What process gurus need to know about digital transformation
Since the acquisition of Promapp® by Nintex in July 2018, the Promapp® community of process improvement specialists have been increasingly exposed to vocabulary that hasn’t traditionally been part of ‘Promapp-speak’. Along with demystifying some of the terminologies, we also want to share our excitement about the additional improvement opportunities that are now a reality for Nintex Promapp® customers.
Digital transformation is no longer the domain of early adopters and cutting-edge start-ups. It’s an integral part of how businesses grow and improve in the 21st century. As Gartner defines it, “[digital transformation] is a requirement for all businesses to thrive in the future.” A key part of digital transformation comes under the banner of automation, but there are a plethora of understandings around what automation might mean.
Nintex believes in simplicity, even when dealing with complex enterprise processes, so here’s our breakdown of some of the key concepts along with how we can enable organizations to digitally transform their business.
Automation is a catch-all phrase that covers a whole suite of tools designed to reduce manual effort. Sometimes referred to as business process automation (BPA) or digital process automation (DPA), it covers the methods and mechanics that streamline business processes through the application of technology.
There is, of course, a wide variety of solutions that can achieve this, all of which focus on creating gains in productivity, efficiency, compliance and reduced waste in everyday business activities. Automation in these forms reduces the number of tasks people are required to do within a process, and the time it takes.
What that means in practice depends on the type of automation utility being employed. There are three basic elements that Nintex uses to automate business processes:
Workflows are the centerpiece of most automation endeavors. A workflow is a business process, a sequence of related steps or logic required to achieve a task or complete an activity.
Automation comes in when some of those steps are delegated to a system that moves the task from one stage to the next automatically, without needing the input of a human actor. Workflow automation increases the efficiency of a process, reducing the capacity for error, accelerating response times and making the step endlessly repeatable.
The workflow in this sense is at the heart of the Nintex Workflow Cloud. Through a simple but powerful drag-and-drop interface, users can automate steps in a business process where repetitive actions or data flow is easily managed by the technology rather than a user.
This ensures the activities occur at the speed of business, and significantly reducing or eliminating human errors.
2. Automated forms
An essential element of Nintex workflows are Nintex Forms and document generation. These are the points of contact for human agents that funnel the data into the workflow or that automatically create needed documents from the outcomes. These interfaces aren’t standalone elements, but serve as channels within the wider workflow.
Sometimes called ‘content automation’ or document automation, solutions like Nintex DocGen® accelerate business processes by identifying the key information within a database, often captured through the use of a smart form, and generating business documentation based on prepared templates with those values incorporated.
Anything from a letter of acceptance to a lease agreement, an invoice or contract for services can be produced almost instantly and routed to the appropriate parties for review or signoff.
When partnered with technology like Nintex Sign® powered by Adobe Sign, documentation that previously took days to collect, create, and approve can be completed and on file within minutes.
3. Robotic Process Automation
Robotic process automation (RPA) focuses on the ‘robot’ part of that acronym. RPA employs ‘bots’ – automated agents that imitate the rote actions of a human user on a wide range of applications.
The primary use of RPA is to digitize and automate repetitive, manual, and back-office tasks typically involving structured data. These bots are ‘trained’ by following the mouse movements and ‘clicks’ of a human operator, mimicking their keystrokes and learning how to interact with spreadsheets, documents or other applications through the usual user interface rather than through APIs or web services.
While RPA bots are typically one of the more expensive forms of automation to employ, they also offer some of the quickest time-to-value and most quantifiable ROI. They free up teams to focus on complex or variable tasks and take the burden of ‘swivel chair’ work out of the hands of human agents, while also dramatically reducing time to completion and potential for errors for routine tasks.
Nintex RPA follows the rest of the Nintex Platform in being a solution that doesn’t require coding and one that enables teams to train their own bots with the systems they use daily, allowing IT teams to focus on implementation and support rather than building solutions that the line of business is better equipped to construct.
We’ve got you covered
When it comes to automation, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, nor does any single tool fit every context. It becomes even more complex when the concepts get muddied and the various parties, from execs to IT specialists and the line of business teams use the same terms in vastly different ways.
While digital transformation is now a central business strategy, automation is still evolving and continues to develop and businesses need a clear understanding of what they are trying to achieve.
That’s why Nintex is committed to being the most complete, powerful and easy-to-use platform for managing, optimizing and automating business processes. Whether it’s identifying opportunities for automation in general, or specific workflow solutions and targeted RPA bots, Nintex has the breadth of solutions and depth of expertise to ensure your organization doesn’t fall behind.
If you’re curious and want to know more, sign up for a live demo today and see the Nintex Platform in action for yourself.