What's business automation?
Business automation is the alignment of business process management (BPM) and business rules management (BRM) with modern application development to meet changing market demands. It used to be that businesses simply needed to automate processes, and that was enough to increase efficiency and control costs across the organization. This was largely achieved through BPM and BRM. BPM and BRM are great technologies, but on their own they are no longer enough. Digital transformation is the key strategy for thriving in today's market environment, and it requires that business and IT leaders partner together.
Business automation. Upgraded.
The focus of IT has shifted from serving internal needs, like efficiency and cost control, to engaging with external customers and creating new business opportunities. That’s why Red Hat believes the traditional business automation model needs to evolve. Instead of focusing solely on streamlining processes, like automating the records from selling insurance, businesses need to develop new strategies to automate the business itself, like directly selling insurance. Building these apps requires business and IT leaders to become partners, sharing their expertise to open new lines of opportunity. But how does this work?
Business experts provide the models of business processes and rules pertaining to an application, which are then combined with code via a continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline to create a finished application. Applications can be containerized, allowing them to be easily maintained, updated, and distributed.
Containerizing business automation solutions allows for the app to be accessed across multiple platforms while allowing developers and business users to comanage the life cycle of the applications. Instead of building monolithic apps that become clunky and outdated, the focus is on deploying apps as microservices on a scalable cloud infrastructure.
Combining models produced by business experts with code produced by IT developers creates process-driven apps. These apps are more agile and can be adapted more quickly to changing user demands. Business automation solutions that use CI/CD further speed up development processes, shortening the amount of time between deployment and feedback so that you can experiment and find the most efficient process cycle for you.
Benefits to the Red Hat approach
- Build low-code applications from process and decision models
- Engage business and IT stakeholders
- Easily add custom logic
- Use standard repositories and tools that integrate with existing software development environments
- Support development of containerized microservices applications
- Deploy on public, private, and hybrid clouds
- Features a comprehensive mobile UX
What about traditional business process automation and management?
Decoupled from an integrated business automation solution, business process automation (BPA) and BPM remain standalone strategies that you can use for improving efficiency and reducing cost in your organization.
Business process automation involves a lot of moving parts. Lengthy email chains, conflicting document copies, and seemingly minor errors can leave stakeholders feeling lost in the chaos of undirected communication, rewrites, delayed timelines, and shared frustration. Business automation streamlines these processes so that detail, time, and accountability aren’t lost. Implementing a reusable and extendable business automation strategy allows your business to take control of these processes, freeing time and resources, so that you can focus on what matters.
How is BPA different from BPM?
Business process automation occurs whenever you automate a routine business process. BPA can be a standalone strategy to make your organization more efficient, or it can be effectively combined with overarching business process management initiatives. While BPM is the methodology that allows your organization to better understand your end-to-end business processes, BPA can be be used to continually check and evolve your process efficiencies against those initiatives. A BPA and BPM combination can be powerful, as BPM outlines and provides an architecture for all of the business processes to be mapped and automated, but this approach can also be slow to implement in the beginning.
How does BPA work?
Business process automation extends your IT system to automate processes tailored specifically to the needs of your organization. Because tailoring automation can be costly and time consuming, specialist companies provide software solutions to identify and then fit your organization's specific needs. BPA solutions increasingly use artificial intelligence technologies to better understand and adapt to unstructured databases. This allows for a better user experience as the technology learns to overcome ambiguity and interact with user needs without the mediation of a technical specialist.
Why automate business processes?
The use of technology to automate business processes was popularized by Henry Ford’s moving assembly line in 1913. Ford’s assembly line reduced the time it took to manufacture a car from more than 12 hours to 2 and a half hours. Today's business process automation software and apps do the same for modern business needs, collapsing develop and deploy processes from months to hours. Business process automation continues this legacy. It uses software and apps to simplify and speed up complicated workflows, while giving you transparency and control over all parts of the process—freeing you from routine so you can focus on what matters.
How does business automation improve business processes?
Gain better transparency and control
Automation allows you to collect all parts of the workflow into one dashboard so that you can always see your processes in their current stage. You maintain control of the process by managing task reviews, approvals, access, and timelines. By streamlining information gathered from all steps in the workflow, business automation allows you to make informed decisions and give clear timetables to your stakeholders. Know who is doing what, when—and what needs to happen next to meet your goals.
Speed up processes and reduce manual errors
Tired of endless email chains that bury the details of your workflow? Automated business processes replace manual, administrative, and paper-based tasks. Making copies, gathering signatures, transferring documents, and processing paperwork are all important but redundant business needs that eat up time and energy. Even small errors in these workflows can be costly, forcing businesses to spend time and resources to repeat tasks, while putting stakeholders on hold. Automation reduces human error and saves time by centralizing the process.
Make room for building relationships and creative output
Business process automation is ultimately about one thing: Giving you the time and energy to focus on solving more intelligent problems. Automation is working with algorithms to better organize business processes so that humans can do what humans do best—deal with higher-level tasks. By letting automation speed up and streamline your routine processes, your organization will have more time and energy to spend responding to client needs, cultivating relationships, and working on the next big thing.