Editorial Type: Opinion Date: 10-2020 Views: 839 Tags: Document, BPM, Strategy, Management, Workflow, Kofax PDF Version:
Jim Nichol of Kofax explains how BPM and RPA need to be integrated for truly intelligent automation

Many organisations have adopted business process management (BPM) technology as part of their wider digital transformation. While this has certainly created efficiencies and streamlined processes, it hasn't eliminated bottlenecks that cost not only time, but money. For example, a loan processing department uses BPM technology to automate the verification steps in its approval process. Some steps - such as employment verification - require a web search. That often stops the process in its tracks because the system can't be customised to handle information it doesn't already have. A human being needs to perform the web search, delaying the entire process.

Because such bottlenecks exist across organisations, they inhibit true end-to-end automation. But there's good news: These roadblocks can be eliminated. How? By combining BPM automation with robotic process automation (RPA). The result is truly intelligent automation that optimises processes and tasks from start to finish.

A process is only as efficient as its slowest point. Each bottleneck inhibits output and hurts the bottom line. Such losses can be quantified. According to some estimates, a bottleneck that reduces throughput by 30 percent reduces sales by an equal proportion. For a $1 million company, that means $180,000 per year in lost profit.

And bottlenecks have other impacts: as they wait for a step to be completed, employees sit idle. That not only wastes time, it lowers job satisfaction. Also, delays may result in lost incentive payments, and relationships with customers and suppliers can suffer when invoice payments drag.

Successful enterprises create a smooth and efficient path by combining BPM and RPA technologies to eliminate hold-ups and maximise automation's benefits.

Many organisations begin with BPM or RPA, but the ultimate solution is often a combination of both technologies into a truly intelligent automated process. Since they're both meant to optimise business processes and increase productivity and efficiency, RPA and BPM work well together.

BPM digitises and automates complex business processes, making them faster and more accurate. But still there are tasks within the process that can't be automated.

Another complicating factor: legacy systems may be in place that require manual entry or retrieval. RPA addresses these issues by using software robots to perform the repetitive task of data entry or retrieval. For example, an RPA robot will perform an employment verification search, then deliver a report back to a person. RPA bots also reconcile information within the legacy system to make sure its data is accurate and up-to-date.

The RPA robot may operate independent of a person, performing tasks and entering information on its own. Or, the human may instruct the robot to perform a specific task, such as retrieving a customer's financial information. When the robot completes the task, the results are sent directly into the BPM platform, making it easily accessible to employees. Humans spend less time on mundane, repetitive work and more time on strategic thinking and higher value functions. This improves the business, its bottom line and employee satisfaction.

Automating processes and tasks with BPM and RPA together creates a smooth and smart path toward greater efficiency. Such an integrated approach removes the bottlenecks that linger and hold businesses back from reaching their full potential. With intelligent automation, RPA and BPM work hand-in-hand to increase productivity, efficiency and employee morale, thus creating stronger customer and supplier relationships. Transforming a mostly automated or digitised system into a completely automated platform will positively impact sales and profits, empowering enterprises.

More info:

"Collaborative software is far more effective than a back-and-forth volley of emails. Some great recent examples of new content management and update notification features on business software include collaborative integration on Slack, where new features can be utilised to send task notification alerts straight to the user in the application rather than relying only on emails that could get lost. There is a similar integration feature now with Microsoft Teams, where direct messaging helps alert users to task updates and notifications."