Modern process automation platforms have become more robust, readily available, and easier to use. This gives organizations the tools in-house to transform the processes that drive their businesses forward. These tools also offer more control over what gets automated and how i.e. which process automation solutions should be deployed to meet specific goals and priorities.
But as with anything, if process automation initiatives are to succeed, organizations must be smart about deployment. In this blog, we offer a four-step approach to help you manage in-house process automation.
- Map and prioritize your processes.
- Identify which process automation solutions you need.
- Create a process center of excellence.
- Invest in the right process automation platform.
An opportunity not to be missed
With modern process automation tools, organizations can extend automation to every line of business, reducing reliance on manual, repetitive, and labor-intensive tasks across the organization. This can free knowledge workers up to focus on work that adds more value — for example, improving customer service — which can also be more interesting and fulfilling for employees.
However, many organizations have yet to take full advantage of automation. As Eric Johnson, Nintex CEO, explained in a recent interview, organizations are missing an opportunity:
“The reason we call people ‘knowledge workers’ is that they have specific expertise, but so many processes are still managed today in the same way they were managed decades ago. They’re still highly manual, repetitive and prone to error, so people spend only a portion of their time applying their unique expertise. Process management and automation free people up to bring more value, expertise, and creativity to the challenges facing their organizations.”
If you plan and manage process automation in the right way, you can make the most of this opportunity. Of course, with process automation software readily available and easier than ever to use, the temptation for “everyone to automate everything” can be hard to resist. But to be successful, organizations must take care to thoughtfully implement their automations — not just the what but also the who.
Choosing the right process automation solutions and platform to achieve your goals is essential. But beyond choosing the right tool, you also need to assess your current processes and pick a qualified team to achieve true process automation excellence.
A framework for in-house process automation
Here’s a straightforward, four-step framework for success.
1. Map and prioritize your processes
To get the most value from automation, organizations must identify their core processes and determine which to automate for greatest business benefit. This should involve discovering, mapping, and sharing processes, then setting priorities.
Solutions like Nintex Promapp give you total visibility and control over your processes. By identifying the people, systems, and stages involved, organizations can map their processes and understand both how they’re currently working and how they should work.
Once you have a comprehensive understanding of your processes, you can prioritize which ones are most important to help achieve strategic business goals.
2. Identify which process automation solutions you need
There are many types of process automation — each ideal for different applications. You should identify which one(s) make most sense for your situation.
- Workflow automation should be used for processes that call for collaboration, creativity, judgment, and decision-making.
- Robotic process automation (RPA) can be used to carry out manual, repetitive processes that follow the same path each time and don’t require judgment or decisions.
- Document automation (e.g. document generation, e-signature) can enhance processes that involve creating and sending out paperwork — for example, creating custom sales contracts, routing them for review, and obtaining e-signatures.
- Digital forms can replace paper forms, a common cause of bottlenecks and errors. Paper forms are still used by millions of organizations across every industry, and digitizing them can greatly accelerate results and reduce errors.
- Mobile apps are a great way to improve efficiency and provide convenience for modern users. Today, people expect to be able to work anytime, anywhere, and on any device. Mobile apps provide your employees with the user experience they’ve come to expect.
3. Create a process center of excellence
You need to create a team designated to carry out process automation. Often referred to as a “process center of excellence,” this dedicated and specialized team will manage your process automation initiatives.
The team should include process experts, usually operations professionals and/or business analysts. Bringing in experts from the line of business is crucial because they know the processes best and can pinpoint areas where business value can be gained. The team should also include automation experts, who understand the tools.
4. Invest in the right process automation platform
Pick an automation solution that provides the right capabilities for your priorities. These might include workflow automation, RPA, document automation, digital forms, and mobile apps, separately or in combination, so you might need an automation solution that supports all three.
Many solutions support only one type of automation, so automating your entire process might require you to mix and match among multiple vendors. Not only is this not cost-effective, it also adds unnecessary levels of complication. Simplicity and ease of use are key to implementing successful process automation initiatives.
It’s also crucial to pick a solution that is easy to use, i.e. one that doesn’t require developers to write software code. Most RPA solutions do require code. So, too, do most traditional business process management (BPM) solutions. But today, there is a new breed of software that offers low-to-no-code solutions. Nintex is leading the way, both in terms of ease of use and in its complete range of automation functionality.
Nintex is the complete package
Nintex is an easy-to-use, complete solution. From the initial planning stages to automation and ongoing optimization, Nintex has all the tools required to make in-house process automation a success.
Where Nintex differs from its competitors is in its completeness. Where competitors typically have one or two capabilities, Nintex offers organizations the complete package. Explore the different aspects of the Nintex Platform here.
To learn more about managing in-house process automation and how to identify which process automation solutions will best help you achieve your goals, get in touch with the Nintex team today.