Automate your business – let others do the REST

It’s 6:00 am. Your alarm rings and you rise with the sun on Monday morning. The coffee maker has already started boiling water while you get into your shirt and tie. In the kitchen, your wake-up beverage is already waiting for you. “Alexa, tell me my flash briefing” triggers your personal assistant. While you sip the glorious caffeinated brew, you are told about the 10-minute delay on the freeway, that your first meeting is the daily standup at 9:00 am, and that this evening will hold the perfect BBQ weather. Feeling ready for the day, you get into your car, push the button that opens your garage door and head out to work.

Via voice-control you text your friends, inviting them over for a BBQ this evening. “I wish the car would drive on its own so I could start working on my presentation.” you muse while on the road. Indeed, assistance like that would be a great relief for all commuters. What you might have blissfully ignored however, is that you already enjoyed the benefits of automated tasks half a dozen times this morning. Scheduled events, remote controls and personal assistants are just a few of the many forms automation takes in today’s world. Modern businesses leverage the same types of automation to improve product quality, process performance, and IT and security-related tasks.

The first step in determining which parts of your processes can be automated is to have them modeled. When the process is modeled, domain-experts can document which activities are currently executed manually and which ones are automatable. If an activity cannot be fully automated, the investigation might reveal that it can be split into a manual and an automated step. An analysis of which tasks can be automated will help identify high-impact candidates for process improvement. Once it is determined which process steps can be improved, the departments involved in each of the steps work together and find ways to automate the process.

Automated services in personal and business environments also have different risks associated with them. If your alarm doesn’t go off in the morning and you miss an important appointment, this will have a higher impact on your day than your coffee machine not having your coffee hot and ready on time. Modeling these risks is an important area of the enterprise model that allows you to determine which automated tasks need to be prioritized when it comes to monitoring and quality assurance. In addition to that, modeling the risks on your human-operated process steps will give you the ability to pinpoint manual tasks that have a high risk associated with them. You can then use automation to reduce the likelihood of failures and in the process mitigate revenue losses and improve safety ratings.

Performance management is another important aspect automation lends itself to. Computer systems and machines have a tendency to provide their users with a plethora of information about their utilization, speed, and throughput. Modeling this data along with the business resources that perform the actual work allows you to consolidate the documentation of your automated process steps with measuring their actual performance. You will then be able to see which steps in each process are machine-driven as well as the information that helps to assess the quality and performance of the involved components.

Even though process automation already has a huge impact on businesses today, you can take it a step further. Modern enterprise modeling software allows you to automate the business model itself via web-based technologies like REST APIs. Imagine a new hire in a certain department: If the right tools are put in place, the new employee will automatically be added to the HR model of your company, associated with the processes she is related to, a new account will be created, and an invitation mail with access information will be sent out. The manual steps of the onboarding process are now reduced to only those that require the exchange of expert knowledge.

If you want your business to be in full control of the processes that it establishes and participates in, make sure to automate your model and model your automation. Automating your model will allow your company to focus on creative tasks and the power of human problem-solving, while common tasks move into the background with the reassuring knowledge that they are taken care of. Modeling your automation on the other hand, makes sure you know exactly what is going on in the computer and machine-managed steps of your business processes, and can provide you with a broad or detailed view of process performance indicators at any time of the day. For example, during your flash briefing while you are enjoying your early morning coffee.

More on Process Automation

Nils Peuser
Mai 17, 2016

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