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Process Automation Gaining Momentum in Business Efficiency Efforts

Appian Contributor
October 3, 2016

The term "robotic process automation" is increasingly being thrown around to differentiate between machine learning, deep thinking analytics software, industrial automation and the ability to script repeatable tasks and automatically move relevant data between sources. Robotics process automation (RPA) may be getting plenty of attention, but it is, essentially, the same type of automation that our business process management (BPM) softwaresuite offers organizations.

A recent TechTarget post defined RPA as using rules-driven software to connect data between systems. The goal is to eliminatethe manual data entry and copy/paste tasks that can bog down businesses and limit productivity.

RPA rising

Data entry and management is a huge component of many jobs, and the idea of business process automation can be intimidating. Industry expert Allan Surtees told the news source that RPA isn't really aimed at eliminatingroles. Instead, the goal is to identify the tedious, repetitive functions that often become problematic for workers to deal with. By automating these tasks, businesses free their users to spend more time and energy on processes that deliver revenue to the organization.

"Automation frees users to spend more time on processes that deliver revenue."

Craig LeClair, principal analyst at Forrester Research, echoed this sentiment, telling TechTarget about a mortgage origination processthat forces multiple employee groups to interact with at least 15 different systems to get data to the right places. By automating these business processes, organizations don't just streamline everyday operations, they also eliminate the need to train employees in different software systems that they wouldn't otherwise need to use. All of this adds up to significant time savings that workers can put toward tasks involving their competencies, creating more value forthe business. In this case, automating repetitive tasks cut the number of systems employees needed to learn by more than half, to just seven.

Using BPM to take full advantage of RPA

Business process automation and RPA are extremely closely linked. Where BPM software stands out is that the core practice of analyzing processes empowers organizations to:

    • Identify tasks that are repetitive

    • Implement automation as appropriate

    • Optimize the manual processes that remain

On top of all this, modern BPM software solutions are increasingly incorporating enterpriseapplication development platforms into their systems. This provides organizations with low-code tools that enable them to easily fine-tune apps or create new ones that are specifically built around their process and data workflows. When combined with automation, these solutions ensure that users get the data they need on any device through apps that are purpose-built to automatically connect people, data and processes across the entire business.

The Forrester Wave: Low-Code Development Platforms

This report evaluates vendors in an important emerging space that Forrester defines as "Platforms that enable rapid delivery of business applications with a minimum of hand-coding and minimal upfront investment in setup, training, and deployment." Read the report to understand what the Low-Code Platforms market is, and why it matters to your business. View the reportª