lower than it should be because of this. Also, there is a risk that the automation is not effective because the number of edge cases and complexity in automating those edge cases.

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    HAVING THE RIGHT AUTOMATION TOOLS & TECHNOLOGIES

    When recognising the right automation characteristics it is important to have the right tools to automate the problems identified. To go with the characteristics of automation there are specific tools and technologies that are best suited to certain types of automation. It is important to have the right tools available to support the different problem characteristics, there is certainly no one-size fits all. Therefore, when different problem characteristics are recognised, it is important that the right tools for the job are employed to make automation effective.

  • VALUE FOR MONEY AND THE EFFECT OF DIMINISHING RETURNS

    The intrinsic benefits of automation are primarily about lower cost for the same outcome, speed, and to some extent the automation providing more surety around delivering said outcome. However, this is not always modelled in initiatives and seemingly worthwhile automations are sometimes found to not deliver the benefits they are assumed to accrue. The alternative to automation is typically human execution and this has certain characteristics and costs involved. In some cases the payback for automation takes so long it is unlikely to be worth it.

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    AUTOMATION APPROACH

    The approach towards automation depends on an organisation’s motivation to explore automation opportunities. For some organisations, achieving cost reduction could be the primary motive. For these organisations, automating offshore processes would not yield in higher cost savings, however higher cost savings can be anticipated by automating onshore processes. For some, the main focus could be to improve data quality through automation.

Interested to find out how these challenges can be solved?


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    Glue Reply is the Reply Group Company specialising in IT architecture, integration and data solutions that drive business value. Pragmatic in its approach, Glue Reply provides independent advice on the technology solutions that achieve clients’ business objectives.