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The Race to Digital Starts with Workflow and Content Automation

Aragon Research CEO Jim Lundy is a speaker at Nintex InspireX 2017; his session The Race to Digital Starts with Workflow and Content Automation” takes place on February 15th from 10:30a-12p CT.

Is Your Industry Going to be Uberized?

Perhaps the biggest fear facing established enterprises right now is the possibility of being rendered obsolete by a disruptive, rival company – one that upends its business model in favor of something more automated, that does a better job faster and for less money, and then passes that convenience and savings on to the customer. Uber, here, is the obvious example, but Netflix and Amazon also come to mind.

Businesses today are scared to death of being ‘uberized’.

The natural response, as we see it, is to transform first. Evolving your business from analog processes to digital, automated and streamlined processes is essential in an increasingly digital world. Business leaders are realizing that technology is a weapon and if they can utilize it better than their competitors, they can gain an advantage and perhaps grow faster, sell faster, or have better customer service.

In other words: technology can and should be leveraged to help a business stay competitive.

Digital workflows and automated document generation are both crucial to such a transformation, as is real-time analytics generated by these workflows to give you the required operational visibility.

The issue is that most legacy systems lack the functionality to automate the tasks involving your employees and their process, as well as business content.

What’s the Answer?

Workflow and Content Automation (WCA) combines workflow capabilities integrated with intelligent document generation to allow the creation of smart document processes that can be easily analyzed to know what is working well and what needs improvement in a business.

WCA provides the ability to transform analog processes and to adjust them as needed, thanks to real-time analytics.

The combination of automation and flexibility means that WCA will be a key part of the path to a business becoming a fully digital enterprise.

A Self-Generating Document

Imagine the time and labor you could save your sales team if a document could, with the right setup, automatically recognize its own need to be created and then create itself, route itself to the relevant people and machines, and say, “Hi, I’m the new document that was generated out of this sales opportunity, can you please review me and approve me or sign me…” or whatever it is that needs to be done.

At Aragon Research, we see this whole process being automatic by 2018.

Because Workflow and Content Automation automates how information is routed between people and applications, businesses who adopt a WCA solution are going to be able to move faster. That’s because there are less moving parts for you to worry about.

New Horizons, Better Possibilities

Usually when companies have already set up their platforms or workflows (in their legacy systems) they can have a hard time making a change; sometimes, they might not even want to change. This is how a business can get stuck: watching the next Uber or Netflix pass you by.

But now more than ever there are new, easier-to-use solutions that are cloud-based (lightweight infrastructure) and very simple to roll out. But the real Workflow and Content Automation story here is about imagining the possibilities of what this combined entity of software is going to be able to do for your business.

It’s not an IT programmer who oversees this solution, either – it’s a business analyst who views issues from the business’s angle and determines what needs to be routed, processed, or the direction of the workflow, and who can make much more informed business decisions.

A major benefit of WCA is that you don’t have to have specific training to use it. That’s because WCA is not just workflow: it’s workflow automation that is also creating new documents. This saves you valuable time to focus on other, more important parts of the business (see below for an example of WCA’s time-saving capabilities).

For Example

If you’re trying to pull off a real estate transaction and you need to assemble multiple documents—contracts, proposals, etc. — it can take a lot of time. This is time that you could spend doing something more productive, like making calls.

Perhaps you need to employ a team to take care of these documents, in which case you’ve got bodies performing these tasks (whom you must pay) when they could be applying themselves to other, more important tasks for your business. With WCA, that’s all taken care of for you automatically, at top speed, without the risk of human error.

The Precedent for Workflow and Content Automation

The precedent for the success of WCA is Digital Transaction Management (DTM).

DTM took off because of a set of similar circumstances. It replaced the need for paper transactions, which was a slow, analog process that produces a massive paper trail that needs to be archived. Digital Transaction Management digitized this process – and it’s about ten times faster than the traditional, paper-based way of doing things.

So, we’ve seen it happen with DTM, and we’re seeing it again with Workflow and Content Automation.

Software keeps getting smarter and in many cases, you don’t have to have so many component parts to make a proposal process work.

Why is WCA Going to Help Your Business Transform?

We can see Workflow and Content Automation as a subset of an overall digital transformation for a business. It is one of the stepping stones to full transformation by getting businesses out of their analog, paper-based process and into the digital processes that will help them outcompete their competition.

Whereas previously you had to build the engine for the car, now you’ve already got an engine that works – now you need to simply concentrate on the different content processes that you have and if the software can automate these processes.

That means when you talk about time to create new documents and get them to decision makers, you can do it in minutes versus hours, days, or weeks. And that’s a real weapon.




Jim Lundy

Jim Lundy, founder and CEO of Aragon, has over 29 years of technology and management experience as a vendor, user, and industry analyst. He spent 12 of those years at Gartner, where he was a Managing Vice President and Distinguished Analyst. While there, he formed and led the Collaboration and Social Software Research Team, and also served as lead analyst for Enterprise Content Management and Corporate Learning. His other specialized areas are product strategy, development, and go-to-market plans.

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