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Automation rising - are your processes ready?

Staff, Appian
October 10, 2014

Business process management software can be an integral tool in enabling organizations to automate repeatable processes and free workers to focus on high-thinking tasks and critical operations. Automation is rising quickly, and the trend is set to escalate as robotics solutions and software become more sophisticated.

According to a recent Computerworld report, Garner recently told audiences at its symposium that approximately one-third of jobs will be replaced by automation as of 2015.Peter Sondergaard, Gartner's research director, told audiences that this move to automation will impact a wide range of industries.

"One day, a drone may be your eyes and ears," said Sondergaard, according to Computerworld. "Drones are just one of many kinds of emerging technologies that extend well beyond the traditional information technology world - these are smart machines."

With organizations facing so much pressure from automation, they need to be prepared to do it right.

Getting automation right

A recent Tech Republic report explained that automation is transforming many industries, leading to benefits like costs savings, better use of analytics and better operations for industry-specific needs. For example, the news source pointed to better fraud detection in financial services and warehouses that are fully automated. However, there are also some problems that come when organizations become overly dependent on automation.

The report focused on the banking sector when talking about these problems. What happened, in the specific situation discussed in the article, was an IT outage that made the automation system unavailable. The result was a situation in which many of the workers didn't know how to manually complete the processes that were automated, and keeping up with operational needs became difficult.

Organizations that want to use automation need to not just think about automating everything possible, but instead focus on the entire user experience and effectively pick and choose what to automate and how to train workers to handle processes manually when everything falls apart.

Taking a process management approach to automation

At its outset, the entire business process management industry was about using data and observations about a business to streamline how people work. This has evolved as BPM solutions can feature advanced software platforms, mobility solutions, social functionality and automation. However, organizations that stay true to the core idea of streamlining processes and helping people work more intelligently can put themselves in a position to respond to the demand for more automation while avoiding pitfalls that may come up along the way.