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Process Automation: Streamlining Workflows and Systems

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What can technology leaders do to streamline their workflows and systems, and what benefits should you realize?

Peter Stojanovic, Editor, HotTopics.ht, moderates this debate on how advanced automation solutions are right now and what should we expect to see next, with: Prakash Vyas, Senior Director, Global GTM, OutSystems; Tony Sweeney, CIO Asset Finance, Close Brothers; Mike Sturrock, CIO, Freeman Clarke; Nick Rawlings, Head of Transformation, Covea Insurance; Lee Gatland, CIO, CAE Technology Services. In partnership with OutSystems.

 

Business process automation (BPA)

What do we know of automation right now? BPAs can be implemented in a number of business areas including marketing, sales and workflow. Toolsets vary in sophistication, but there is an increasing trend towards the use of artificial intelligence technologies that can understand natural language and unstructured data sets, interact with human beings, and adapt to new types of problems without human-guided training.[4] BPA providers tend to focus on different industry sectors but their underlying approach tends to be similar in that they will attempt to provide the shortest route to automation by exploiting the user interface layer rather than going deeply into the application code or databases sitting behind them. An alternative solution is low-code automation.

BPA providers also simplify their own interface to the extent that these tools can be used directly by non-technically qualified staff.[citation needed] The main advantage of these toolsets is therefore their speed of deployment, the drawback is that it brings yet another IT supplier to the organization.

The market is, however, evolving in this area. In order to automate these processes, connectors are needed to fit these systems/solutions together with a data exchange layer to transfer the information. A process driven messaging service is an option for optimizing your data exchange layer. By mapping your end-to-end process workflow, you can build an integration between individual platforms using a process driven messaging platform. Process driven messaging service gives you the logic to build your process by using triggers, jobs and workflows. Some companies uses an API where you build workflow/s and then connect various systems or mobile devices. You build the process, creating workflows in the API where the workflow in the API acts as a data exchange layer.

 

What next?

The roundtable also debated what could come next. The practice of performing robotic process automation (RPA) results in the deployment of attended or unattended software agents to an organization’s environment. These software agents, or robots, are deployed to perform pre-defined structured and repetitive sets of business tasks or processes: The goal is for humans to focus on more productive tasks, while the software agents handle the repetitive ones, such as billing. Artificial intelligence software robots are deployed to handle unstructured data sets (like images, texts, audios) and are deployed after performing and deploying robotic process automation: They can, for instance, populate an automatic transcript from a video. The combination of automation and intelligence (AI) brings autonomy for the robots, along with the capability in mastering cognitive tasks: At this stage, the robot is able to learn and improve the processes by analyzing and adapting them.

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