Over time, all processes need to be improved. Therefore, the question is not what process or use case to automate but how to do it – or rather, with what business tools and in what environment.
In part 1 of our webinar series, Automation Sensation, Forrester Research and NOV Rig Technologies highlight how to match the needs of your organization and business processes to the automation platforms in the market today.
Automation platform insights from Forrester Research
Craig Le Clair, VP Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, underlines the strengths and weaknesses of the different types of automation platforms and provides a decision framework to identify the best fit for your organization. Rather than “best fit”, which implies organizations should find solutions to meet their current-day needs, he explains enterprises should find the “future fit” by choosing a platform that is scalable to the organization’s long-term objectives.
Le Clair shares, “enterprises need an environment that will enable the business to be adaptive, creative, and resilient.”
Over the last two years, enterprises have seen exactly that – where their processes have allowed them to be resilient to market demands, or where manual, paper-based, and redundant processes have gotten in the way.
“Process improvement methods and technologies can help launch your organization forward while pruning portfolios of redundancy, technical debt, and nonstrategic capabilities,.” Shares Le Clair. He points out that not only does it return on labor costs, but improves quality of data, customer and employee experience, and compliance.
The 4 types of process automation platforms
Different platforms have their own origin and technological evolution, and therefore a set of unique strengths and weaknesses. So, what platforms work best with what use cases? Le Clair covers the importance of each and how it impacts your choice.
Embedded process support platforms
These platforms excel as CRM environments but struggle with extracting information.
- Operates in a single UI for employees that spend high percentage of time working in one specific platform
- Minimal system integrations – this platform works well if only integrating data and processes within that ecosystem
- Process improvement on this platform can be confusing (hint: not its original intention)
- Limited use case versatility
RPA/task automation platforms
Designed to use bots to alleviate highly repetitive human tasks; yet are rules-based and human-driven.
- Design platforms can be low code – building botflows in this interface is simple compared to other environments
- Needs central management. If managed well centrally, can turn into an enterprise solution
- Caution: recommend no more than 5 decisions in a process
- Needed mindset: a hybrid digital and human worker environment
Offer a user-friendly interface (no professional programmers, IT, or engineers required) to visualize processes and manage end-to-end solutions.
- Strong modeling capability and embedded rules management that support most use cases
- Works well with cross-system integration
- Designed for continuous process improvement
- Fast ROI – pick up and go solution for citizen developers
Transformational platform but typically focuses on one complex task (document extraction, machine learning)
- Strong in conversational intelligence
- Excels in extracting high-quality data
- Lacks general process modeling
- Needs an advanced professional developer
- Does every organization need it for what they are doing? No.
A rule of thumb for success
Possibly even more important than the platform you choose is establishing a Center of Excellence (COE) to govern your process improvement platform – and a strike team to manage it.
A COE is typically run by a “strike team” of citizen developers. They are the heart and core of the initiative and act as evangelists, guard rails, and design authority.
Le Clair asserts that “with a well-run COE, every dollar toward intelligent automation saves 10 cents.”
Nintex at NOV Rig Technology
Ian Hodgson, Quality Assurance Engineer, AM Global Quality Group, at NOV Rig Technologies shared his perspective on process improvement and his company’s automation journey with the Nintex Process Platform.
Hodgson loves doing things himself and doesn’t like to wait around for IT. He explained that his use of Nintex is as a citizen developer. “One of the qualities of my job that I take the most seriously is improving processes,” he shares.
Hodgson evaluated what processes were weighing the organization down via process mapping and found they had many use cases that could be automated or simplified using Nintex Workflow and Forms. “The biggest thing we have been able to leverage with Nintex Workflow Cloud, besides being able to automate our workflows, digital forms,” shares Hodgson.
Using Nintex, NOV Rig Technologies has streamlined previously cumbersome document submission processes. “Previously, paper forms were submitted with deliveries or sent in emails, and then manually shifted around before being entered into our document management system.”
As Hodgson and his colleagues have skilled up their use and experience with Nintex Workflow Cloud – they’re turning out revisions and new solutions faster each time. Hodgson estimates through process improvements with Nintex, his company has reduced roughly 30% of the time spent on document submission processes. “It makes everything cleaner and more streamlined,” he shares.
When pandemic pressures intensified the need for automation, Ian and other citizen developers at NOV Rig Technologies already had the process automation tools needed to support a digital work force. Here is a snapshot of the company’s process automation successes with the Nintex Process Platform:
- 58 processes mapped in 2021
- 15 citizen developers utilizing the platform
- 34 processes automated
- 7K+ completed executions
- 3 solutions implemented with Nintex RPA
- 9 more solutions are underway leveraging Nintex Promapp®, Nintex Workflow Cloud and Nintex RPA
Don’t miss part 2 of Automation Sensation on November 9. Join Forrester’s John Bratincevic and Williams Engineering Canada’s Santiago Gomez as they discuss the rise of mass digitization and share real-world examples of enterprise digital transformation. Register now.